Education systems in many of the world's poorest countries are experiencing the aftermath of the global economic downturn. The 2010 Education for All Global Monitoring Report, argues that the crisis could create a lost generation of children whose life chances will have been irreparably damaged by a failure to protect their right to education. The Report examines who these children are and why they are being left behind, and looks at concrete solutions for making sure that no children are excluded from schooling.
On the first day of school, children often worry whether they'll make new friends or like their teachers. But in the Dominican Republic, some confront a far graver concern: Will I be turned away because I don't have a birth certificate?
The report, Left Behind: How Statelessness in the Dominican Republic Limits Children's Access to Education, shows that many children born in the Dominican Republic but descended from foreigners, particularly Haitians, are denied an education. For generations, such children were recognized as citizens, but within the last decade, the Dominican government has refused to issue many of them birth certificates, identity cards and other essential documentation, rendering them stateless. The report concludes that the Dominican Republic is failing to comply with its domestic and international human rights obligations, including the human right to education.
The report is the product of months of research, including interviews with dozens of affected children and families, as well as educators, advocates and government officials. Several of the Dominicans of Haitian descent interviewed were prevented from attending primary school, secondary school or university because they could not obtain identity documents. Of those allowed to attend school despite not having birth certificates, many were denied the ability to take national exams required to graduate.
All of this occurs in spite of laws, policies, constitutional provisions and international human rights commitments that are meant to guarantee children's right to education. The report found that administrative barriers, discrimination and confusion about the law has meant that in practice not all children in the Dominican Republic are allowed to go to school, even if they consider themselves Dominicans.
In 2009, India enacted the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, which provides for free and compulsory education to all children aged 6 to 14. However, the evidence presented in this report indicates that despite the 3 year deadline to implement the key provisions of the Act, it has yet to be adequately implemented.
This lack of implementation, enforcement and monitoring particularly affects children from marginalised groups, such as children with disabilities, girls, and Da lits. Children from these groups are excluded and discriminated against, affecting access, participation, retention, achievement, and completion of elementary education.
This report examines the obstacles preventing certain children from attending school and the government’s failure to take the steps necessary to address the problem.
Some Children are More Equal than Others is an independently produced one-man-film-project and was realized as a non-commercial documentary film. The human rights law firm "Legal Resources Centre" generously supported the filmmaker in order to raise awarness of the challenges faced in making South Africa a better place.
This report consists of three main chapters. The first chapter enumerates all the mechanisms contributing to the development of educational inequalities in the Czech Republic’s education system, which are summarised to provide a context for the focus of this report—the ECEC of Roma children. It highlights the lack of ECEC provision for children under the age of 3 years (in terms of insufficient professional support to young Roma children, including that provided in some circumstances by crèches), problems related to insufficient kindergarten capacity (available child places), and low participation of Roma children in ECEC programs overall. This chapter also deals with the transition from preschool settings to primary education, and the placement of Roma children into schools with reduced curricula. All this has to be understood in the context of a highly diversified education system that “sorts” children into different educational pathways early in life, starting as early as Grade 1 in primary school. Another problem discussed is the large proportion of postponed primary school enrolments. The first chapter is based on statistical data and data from the Czech Longitudinal Study of Education, which studied educational transition in compulsory education. These are complemented by available data from other available research surveys.
The second chapter analyses the level of inequalities in ECEC provision for Roma children. It is the main analytic chapter of the report and describes the participation of Roma children in kindergartens and how this impacts their successful enrolment into primary education. The analysis is based on: Czech data collected for the 2011 regional Roma survey organised by the UNDP, World Bank, and European Commission (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights and UNDP 2012); research into the educational pathways of Roma pupils (Gabal Analysis and Consulting 2010); group interviews with Roma parents (Nová škola 2011); and regional situational analyses produced by the Office of the Czech Government Demographic Information Center (2011).
In comparison with their non-Roma peers, Roma children’s enrolment in preschool education is markedly less frequent. The key causal issues identified by the analysis include economic reasons, the different parental priorities of socially excluded families in comparison with other more affluent groups in society, and direct and indirect discriminatory barriers in preschool institutions. However, as stated above, it is well known that the beneficial influence of preschool education is more significant for marginalised and materially deprived Roma children than for their non-Roma counterparts.
The third chapter draws conclusions and lists a number of key recommendations, some with addenda.
These Guidelines are intended to assist Member States in the preparation of the Reports on the implementation of the 1960 Convention against Discrimination in Education (“the Convention”) as well as the 1960 Recommendation against Discrimination in Education (“the Recommendation”). The Convention and the Recommendation, adopted by UNESCO’s General Conference in 1960, correspond to UNESCO’s constitutional mandate to “advance the ideal of equality of educational opportunities without regard to race, sex or any distinctions, economic or social”.
"In our globalized world, education and the fight against discrimination remains a major issue. Thus discriminatory practices still exist today despite the fact that discrimination has no justification in international law.
Faced with this challenge, not only is education required to play an important role in the fight against discrimination, but access to all levels of education must be ensured systematically and without discrimination. This is one of the major issues involved in the right to education."
This publication is a compilation of practical examples of measures taken by Member States in implementing the provisions of the Convention and the Recommendation against Discrimination in Education. It has seven chapters reflecting the main issues and components including in the Convention and Recommendation. It begins by presenting the legal framework adopted by States. This is followed by a presentation of measures taken for eliminating discrimination in and through education; promoting equality of opportunity and treatment in this field, across all levels of education and through inclusive education; supporting affirmative action; enhancing quality education; religious and moral education; and the rights of minorities and language of instruction.
The Guide identifies equality and non-discrimination strategies that NGOs, lawyers and activists may employ in seeking to advance economic and social rights (ESRs) before courts. It is also accompanied by an online Compendium of useful cases in which equality and non-discrimination concepts and approaches have been employed to advance ESRs.
The Guide is split into three parts. Having introduced the rights framework, the Guide identifies conceptual and practical reasons why equality and non-discrimination arguments should be employed when challenging violations of ESRs. It then presents clear and practical guidance on how to use equality and non-discrimination strategies in courtrooms around the world.
"Achieving the right to education for all is one of the biggest challenges of our times. The second International Development Goal addresses this challenge: universalizing primary education in all countries by 2015. This is also one of the main objectives set at the World Education Forum (April 2000), where the right to basic education for all was reaffirmed as a fundamental human right.
The fundamental question is how the obligations relating to the right to education undertaken by Member States under international and regional instruments are incorporated into national legal systems? This is all the more important for achieving the Dakar goals, in keeping with the commitments made by Governments for providing education for all, especially free and compulsory quality basic education. But in spite of such legal obligations and political commitments, millions of children still remain deprived of educational opportunities, many of them on account of poverty. They must have access to basic education as of right, in particular to primary education which must be free. Poverty must not be a hindrance and the claim by the poor to such education must be recognized and reinforced."