The Right to Education Initiative, with the support of international and British organisations as well as teachers' unions have submitted a report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child about the UK's support of the growth of private actors in education through its development aid: questioning its responsibilities as regards its human rights extra-territorial obligations.
The report raises concern about the increased use of British aid money to support for-profit schools, in particular so-called ‘low-fee’ private schools, which are fuelling inequality, creating segregation and undermining the right to education.
The report finds that the UK’s policies in support of private education through its development aid are problematic and that the country could be violating its extra-territorial obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in two regards:
- Firstly, the UK’s support for for-profit, fee-charging private schools that do not reach the poorest is questioned in light of the UK’s obligations to fulfil the right to education, including the right to free quality education without discrimination;
- Secondly, the UK’s responsibility is questioned in particular in relation to its own impact assessments that have been conducted on its policies of providing support to private schools and which have concluded that projects supporting private education providers are less likely to target the most marginalised, and that more research needs to be carried out on the impact of private schools in developing countries on, among other elements, the efficiency of “low-fee” private schools.