15 April 2020

The European Committee of Social Rights, which monitors compliance with the European Social Charter refers to the Abidjan Principles (APs) in its most recent set of conclusions - which include detailed discussions of the right to education for states parties to the Council of Europe.

The Committee published a statement of the interpretation of Article 17§2 (right to education) regarding private sector involvement in education which states:

The Committee recalls that Article 17§2 of the Charter requires States Parties to establish and maintain an educational system that is both accessible and effective (Conclusions 2011). The Charter provides that the obligations under this provision may be met directly or through the involvement of private actors. The Committee notes further that in many states private education is also available.

The Committee is also mindful in this respect of the Abidjan Guiding Principles on the human rights obligations of States to provide public education and to regulate private involvement in education. It recalls that the requirement that States respect the freedom of parents to choose an educational institution other than a public institution leaves unchanged the obligation under the Charter to provide free quality public education. Similarly, the offer of educational alternatives by private actors must not be detrimental to the allocation of resources towards, or otherwise undermine the accessibility and quality of, public education. Moreover, States are required to regulate and supervise private sector involvement in education strictly, making sure that the right to education is not undermined.’

The European Social Charter sets out the most extensive protection for the right to education under European human rights law. Find out more here.

The mention adds to the growing list of institutions and  legal and political documents that refer to the Abidjan Principles, demonstrating their normative and practical importance in ensuring the right to education. The Abidjan Principles, which were adopted in February 2019, have also been mentioned in the following:

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