28 April 2022

This year’s Comparative International Education Society (CIES) conference, held between 18 and 22 April, enjoyed the return of presencial participation after two years of a purely online format. The theme of this year’s hybrid conference was  ‘Illuminating the power of Idea/lism’. During and in the lead up to the conference, RTE co-organised a workshop and participated in a session. Details of each event are listed below. 


Strengthening Education in Practice: Using the New Tool of UNESCO-IIEP for aligning Education Planning Documents with Human Rights Law

This workshop, held on 20 April 2022, was co-organised by RTE and involved exploration and discussion of  new Methodological Guidelines and Toolkit, part of a wider project led by IIEP-UNESCO entitled ‘Planning to fulfil the right to education’.

The purpose of the Methodological Guidelines and Toolkit, the product of almost two years of analysis and collaboration, is to help relevant stakeholders systematically collect and analyse the efforts made in law and policy to ensure the right to education. 

The development of the tool has been led by IIEP-UNESCO, in collaboration with UNESCO-HQ Section of Education Policy, with the support from the Right to Education Initiative and the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. 

Throughout the three-hour workshop, Juana Barragán Díaz presented the project Planning to fulfil the right to education, Methodological Guidelines and Toolkit in detail. The eleven participants present were taught how to use the different tools through an interactive, hands-on experience. The overall goal of the workshop was to help the eleven participants understand how to mobilise the Toolkit to ensure that their educational planning or programming documents are aligned with international right to education standard-setting instruments. 

The Methodological Guidelines and Toolkit were originally conceived to support States in the planning process, thus they are mostly directed at educational planners, managers, and decision-makers at the national level. However, the tools are flexible enough to be utilised by other relevant entities or partners at the national (independent human rights institutions, ombudspersons, NGOs, etc.) or international levels (UN agencies, development banks, INGOs, etc).


Strengthening Public Education: Tools and Experiences for aligning Education Policies with the Right to Education

There is significant cross national variation in how the right to public education is being implemented. Yet despite nuances in approach to implementation, particularly in the context of the rapid expansion of commercialisation in education and the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, all States must ensure that education policies are in line with international obligations and commitments synthesised in the Abidjan Principles.

This panel served as a discussion on the obligations of states to protect, respect and fulfil the right to education, and the role of instruments such as the Abidjan Principles in clarifying rights and obligations particularly with regard to the role of private actors and state support of public institutions. 

Four presentations and interventions were offered: human rights and education expert Sylvain Aubry discussed the relevance of the Abidjan Principles to understanding public education, and highlighted alternatives to privatisation. 

Delphine Dorsi, RTE’s Executive Director, delivered an intervention on measuring and analysing education systems through the lens of human rights, presenting the paper ‘Human rights to evaluate evidence on non-state involvement in education’.

Amelie Gagnon and Rolla Moumné presented the aforementioned tool developed by the International Institute for Educational Planning of UNESCO to support education stakeholders in bringing the right to education to the core of their education planning documents, such as their education sector plans.

Finally, Frank Adamson and Marina Avelar presented the research paper ‘Public Education Works: Lessons from Five Case-Studies in Low- and Middle- Income Countries’.

35 participants attended the panel discussion.

Find out more about our work on privatisation and the Abidjan Principles