In the present report, the Special Rapporteur examines how the right to education, and the commitments made under the Sustainable Development Goals, provide guidance for governance in national education systems. She considers how the right to education should be mainstreamed into education governance. Governance in this context can be thought to include the laws, policies, institutions, administrative procedures and practices, monitoring and accountability mechanisms, and judicial procedures that are related to education. A rights-based approach should be adopted to ensure not only that nondiscrimination and equitable access for all are mainstreamed, but also that learners who have been the hardest to reach, including members of vulnerable groups, are prioritized, even if such decisions run counter to the traditional emphasis on efficiency.
In line with its mandate, the 2020 GEM Report assesses progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) on education and its ten targets, as well as other related education targets in the SDG agenda. The Report also addresses inclusion in education, drawing attention to all those excluded from education, because of background or ability. The Report is motivated by the explicit reference to inclusion in the 2015 Incheon Declaration, and the call to ensure an inclusive and equitable quality education in the formulation of SDG 4, the global goal for education. It reminds us that, no matter what argument may be built to the contrary, we have a moral imperative to ensure every child has a right to an appropriate education of high quality.
The Report also explores the challenges holding us back from achieving this vision and demonstrates concrete policy examples from countries managing to tackle them with success. These include differing understandings of the word inclusion, lack of teacher support, absence of data on those excluded from education, inappropriate infrastructure, persistence of parallel systems and special schools, lack of political will and community support, untargeted finance, uncoordinated governance, multiple but inconsistent laws, and policies that are not being followed through.
This report shows how a student’s place of origin within France, that is, the region in which they live prior to the beginning of their studies, coupled with their socio-economic background can mean that the cost of education, which is heavily influenced by the structure of the French higher education system, poses a significant barrier to their enjoyment of the right to higher education.