Back to School!

Teaser Photo The right to an education - Maria Theresia and compulsory schooling.

Project Description

In Austria, it was the Empress, Maria Theresia who introduced compulsory schooling. Compulsory schooling is linked to the "Right to an education" in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and human rights worldwide. However, there are still approximately 120 million children under 14 who don't attend school.

Whilst some of our kids moan about it being unfair that they have to get up early every day and bench press, the kids in Austria can thanl the Empress Maria Theresia. In other countries, the kids would be grateful to have such a prudent politician and to be able to go to school.

Maria Theresia and compulsory schooling.

The "Theresianische Schulordnung" (Theresian School Regulations") law was passed on 6 December 1774 and regulated the "General School Regulations" for the German normal, main and trivial schooling in all Habsburg hereditary countries. These regulations stipulated that all children aged 6 - 12 years must attend school, as well as introducing the public-school system. In 1918 a further reform of the School Regulations was passed which stipulated that all children - regardless of gender or social class - are entitled to a good education. This was an important foundation stone, as in Austria the public schooling system was free of charge and until this point, it had always been necessary to have private tuition.

Good education for everyone.

That's not always the case. Even though the right for education was defined in the CRC and most countries have compulsory schooling: at least 6% of children up to the age of 14, that's approximately 120 million children, would be happy if they could learn to read and write.

In Nigeria, the illiteracy rate is approximately 30%, with the percentage for women at 50%. Even though compulsory schooling supposedly applies in the country, approximately only 50% of school aged children attend school. Over the last 30 years, the country's investments have sunk from 12% to approximately 4%. This means that as well as not having enough space for teaching, the quality of the education is also lacking. Those who are able send their children to private schools or, even better, abroad.

This inevitably leads to unrest and poverty in the country. This inevitably leads to unrest and poverty in the country, which makes it all the more important that the population obtains access to education, thus enabling them to improve their lives. If they don't attend school, people have very limited options to escape poverty and improve their lives. Education means being able to read and write. This opens up information and career options which are denied to those without an education.

You can help

The Child & Family Foundation supports 2 schools in Nigeria; the Amina Zwindila Foundation school and the Holy Trinity School.  The aim is to enable children in a country rife with unrest, economic crisis and ethical conflict to have access to education, in a country where attending public school cannot be guaranteed. The Child & Family Foundation's principle is to help people to help themselves to improve their lives in the long-term, as well providing additional work placements.
You can help!

Project Goals

Creating perspectives and improving the quality of life by supporting education

Project Title

Back to School?

Project Location


Project Period

Since 2008