In the light of human rights standards on the right to education and the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, the signatory civil society organisations below raise serious concerns about the potential implications of the recently released working paper “Can Education be Standardized? Evidence from Kenya". We urge governments and other actors to recognise the limitations of this study, which some will seek to use to justify the expansion of for-profit private provision of education and scripted teaching methods. There are well established approaches to address the challenges faced by some education systems and we urge all actors to focus on education strategies and policies that have been proven to deliver inclusive, equitable and good quality education, and that contribute to strengthening public education for all.
The climate emergency, rising inequalities and the COVID-19 pandemic have reaffirmed the failures and limitations of the current neoliberal model to respond to crises and ensure a dignified life for all. Transformation in the organisation of our economy is needed in order to confront the challenges the world is currently facing and to create societies that are fair, inclusive, socially-just, equitable and sustainable.
To this end, actors from a diverse range of movements, sectors and regions have, in recent years, been mobilising to reclaim and rebuild public services as the foundation of a fair and just economy that works for all. Key milestones have included the first global “Future is Public” conference held in Amsterdam 2019, which brought together over 400 participants to discuss strategies for putting the “public” back into public services and to build democratic public ownership of the economy, and the launch of the collective civil society Global Manifesto on Public Services in October 2021, signed by over 200 organisations.
From 29th November to 2nd December over a thousand representatives from over one hundred countries, from grassroots movements, advocacy, human rights, and development organisations, feminist movements, trade unions, and other civil society organisations, met in Santiago, Chile, and virtually, to discuss the critical role of public services for our future.
Following the meeting, the Santiago Declaration on Public Services was adopted by a drafting group representing all sectors, on the basis of the notes and discussions during the four days.
We are at a critical juncture. At a time when the world faces a series of crises, from the environmental emergency to hunger and deepening inequalities, increasing armed conflicts, pandemics, rising extremism, and escalating inflation, a collective response is growing. A large movement is building and concrete solutions are emerging to counter the dominant paradigm of growth, privatisation and commodification.
Hundreds of organisations across socio-economic justice and public services sectors, from education and health services, to care, energy, food, housing, water, transportation and social protection, are coming together to address the harmful effects of commercialising public services, to reclaim democratic public control, and to reimagine a truly equal and human rights oriented economy that works for people and the planet.
We demand universal access to quality, gender-transformative and equitable public services as the foundation of a fair and just society.
Our Future is Public: Join our call for universal access to quality, gender-transformative and equitable public services as the foundation of a fair and just society. Read the Declaration, and endorse it here.
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.
In a world facing social fragmentation, harmful inequities, and environmental deterioration, we need quality, transformative, inclusive public education now more than ever. As our political systems struggle to resist autocracy and to foster democracy, free public education can help create a well-informed public with the capacity to address these global challenges.
The public supports public education, and public education works.
In her first report to the Human Rights Council, 25 years after the establishment of the mandate on the right to education, the Special Rapporteur reviews achievements, particularly on how the right to education is understood today and the obligations it entails, as well as contemporary and emerging issues that need to be considered to ensure the right to education for all, today and in the future.