You should use this Monitoring Guide if you would like to add a human rights perspective to your educationadvocacy efforts.
More often than not the education issues you will want to monitor are human rights issues. By linking the issues you encounter to the right to education, your advocacy efforts are strengthened because States are legally and politically bound to protect everyone’s human rights and can be held accountable if they fail to do so.
This Guide aims to demystify and simplify themonitoring process and ensure that the right to education remains the focus of your advocacy efforts.
This Guide consists of six easy to follow steps. Each step provides guidance on how to monitor various aspects of the right to education, particularly through the use of human rightsindicators.
Using indicators will help you to gather evidence that a human rights violation has occurred. The Right to Education Project has developed a comprehensive list of human rights-based education indicators. In order to help you select the most appropriate indicators for your monitoring project, we have created a special online tool - theRight to Education Indicators Selection Tool (‘Tool’).
Why use a human rights approach to education advocacy?
There are several reasons for adopting a human rights approach to education advocacy:
- Human rights provide a universally accepted normative framework that details the content of the rights people have and the corresponding obligations of the State. Thus it gives advocates a solid basis upon which to claim that the State has acted in a way that violates the right to education and to demand a change ofpolicy.
- Grounding education advocacy in a human rights framework promotes accountability. Human rights are not just moral rights - they are legal rights. Every country has ratified at least onehuman rights treaty that guarantees the right to education, and the majority of countries protect the right to education in their constitutions. This means that most States can be held legally accountable for violations.
- Using human rights-based strategies empowersrights-holders, who are often ignored, giving them a voice and allowing solutions to emanate from the people who are directly affected. This is particularly important for those belonging to marginalised groups.
- Using a human rights lens to analyse education issues changes the way we view a situation. For example, instead of seeing children who are out-of-school as unlucky or unfortunate, by recognising that they are rights-holders, we realise that these children are in fact victims of intolerable justices, for which the State must be held accountable.
Why monitor the right to education?
The main purpose of monitoring the right to education is to identify problems in the implementation of the right to education, both in law (de jure) and in fact (de facto). For example, if a State does not prohibitdiscrimination in access to and through education, it is likely that many children will be denied their right to education. However, if a State does prohibit discrimination but many children remain out-of-school, the problem is not with the law but with the State’s failure to properly implement the right to education through adequate policies and programmes.
It is only by identifying problems – through right to education monitoring – that these problems can be addressed.
When States make a legal or political commitment to implement the right to education (such as by ratifying a treaty, enshrining it in the constitution or guaranteeing it in laws and policies), they must monitor implementation; otherwise they cannot identify problems and solve them. Monitoring is the most effective way to understand problems in education and the impact these problems have. Without this information, States cannot formulate suitable, targeted and effective solutions.
Although the State is responsible for implementing the right to education, it is not desirable for the State to be the only actor engaged in monitoring. The State’s responsibility to monitor serves a particular role – to ensure that laws, policies and programmes adequately address real problems. Other actors have different reasons to monitor the right to education.
Civil society plays an important and specific role in monitoring the right to education. Civil society provides an alternative view and insight in to education problems that the State may not be aware of. This is because civil society organisations (CSOs) are usually embedded in specific areas and have specialist knowledge of the problems that their constituents face. They may also have the time and skills that States lack to examine issues more rigorously and comprehensively.
In most instances, civil society monitoring complements State monitoring. Like States, civil society monitors de jure and de facto enjoyment of the right to education. However, in certain situations the State itself may be responsible (either by act of omission or commission) for certain problems. In these instances, it is the role of civil society to hold the State to account for its failure to protect the right to education.
Unlike States, CSOs cannot effect direct change. In order to hold the State to account and improve the protection of the right to education, CSOs must influenceduty-bearers through advocacy. In short, CSOs monitor the right to education in order to put pressure on the State to fully implement the right to education for all.
Human rights mechanisms play a specific monitoring role in that they assess the compliance of the State with either national or international law. These processes usually engage both the State and civil society, for example both the State and CSOs submit reports to UN treaty bodies.
International development agencies, in collaboration with States and civil society, work together to solve specific education problems and will usually monitor the right to education in order to uncover where States most need support, usually in the form of financial aid and technical support.