The Right to Education Project is pleased to announce the publication of an online Guide to Monitoring the Right to Education (‘Guide’) and accompanying Right to Education Indicators Selection Tool (‘Tool’).
The Right to Education Project has long advocated that human rights should be at the heart of education advocacy. This is because education is a human right, not a privilege States can grant at will. International, regional and national law requires States to respect, protect, and fulfil the right to education. When States fail to comply with their legal obligations (for example, the immediate obligation to ensure free and compulsory primary education of good quality for all), they violate the right to education and can be held to account.
Given the current education context: 124 million children and adolescents out-of-school worldwide, a quarter of all children living in conflict areas unable to go to school; health emergencies, such as the Ebola outbreak which forced 5 million out-of-school; increasing private sector involvement in education to turn a profit; the prevalence of child labour, child marriage, and gender-based violence, amongst other barriers, there is a clear need to make sure States comply with their human rights obligations.
Civil society plays a key role in holding States to account, but determining human rights violations is not always easy. We know from experience that using human rights law can be complicated, technical and more than a little daunting! With this online Guide and Tool, we aim to change this.
We have produced the Guide and Tool to demystify and simplify the monitoring process and help all those engaging in education advocacy to gather credible and relevant evidence using human rights indicators which can then be used as a basis upon which to advocate for change, in line with human rights law and principles.
Guide to Monitoring the Right to Education
The Guide presents, in a user-friendly manner, a systematic way of monitoring education using human rights indicators.
Users are first introduced to outcome indicators. Outcome indicators measure enjoyment of the right to education. In order to show a violation you first need to be able to show that there is a deprivation of the right to education. For example, looking at primary completion rates (a measure of the obligation to guarantee free and compulsory primary education) in Tanzania, 2010, data shows that living in urban areas (compared to rural areas) increased the chances of completing primary education by just over 20% and belonging to the richest subset of the population meant you were nearly twice as likely as the poorest subsection to complete primary education.
However, unequal levels of enjoyment do not prove a violation, nor does it tell us much about the reasons why the deprivation or inequality exists. The next step, then, is to ascertain whether the deprivations and inequalities that have been identified are a result of absent, inadequate or ineffective law and policies, or a lack of implementation. To do this, users are shown how to assess the commitment of States to the right to education and examine the measures taken to make that commitment a reality.
Commitment to the right to education is measured using structural indicators. Commitment requires the adoption of laws and policies, and the existence of basic institutions. For example, States can demonstrate commitment by enshrining the right to education in their constitutions or by ratifying human rights treaties. An absence of commitment means that there is no will or endeavour to implement the right to education.
Whilst most States commit to the right to education, the efforts they actually make to make the right to education a reality must be assessed. This effort is measured using process indicators. Process indicators measure a State’s efforts to transform its commitments into greater enjoyment of the right to education. They can be used to assess the quality, appropriateness, effectiveness, and efficiency of education laws and policies and their implementation, as well as education inputs, such as teachers, learning materials, and school infrastructure. By linking an assessment of a State’s efforts to the previously observed deprivations and inequalities, the reasons why some people are denied their right to education should become apparent.
The next step is to assess the sufficiency of the resources allocated to the implementation of education laws and policies identified as contributing to the unequal enjoyment of the right to education. This is because, oftentimes, there is no fault with the laws and policies themselves but the resources needed to ensure the full implementation of laws and policies are not made available.
Finally, the last step is to determine whether the manner in which laws and policies are developed and implemented are in line with the principles of participation, transparency, and accountability – all important elements of a human rights-based approach.
To start monitoring, access the Monitoring Guide, here: http://www.right-to-education.org/monitoring/
Right to Education Indicators Selection Tool
The Right to Education Project has developed a bank of over 150 human rights indicators to monitor just about every aspect of the right to education. However, it is often difficult to know which indicators are useful or appropriate to the issue you are monitoring. That is why we have developed the Indicators Selection Tool.
The Tool is fully interactive, allowing users to click on the issues they want to monitor. Making selections whittles down the list of indicators, leaving users with a list of relevant indicators for monitoring. Each indicator has information on interpretation, relevant human rights standards, where to find data, and suggested levels of disaggregation.
The Tool and Guide work in tandem. At each step the Guide explains which type of indicators to use, how to select appropriate indicators using the Tool, where to find data and how to interpret that data.
The Right to Education Indicators Selection Tool can be accessed, here: http://www.right-to-education.org/monitoring/tool
Please note: The Guide, Tool and the list of indicators are a work in progress. We want the monitoring subsite to work for you! We want to hear about your experiences using the Guide and Tool, what works and what does not, and how we can make it better. In the near future we also plan to pilot and test the indicators, and develop indicators on emerging issues. If you have any ideas on improving and developing the Guide and Tool, or want to collaborate on a monitoring project, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Save the Date!
On 11th April, 2016 (2pm - 5pm) we will be officially launching the Guide and Tool at the UCL Institute of Education, London, where we look forward to discussing with civil society organisations, academics and other key partners working in the education field, the importance of monitoring the right to education in the context of the new 2030 education agenda. Following a short presentation of the Guide and Tool, there will be a panel discussion with:
- Dr Kishore Singh (UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education, TBC)
- Delphine Dorsi (Executive Coordinator, Right to Education Project)
- David Archer (Head of Programme Development, ActionAid).
- Savio Cavalho (Senior Advisor, Campaigning on International Development and Human Rights, Amnesty International)
The panel will be moderated by Dr Kirrily Pells (Lecturer on childhood and children's rights, UCL Institute of Education).
The Right to Education Project will also be presenting the Guide and Tool at the 2016 Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) Annual Conference, Vancouver, on 7th March, 2016 at 4:30pm. More details to follow.
Erica Murphy is Project Officer at the Right to Education Project