14 May 2021

This year’s Comparative and International Education Society Conference - conducted entirely online given the current global epidemiological situation - saw RTE participate in three events.

Our programme of engagement covered a session on Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), an event which RTE organised on Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), and one of the first events in support of a new book on the Abidjan Principles, which our Director Delphine Dorsi co-edited. 

The PPPs session - at which RTE’s Director Delphine Dorsi contributed as a presenter alongside Sonia Languille of Open Society Foundations and Maria Ron Balsera of ActionAid - was chaired by Elaine Unterhalter of the Institute of Education, University College London. The event centered on a discussion of the book ‘Critical reflections on Public Private partnerships’, and enjoyed a lively debate. Toni Verger, who discussed the book, highlighted it is an outstanding piece of research on a challenging topic: looking at PPPs across sectors. He appreciated the social justice approach in all chapters and raised interesting questions to deepen the research suggesting for instance to look at the origin of PPPs in other sectors, to observe if market competition creates inequalities as this is often the case in education or to compare the choice issue. He also indicated that it would be useful to have human rights principles such as the Abidjan Principles to apply to other sectors. Jyotsna Jha, who also discussed the book, underlined that measuring quality education can’t be limited to learning outcomes.  

The panel discussion on ECCE focused on the ways in which the legal framework at the national and international level can help to achieve ECCE goals, and how it should be strengthened further to explicitly recognise the right of young children to pre-primary education.

The event featured presentations and discussion from Sandra Fredman, Law Professor at the University of Oxford, who expressed concerns regarding the mass closure of pre-school facilities during Covid pandemic, and insisted on the crucial need to clarify states’ obligations to ensure that ECCE is prioritised both during and post-pandemic. Rolla Moumné, responsible for the Right to Education Programme at UNESCO, discussed both the launch of the organisation’s Global Partnership Strategy - on which RTE has collaborated - and the findings of UNESCO's global study on the Right to Pre-Primary Education.

Presentations and research findings by Bede Sheppard, a researcher at Human Rights Watch and Giovanna Modé, the Political coordinator at Latina American Campaign for the right to education were also enjoyed, alongside comments from Dr. Koumbou Boly Barry, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education and the event discussant. 

Screenshot from AP book launch event

Finally, the book launch of “Realising the Abidjan Principles on the Right to Education: Human Rights, Public Education, and the role of private actors in education” used four presentations to examine eight topics which arose in the process of developing and producing the Abidjan Principles on the human rights obligations of States to provide public education and to regulate private involvement in education. RTE’s Director Delphine Dorsi conducted one of the presentations, alongside co-editors Mireille De Koning of Open Society Foundations and Frank M. Adamson of California State University, Sacramento.

This event was the first of several activities planned in support of the launch of the book, which is scheduled for June and will be available in open access format. For more information on the book launch, follow us on Twitter and sign up to our e-Bulletin.