The Right to Education Project, the Privatisation in Education Research Initiative, the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights are organising a panel discussion: Setting the Rules of the Game: how can regulations of private actors ensure the right to education in the post-2015 setting?
The event will take place on Monday 19th October at 18:00 in Clarke Hall at the Institute of Education, London.
Panellists will speak to the conditions within which the private sector can partake in the education sector, in particular in light of the new Global Goal 4 on education for all and the legal right to education. The discussion will explore what regulations are needed to allow for responsible and acceptable engagement of private actors in education, at a time when the emergence of a range of low-fee private schools targeting poor communities, including large-scale commercial chains, has sparked controversy in a number of developing countries. These schools have been problematised on a number of levels including social equality, quality of education, and teachers’ conditions.
Still, private schools may have a role to play in education systems and the challenge is therefore for governments to craft adequate regulations to ensure the private sector plays a positive role, which does not undermine the efforts to realise the Global Goals and the right to education. The panel will include representatives from the public and private sectors, teachers unions and civil society, and a lively debate is expected with clear recommendations established for the way forward.
Confirmed speakers include John Rendel (Executive Director of Promoting Equality in African Schools – PEAS), Sylvain Aubry (Research and legal advisor, Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights), and Sylvia Mbataru (Legal office, the CRADLE, Kenya). The session will be chaired by BBC Education Correspondent Sean Coughlan.
In September 2015, world leaders adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), setting the development agenda for the next 15 years. In the context of implementation of these goals, governments will develop in 2016 national plans that set out their policies and strategies to realise the SDGs. A key policy issue that will be central to the formation of national development plans on education will be to address the role of private actors in education.
Private schools, including in particular “low-cost,” low-quality private schools, have been expanding rapidly in developing countries in the last years, without the necessary supervision and regulation, leading to abuses and negative effects on the right to education in various contexts. In addressing this matter, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution in June 2015 calling upon States “[to put] in place a regulatory framework guided by international human rights obligations for education providers.”
Therefore, a central endeavour of the national development plans should be to define adequate regulatory frameworks for these private schools, taking into account the particular economic and sustainability needs of States and their obligations under human rights laws and standards. This panel discussion will explore what regulations should be adopted by governments in light of the post-2015 agenda in order to protect and promote the right to education for all.