In April 2015 the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology issued a statement banning pregnant girls from mainstream education. The exclusion of pregnant girls from mainstream education and from sitting exams is a violation of their right to education and a discriminatory measure which reinforces negative stereotypes about girls. Enforcement of the ban was immediate and was done through searches and physical examination of girls. Threatening their physical integrity and privacy Despite the establishment by the government with the support of some international donors of an alternative “bridging “ education system that would allow pregnant girls to continue going to school, there are still concerns about the human rights of the girls. Mainly for their lack of choice in attending one system or the other, their inability to take exams and the persistent stigmatisation of the ban.

En el presente informe se aborda el derecho a la educación de las niñas. Teniendo en cuenta la primera evaluación de la realización de los objetivos de desarrollo del Milenio, el Relator Especial desea tratar específicamente los objetivos 2 y 3, sobre la enseñanza primaria universal y la igualdad entre los géneros. El Relator Especial aborda el contexto sociocultural de la discriminación por motivos de género definiendo el concepto de patriarcalismo, que explica algunos comportamientos discriminatorios. Denuncia la repercusión negativa sobre la educación, en especial sobre la educación de las niñas, del concepto persistente de que la educación es un servicio y no un derecho humano, e insiste en la importancia de velar no sólo por el acceso de las niñas a la escuela sino por que éstas completen el ciclo escolar. En el informe se identifican los obstáculos que se interponen a la educación de las niñas, como los matrimonios y los embarazos precoces, el trabajo infantil (en especial el trabajo en el hogar) y los conflictos armados.

El Relator Especial destaca los factores agravantes y subraya el papel esencial de la enseñanza de los derechos humanos y su aplicación concreta en las aulas para luchar contra la discriminación por motivos de sexo y los estereotipos basados en el género. En el informe también se resumen las respuestas recibidas a un cuestionario remitido a las distintas partes interesadas, en que se les solicitaba información sobre la realización del derecho a la educación de las niñas, deduciéndose de dichas respuestas las tendencias principales, que justifican sus conclusiones. En el informe se proporciona una serie de recomendaciones basadas en los cuatro elementos identificados como elementos constituyentes del derecho a la educación, a saber, la disponibilidad, la accesibilidad, la aceptabilidad y la adaptabilidad.

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The present report focuses on girls’ right to education. In view of the first assessment of the Millennium Development Goals, the Special Rapporteur wished to focus on Goals 2 and 3, on universal primary education and gender equality. The Special Rapporteur addresses the sociocultural context of gender discrimination by defining the concept of patriarchalism, which underpins discriminatory behaviours. He denounces the negative impact on education, and especially on girls’ education, of the persistent consideration of education as being a service rather than a human right and insists on the importance of ensuring not only girls’ access to school but also their completion of the education cycle. The report identifies obstacles to education for girls, such as early marriages and pregnancies, child labour (especially domestic work) and armed conflicts.

The Special Rapporteur draws attention to aggravating factors and highlights the key role of human rights education and its concrete implementation at the classroom level to combat gender discrimination and stereotypes. The report also summarises replies received to the questionnaire sent to different stakeholders to solicit information on the realization of the right to education for girls, extracting major trends from the replies and validating his findings. The report provides a set of recommendations based on the four elements identified as components of the right to education, namely, availability, accessibility, acceptability and adaptability.

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Parallel Report submitted by the National Campaign for Education-Nepal, the Nepal National Teachers Association (NNTA), the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and other partners, including the Right to Education Project, on the occasion of the examination of the report of Nepal during the 72nd session of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. 

The report shows that the growth of unregulated private education in Nepal supported by the State, is creating and entrenching segregation in education, threatens access to education for girls and children from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds and is a cause of discrimination with regards to access to quality education. As pointed out recently by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), such segregation in itself constitutes a human rights violation and must be ended.2 Segregation is also the source of other human rights abuses, including discrimination on the grounds of socio-economic background, gender and caste, a limitation on the right to free quality education, and the lowering of education quality. This situation is extremely problematic because of the injustices it generates which threaten the fragile social cohesion and peace that exist in Nepal. If the situation remains the same, experience shows that the education system is bound to generate instability and protests in an already unstable country that is slowly trying to recover from conflict and humanitarian disaster.

Violence in schools and other educational settings is a worldwide problem. Students who are perceived not to conform to prevailing sexual and gender norms, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), are more vulnerable. Violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, also referred to as homophobic and transphobic violence, is a form of school-related gender-based violence. It includes physical, sexual and psychological violence and bullying and, like other forms of school-related violence, can occur in classes, playgrounds, toilets and changing rooms, on the way to and from school and online. This report presents the findings of a global review, commissioned by UNESCO, of homophobic and transphobic violence in schools and education sector responses.

Based upon Plan International's dataset of 1.4 million sponsored children, the report compares sponsored children with a disability to those without, from 30 countries worldwide. The report, produced in collaboration with London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, reveals that children with disabilities in developing countries are being held back from an education. The findings will help Plan International - and other researchers and organisations - to improve responses to the needs of children with disabilities, particularly their health and education.

