Basic education refers to the whole range of educational activities taking place in various settings (formal, non formal and informal), that aim to meet basic learning needs. According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED), basic education comprises primary education (first stage of basic education) and lower secondary education (second stage). In countries (developing countries in particlar), Basic Education often includes also pre-primary education and/or adult litteracy programs.
Universal basic education is regarded as a priority for developing countries and is the focus of the Education For All movement led by UNESCO. A extensive number of studies have proven its benefits on public health (lower spread of HIV/AIDS, better vaccination, prevention and medication of disease, better nutrition, lower maternal, infant and child mortality,...), demography (longer life expectancy, accelerated demographic transition through better birth control,...) and economy (increase of purchase power, increased producativity in traditional sector, increased demand on service sectors,...). Other benefits, although more difficult to measure, include impact on democarty, human rights, governance and political stability through increasing understanding of non-violent ways to solve problems and mutual understanding between groups in conflict.
The Convention on the Rights of the Children, established by UNICEF in 1989, protects children's inalienable rights by setting standards for multiple aspects, one of which is education.