1 June 2023

On 27 June, the Right to Education Initiative and the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights submitted a written statement in support of the report ‘Securing the right to education: advances and critical challenges’, by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, Farida Shaheed. The publication of this report marks the 25th anniversary of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, and we wish to offer our acknowledgement and thanks to all those who have held this office, and for their vital role in protecting and advancing the right to education. 

The statement addresses the advances and critical challenges in realising the right to education with a holistic approach to education. It embraces all dimensions of education, including formal and non formal instruction and learning that occurs in multiple spaces, and considers the right from birth and throughout life. We particularly celebrate the focus given to different educational stages, including early childhood care and education, and welcome her recommendation that guidelines on ECCE would support the implementation of young children’s rights. Furthermore, we welcome the UN Special Rapporteur’s call for an expanded vision of the right to education through life and a commitment to education as a public societal endeavour and common good.

The statement joins the UN Special Rapporteur in her call for reinforcing the implementation of the right to education, including through accountability and monitoring processes. We particularly welcome her mention of our monitoring guide. 

Furthermore, the statement reinforces the UN Special Rapporteur’s comments on:

  • Effective monitoring and accountability as dependent on adequate financing, and the importance of recognising that ‘financing education is a legal obligation under international law’, which entails the allocation of maximum available resources for the progressive realisation of the right to education, requiring ‘going beyond the resources currently at governments’ disposal’ to include resources that could potentially be mobilised, in particular through progressive taxation and international assistance. 

  • Prioritising the funding of free, high-quality public education and ensuring that it is truly inclusive. We particularly welcome the UN Special Rapporteur’s reference to the Abidjan Principles on the right to education, and support her reiterated recommendation that they should be used to regulate private actors involved in education. 

  • With the rapid development of the digitalisation of education, ‘understanding the profits-driven agenda of digital technology companies’, is paramount to safeguard against private interest that could be detrimental to the realisation of the right to education for all. We support her assertion during the presentation that artificial intelligence and digitisation require further scrutiny from a human rights perspective. 

We wish to reiterate our continued support for the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education, and for the vital mandate that has helped advance the realisation of the right to education over the past 25 years. 

Read our statement here