This report was prepared pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 32/20. It underlines the multiple and intersecting obstacles that limit effective and equal access of girls to education and highlights good practices to address those barriers. It also contains recommendations on appropriate measures to ensure the equal enjoyment of the right to education by every girl and, in that context, eliminate all gender disparities in education by 2030, in fulfilment of the commitment made in Goal 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Gender equality and inequality concern how people live their daily lives, their relationships, choices, decisions and the freedom they do or do not have to live a life they value. Gender equality is a matter of social justice and human rights. It drives development progress.  It is vital for achieving peaceful, inclusive, resilient and just societies.

The concept of equality between women and men was articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, then reinforced in international agreements including the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Progress has been made, yet substantive gender equality remains elusive.

At the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015, the international community adopted a new global development agenda, Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity that seeks to realise the human rights of all and achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls (United Nations, 2015a).

Realising substantive and lasting gender equality requires bold, urgent action in the new agenda including recognition of how societies create and reinforce everyday discriminatory norms, stereotypes and practices relating to gender. It also requires understanding one’s own values, the values of one’s community and society, and those of others around the world. Moreover, transformative action is needed to redress complex, deeply embedded inequality.

Education and lifelong learning – broadly defined to include formal, non-formal and informal learning – play a vital role in achieving gender equality. Education can be a locus of gender inequality, where stereotypical behaviour and views are reinforced, or a catalyst of transformation, providing individuals with opportunity and capability to challenge and change discriminatory attitudes and practices. As we move into a new era of international development, framed by progress on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), links between education and gender equality are clearly recognised, building on acknowledgement since the beginning of the Education for All (EFA) movement that improving girls’ education and ensuring equitable educational opportunities for all girls and boys is necessary for social justice on a global scale.

Education and gender equality are central concerns in the new sustainable development agenda. The Education 2030 Framework for Action, agreed by the global education community in November 2015 to accompany the SDG agenda, recognises that gender equality is inextricably linked to the right to education for all, and that achieving gender equality requires an approach that ‘ensures that girls and boys, women and men not only gain access to and complete education cycles, but are empowered equally in and through education’  (UNESCO, 2016a, p. 8). Women, girls, boys and men all need to be given opportunities for active participation in society, for their voices to be heard and their needs met (UN Women, 2016a).

To facilitate and achieve this, better evidence-based knowledge and understanding of gender issues in and through education are needed. The Gender Review of the 2016 Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report) recognises and largely focuses on the challenges facing girls and women because of the disproportionate overall disadvantage they continue to experience in and beyond education. But it also understands that gender disadvantage can be experienced by boys and men, and that gender equality involves males, relationships and power.  Gender inequality affects us all. Achieving gender equality must involve us all.

 

Sixteen years after the US-led military intervention in Afghanistan ousted the Taliban, an estimated two-thirds of Afghan girls do not attend school. The aim of getting all girls into school was never fully realised, and the proportion of students who are girls is even falling in some parts of the country. The vast majority of the millions of Afghan children not in school are girls, and only 37 percent of adolescent girls are literate, compared to 66 percent of adolescent boys.

'I won’t be a doctor, and one day you’ll be sick: Girls’ access to education in Afghanistan' is based on 249 interviews in Kabul, Kandahar, Balkh, and Nangarhar provinces, most with girls who were kept from completing their education.

The report describes how, as security in the country worsens and international donors disengage, progress made toward getting girls into school is at risk. Afghanistan’s government provides fewer schools for girls than boys. Many children live far from a school so are not able to attend, which particularly affects girls. About 41 percent of schools have no buildings, and many lack boundary walls, water and toilets—disproportionately affecting girls. Girls are kept home due to gender norms that do notvalue or permit their education, or due to security concerns. A third of girls marry before age 18, and forces many girls out of school.

The report calls on the Afghan government, and its international donors, to increase girls’ access to education through protecting schools and students, institutionalising and expanding models that help girls study, and taking concrete steps to meet the government’s obligation to provide universal free and compulsory primary education.

The second edition of the Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report) presents the latest evidence on global progress towards the education targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

With hundreds of millions of people still not going to school, and many not achieving minimum skills at school, it is clear education systems are off track to achieve global goals. The marginalised currently bear the most consequences but also stand to benefit the most if policy-makers pay sufficient attention to their needs. Faced with these challenges, along with tight budgets and increased emphasis on results-oriented value for money, countries are searching for solutions. Increased accountability often tops the list.

The 2017/8 GEM Report shows the entire array of approaches to accountability in education. It ranges from countries unused to the concept, where violations of the right to education go unchallenged, to countries where accountability has become an end in itself instead of a means to inclusive, equitable and high-quality education and lifelong learning for all.

The report emphasises that education is a shared responsibility. While governments have primary responsibility, all actors – schools, teachers, parents, students, international organizations, private sector providers, civil society and the media – have a role in improving education systems. The report emphasises the importance of transparency and availability of information but urges caution in how data are used. It makes the case for avoiding accountability systems with a disproportionate focus on narrowly defined results and punitive sanctions. In an era of multiple accountability tools, the report provides clear evidence on those that are working and those that are not.

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