In recent decades, governments have made considerable efforts to provide education for all. However, a large gap remains between international commitments, such as the Sustainable Development Goal 4, and the actual achievement of equitable quality education for all. As a result, certain actors often critique public education as ineffective and inefficient, and thus incapable of addressing this issue. They argue for privatisation as a solution, deeming private providers as more innovative and effective than public ones. However, shortcomings in public education often arise not from lack of capacity, but lack of political will.
This review of examples of public education in low- and middle-income countries shows that, in direct contrast to widely disseminated (and empirically unvalidated) ideas, public education can be highly effective, efficient, and transformative and, crucially, it is possible to develop quality public education everywhere.
Public education is often critiqued as ineffective and inefficient. However, where shortcomings in public education are identified, they can often be attributed not to lack of capacity, but lack of political will. Reviewing seven examples of public education in developing countries, this research shows that, in direct contrast to widely disseminated ideas, public education can be the most effective, efficient, and transformative approach to education, and, crucially, it is possible to develop quality public education everywhere.
In the present report, submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolutions 8/4 and 44/3, the Special Rapporteur on the right to education addresses the risks and opportunities of the digitalization of education and their impact on the right to education.
The Special Rapporteur calls for discussions relating to the introduction of digital technologies in education to be framed around the right of every person to free, quality, public education and the commitments of States in this regard under both international human rights law and Sustainable Development Goal 4.
In particular, the implementation of the right to education must respond to the needs of all persons to access, master and use technology as an empowering tool for being active members of society. The digitalization of education should be geared towards a better implementation of the right to education for all, where it is demonstrated that it brings a significant added value. In this regard, it is important to understand the profit-driven agenda of digital technology lobbyists and companies. In addition, the digitalization of education should not increase inequalities and benefit already privileged segments of societies only or lead to violations of other human rights within education, in particular the right to privacy.