China’s education policy in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) is significantly reducing the access of ethnic Tibetans to education in their mother tongue. The government policy, though called “bilingual education,” is in practice leading to the gradual replacement of Tibetan by Chinese as the medium of instruction in primary schools throughout the region, except for classes studying Tibetan as a language.
In his report, the Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Fernand de Varennes, provides a clear working definition of the concept of a minority in order to guide his activities and those of the United Nations. He describes a series of initiatives, including three regional forums that complement the Forum on Minority Issues. In the thematic section of his report, he sets out the often misunderstood language dimension of education for minorities, which emanates from the proper understanding and implementation of international human rights obligations.
The 51-page report, “‘Without Education They Lose Their Future’: Denial of Education to Child Asylum Seekers on the Greek Islands,” found that fewer than 15 percent of more than 3,000 school-age asylum-seeking children on the islands were enrolled in public school at the end of the 2017-2018 school year, and that in government-run camps on the islands, only about 100 children, all preschoolers, had access to formal education.
On 3 July 2018, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the violation of rights of Indigenous Peoples around the world. The Resolution 2017/2206(INI) stresses the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with regards to Indigenous Peoples, including SDG 4.5 on access to education, and reiterates that Indigenous Peoples around the world suffer disproportionately from violations of human rights and insufficient access to education, among other fundamental rights.
According to UNESCO, 264 million children and youth are still out of school around the world, and this is only accounting for the primary (61 million) and secondary school (203 million) age population. In particular, the poorest and most marginalised, including ethnic and religious minorities, persons with disabilities, girls, and populations experiencing conflict, are often systematically unable to access and complete a full cycle of quality education.
This youth report, based on findings and conclusions from the 2017/8 Global Education Monitoring report, asks how young people are involved in the process of accountability in education. As students, what are we responsible for in our education and how are we held accountable? How can we make sure other actors–like schools, universities and governments–are held accountable for their responsibilities?
In the present report, the Special Rapporteur reviews the role of equity and inclusion in strengthening the right to education, in particular in the context of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The Special Rapporteur concludes by calling for states to take significant, positive actions to tackle discrimination, inequity and exclusion in education to ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals are met.