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. The first volume of NORRAG Special Issue (NSI) is dedicated to examining international frameworks and national policy as well as the challenges of fulfilling the right to education in practice.

The inaugural issue of NSI on the Right to Education Movements and Policies: Promises and Realities aims to highlight the global and national level experience and perspective on guaranteeing the right to education, as outlined in international frameworks, national constitutions, legislation, and policy, when creating the required administrative structures to ensure that the right is respected, protected, and fulfilled for all.

The Issue is divided into six parts, each focusing on a specific theme of right to education policy and practice. The first part includes an article written by RTE staff on The Role of Court Decisions in the Realisation of the Right to Education, which draws on RTE's background paper on accountability for the GEM Report 2017-8.

 

El informe "Educación privada de bajo coste en el Perú: un enfoque desde la calidad" ha sido realizado conjuntamente por un equipo de investigación de la Universitat
Autònoma de Barcelona y del Grupo de Análisis para el Desarrollo de Lima y ofrece un panorama actual de la distribución de la oferta privada en el Perú, con especial atención a Lima Metropolitana y, en particular, al distrito de San Juan de Lurigancho.

In this action brought by a transgender student against the National Service of Education (SENA), the Constitutional Court defended the right to education and the free development of the person by ordering that the student be allowed to wear a male uniform, that he be treated in accordance with his identity as a transgender man, and that the SENA implement a plan that promotes the respect and free development of the person, particularly regarding expressions of gender identity and sexual orientation.

This case involves the interpretation of the scope of the constitutional right in South Africa to basic education and in particular whether the provision of school textbooks to all basic education learners for the whole academic year is an essential component of this right.

 

In this case, a resident of Uttar Pradesh state challenged a notification issued by the Karnataka government that permitted private medical colleges to charge higher fees to students who were not allocated 'government seats'. The Supreme Court of India held that the charging of a ‘capitation fee’ by the private educational institutions violated the right to education, as implied from the right to life and human dignity, and the right to equal protection of the law. In the absence of an express constitutional right, the Court interpreted a right to education as a necessary condition for fulfilment of the right to life under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. In addition, the Court held that private institutions, acting as agents of the State, have a duty to ensure equal access to, and non-discrimination the delivery of, higher education.

In response to a petition filed by an Indian charity, the Supreme Court of India directed the governments of all States and Union Territories to ensure that all schools, whether private or state-run, provide proper toilet facilities, drinking water, sufficient classrooms and capable teaching staff. The court held that, under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (2009) and the Indian Constitution, central, state and local governments have an obligation to ensure that all schools, both public and private, have adequate infrastructure. Adequate infrastructure includes safe drinking water, toilet facilities for boys and girls, sufficient class rooms and the appointment of teaching and non-teaching staff.

In this decision, the Supreme Court of India upheld the constitutionality of section 12 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE Act), which requires all schools, both state-funded and private, to accept 25% intake of children from disadvantaged groups. However, the Court held that the RTE Act could not require private, minority schools to satisfy a 25% quota, as this would constitute a violation of the right of minority groups to establish private schools under the Indian Constitution. This case affirms that the authority of the State to fulfil its obligations under the right to education can be extended to private, non-State actors. Because the State has the authority to determine the manner in which it discharge this obligation, it can elect to impose statutory obligations on private schools so long as the requirements are in the public interest.

Children in Afghanistan – and their households may face war, displacement, migration and natural disasters in trying to access education, in addition to more common difficulties such as poverty and lack of access. This study, part of the Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children launched by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Institute for Statistics (UNESCO UIS), seeks to identify the barriers preventing children in Afghanistan from attending school, identify gaps in the current approaches to addressing these barriers and provide policy recommendations to move forward effectively. This is in line with the studies conducted elsewhere at the country and regional level for the out-of-school children initiative (OOSCI), based on existing data.

 

Key resource
This background paper was commissioned by the Global Education Monitoring Report team to assist in the drafting the 2018 GEM Gender Review: Accountability in education: Meeting our commitments to gender equality in education.

This paper firstly sets out the legal and political frameworks on gender equality in education to which states have committed and then describes how they have committed.

In the second section, the content of states’ commitments to achieve gender equality in education is explained, including the normative content of relevant provisions found in international and regional human rights treaties and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This section also includes a classification of states according to what legal commitments to women and girls’ right to education they have made.

The final section details how states can be held accountable for failure to meet their legal commitments to gender equality in education, including what mechanisms are available and examples of how these mechanisms have been used to hold states accountable.

Education is the right of every child. It empowers children to thrive. It helps promote greater civic engagement and peaceful communities. It is the most effective investment against child poverty and one of the best economic investments a country can make. This is why every child should be in school. Every child must have access to quality education, so they can fulfill their potential. In the State of Palestine, very few children of primary school age are excluded from education, but nearly five per cent of 10-15-year-old children and one out of three 6-9 year-olds with disabilities are out of school. The aim of this study is to identify who these excluded children are, where they live, and to understand why they are not in school.
 
Based on a global initiative led by UNICEF and UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics, it aims at providing a more in-depth analysis, using a unique conceptual and methodological framework to develop comprehensive profiles of out-of-school children and link them to the barriers and bottlenecks that led to school drop-out. It takes into consideration a variety of factors such as socio-economic factors, the quality of education, and the influence of the environment, the community and the school. This study aims not only at understanding what barriers and bottlenecks prevent access to school, but also at taking action about it. Based on research findings, it proposes practical ways of removing these barriers to get children back to school, and to keep the children who are at risk of dropping out in school. By promoting and implementing sound policies that address exclusion, we can make a substantial and sustainable reduction in the number of out of school children.

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