On 16 July 2021, Right to Education Initiative and 23 other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) signed a public statement regarding the UN Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/47/L.4/Rev.1.
The resolution was adopted by consensus on Monday 12 July and sponsored by 54 States. In it, the United Nations Human Rights Council reaffirmed its recognition of the Abidjan Principles on the right to education, urging States to act against commercialisation of education, and requested that the UN to work with the Global Partnership for Education to implement it.
The resolution in particular:
- Notes the development by experts of guiding principles such as the Abidjan Principles on the human rights obligations of States to provide public education and to regulate private involvement in education (preliminary paragraph);
- Recognises the 'significant importance of investment' of the maximum of available resources in public education (paragraph 5), at all levels of education, including pre-primary education (paragraph 6); - Urges all States 'to regulate and monitor all education providers, private and public, including those operating independently or in partnership with States, [...] to address the negative impact of the commercialization of education' (paragraph 12); and
- Expresses concerns at the increasing digital divide, and stresses that the incorporation of digital technologies in education 'is not a long-term replacement for on-site schooling' and has 'potential unintended negative effects', including on 'the changes it may create in the organization of education systems' (preliminary paragraph).
The public statement highlights the connection between GPE, which is the main multilateral funding organisation for education, and human rights. It stresses that collaboration between GPE, as a harmonised funding body, and UNESCO and OHCHR, as human rights and policy organisations, could be essential to ensure that human rights are translated from commitments to effective education programming. In particular, UNESCO recently designed a series of tools to support States in addressing the right to education in educational planning and management, which could help bridge this gap.
The signing organisations will be engaging with these institutions and are committed to working with them to support the practical use of the right to education in education sector planning and implementation, in accordance with the resolution.