The advice of the Expert Mechanism are meant to provide a better understanding of the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to propose concrete actions that States, indigenous peoples, civil society, international organisations, national human rights institutions and others can take in order to further its implementation.

This advice deals with the right to education of indigenous peoples. 

This report documents how the the Czech authorities are violating the human rights of Romani children in schools across the country. Romani children in the Czech Republic have for decades suffered systemic discrimination in primary education. Many are placed in so-called practical schools designated for pupils with mild mental disabilities. Those in mainstream schools are often segregated in Roma-only schools and classes or otherwise treated differently. Reports of racial bullying and ostracisation by non-Roma pupils, and even open prejudice by some teachers, are frequent. Amnesty International calls on the Czech government to make an unequivocal commitment and start a reform that would address ethnic prejudice and discrimination head-on.

The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity, well-being and rights of the world's indigenous peoples. The Declaration addresses both individual and collective rights; cultural rights and identity; rights to education, health, employment, language, and others. It outlaws discrimination against indigenous peoples and promotes their full and effective participation in all matters that concern them. It also ensures their right to remain distinct and to pursue their own priorities in economic, social and cultural development. The Declaration explicitly encourages harmonious and cooperative relations between States and indigenous peoples.

Articles 14, 15, 17 and 21 refer to education.

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The main purpose of this Guide is to provide governments, indigenous and tribal peoples and workers’ and employers’ organisations with a practical tool for the implementation of indigenous peoples’ rights, based on the experiences, good practices and lessons learned that have been generated so far.

Section 10 (pages 128-136) refer specifically to education.

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The following articles relevant to the justiciability of the right to education can be found in this INTERIGHTS Bulletin:

  • Diokno, MSI (2007) Short-changing the Right to Education in the Philippines,
  • Ribeiro, RM (2007) Securing the Right to Education in Brazil: A Brief Overview of the Role of the Courts
  • Courtis, C (2007) The Right to Education in the Jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights
  • Cojocariu, C (2007) Racial Discrimination against Roma Children in Schools: Recent Developments from Courts in Bulgaria and Hungary

The following article is relevant to the right to education of minorities:

  • de Varennes, F (2007) Language Rights in Education

An update of the decisions made by the European Court of Human Rights from 2007-2010, on the right to education of Roma children.

This Guide provides an overview of economic, social and cultural rights and how they can be applied to minorities and indigenous peoples. Aimed at minority and indigenous activists and those working with them, each chapter has been written by an expert on a different right. Education rights are addressed by Duncan Wilson on p.55 – 67.

Each chapter focuses upon a different ESC right and describes the legal standards, the various enforcement mechanisms, and guidelines for successful civil society advocacy.

The study prepared by the Expert Mechanism encompasses (a) a human rights-based analysis of the scope and content of the right to education; (b) indigenous education systems and institutions; (c) lessons learned; (d) challenges and measures to achieve the implementation of the right of indigenous peoples to education; and (e) advice on the right of indigenous peoples to education.

This report consists of three main chapters. The first chapter enumerates all the mechanisms contributing to the development of educational inequalities in the Czech Republic’s education system, which are summarised to provide a context for the focus of this report—the ECEC of Roma children. It highlights the lack of ECEC provision for children under the age of 3 years (in terms of insufficient professional support to young Roma children, including that provided in some circumstances by crèches), problems related to insufficient kindergarten capacity (available child places), and low participation of Roma children in ECEC programs overall. This chapter also deals with the transition from preschool settings to primary education, and the placement of Roma children into schools with reduced curricula. All this has to be understood in the context of a highly diversified education system that “sorts” children into different educational pathways early in life, starting as early as Grade 1 in primary school. Another problem discussed is the large proportion of postponed primary school enrolments. The first chapter is based on statistical data and data from the Czech Longitudinal Study of Education, which studied educational transition in compulsory education. These are complemented by available data from other available research surveys.

The second chapter analyses the level of inequalities in ECEC provision for Roma children. It is the main analytic chapter of the report and describes the participation of Roma children in kindergartens and how this impacts their successful enrolment into primary education. The analysis is based on: Czech data collected for the 2011 regional Roma survey organised by the UNDP, World Bank, and European Commission (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights and UNDP 2012); research into the educational pathways of Roma pupils (Gabal Analysis and Consulting 2010); group interviews with Roma parents (Nová škola 2011); and regional situational analyses produced by the Office of the Czech Government Demographic Information Center (2011).

In comparison with their non-Roma peers, Roma children’s enrolment in preschool education is markedly less frequent. The key causal issues identified by the analysis include economic reasons, the different parental priorities of socially excluded families in comparison with other more affluent groups in society, and direct and indirect discriminatory barriers in preschool institutions. However, as stated above, it is well known that the beneficial influence of preschool education is more significant for marginalised and materially deprived Roma children than for their non-Roma counterparts.

The third chapter draws conclusions and lists a number of key recommendations, some with addenda.

This toolkit has been produced by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) in collaboration with ActionAid International (AAI) and Education International (EI), and with funding from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). It aims to support civil society organisations and education activists across low- and middle-income countries to advocate and campaign on issues related to financing for education, as a strategic focus area of the GCE movement. It is also a result of increasing interest in advocacy around domestic financing for education as identified through GCE’s Civil Society Education Fund (CSEF) programme (GCE website).

GCE, AAI and EI are launching this toolkit as the world embarks on the difficult task of putting into action the newly agreed Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4), and the accompanying Education 2030 Framework for Action (FFA). The SDG 4 and the FFA contain collective commitments to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all by 2030. In recognition that enacting this expanded agenda will require more funds for education, the FFA sets out financing benchmarks that commit governments to spending at least 4-6% of GDP and 15-20% of total budgets on education, and it highlights domestic resourcing as the most important way of funding education. In addition, in order to address issues of quality and equity in education, the FFA recognises there is a need for greater efficiency, better targeted spending and increased accountability (UNESCO, 2015a).

Civil society can – and should – play a critical role in this, which requires the building of a powerful evidence base on which to conduct advocacy and put pressure on governments to deliver sufficient funding for education, primarily domestic, complemented by external support where necessary. It is hoped that this toolkit will help to build knowledge and capacity so that education advocates and activists across the developing world can more effectively hold their governments accountable.

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