27 March 2024

On 13 February 2024, international experts, academics, education stakeholders and representatives of regional and international human rights systems gathered to celebrate five years since the adoption of the Abidjan Principles, a reference text and rapidly recognised authoritative resource on the right to education. 

More than 100 people joined the online session, which included participation from leading experts, practitioners, and regional and international system representatives. The first section enjoyed inputs from Ann Skelton, University of Pretoria, UNESCO, Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC); Dr. Frank Adamson, California State University; and Dr. Prachi Srivastava, University of Western Ontario. They considered the context of increasing calls to strengthen the legal frameworks for the right to education and the relevance of the Abidjan Principles to these calls, the support for public education worldwide, and how the interlinked characteristics of access, inclusion, and quality as central to public education. 

In the second section, Dr. Priyadarshani Joshi, Global Education Monitoring Report; Dr. David Giband, Université de Perpignan; and Dr. Prachi Srivastava, University of Western Ontario, discussed the growth in technology providers in education from a human rights perspective and the ongoing role of the state; the development of the figure of the ‘edupreneur’ in education;  and the increasing rapprochement between private interests in the public sector.

Following this, Mudford Zachariah Mwandenga of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Javier Palummo of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights  discussed their regional contexts, and the ways in which the Abidjan Principles can be and have been used to protect the right to education.

In the last discussion section, Johnstone Shishanya, East African Centre for Human Rights; Karuna Parajuli, International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) Nepal; Mudford Zachariah Mwandenga, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights; Javier Palummo, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; and Sandy Fredman, Oxford University - Pembroke College were welcomed to the digital floor. They reflected on the relevance of the Abidjan Principles to work being conducted at national level, in terms of relevance and use in regional frameworks and their associated guidelines, decisions and general comments, and in relation to the protection of early childhood care and education rights. 

Finally, participants were asked to offer short reflections on the Abidjan Principles to finish the session.

The event was moderated by Joshua Castellino, Minority Rights Group International, and Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona, Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Watch the full recording here