This paper highlights key concluding observations adopted between September 2014 and November 2017 by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), the UN Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) regarding the role of private actors in education in Ghana, Chile, Morocco, Uganda, Kenya, Philippines and Brazil. These add to more than 50 other concluding observations previously issued by these committees on the topic.

A human rights analysis of schools reopening in England on 1 June 2020 after their closure due to the Covid-19. An Advisory Note to Independent SAGE.

This brief will primarily be used by Just Fair and other NGOs across the UK to inform their approach to the seventh periodic review of the UK by the CESCR. The first part analyses the concerns repeatedly raised in the UK’s six Concluding Observations from 1980 to 2016 on its implementation of ICESCR’s substantive rights. Secondly, based on a systematic keyword search of three different databases – Ebsco Discovery, UK Westlaw and International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS) – potentially relevant concerns since 2016 are identified and analysed for each of the substantive rights with a view to the UK’s seventh periodic review. In each of these sections, particular attention is given to funding, Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic, and nondiscrimination, when relevant.

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This brief was submitted to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights prior to the 7th Review of the United Kingdom, responding to the pre-sessional Working Group submission. It was submitted in January 2023 and focuses on UK international development cooperation in the area of education. 

This joint statement signed by RTE and 18 CSOs responds to a report published in September 2023 by the International Development Committee (IDC) of the UK House of Commons, entitled ‘Investment for development - The UK’s Strategy towards Development Finance Initiatives. The report’ raises major concerns about the UK’s investments as part of development aid which the signatory organisations working on education share and reiterate. In this joint statement we respond to this report and express our concern about the British International Investment’s (BII) activities and impacts in key sectors responsible for delivering human rights, including education and health.

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In her 2022 Report on the impact of the digitalisation of education on the right to education, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to education clarified that any introduction of digital technologies in education must be framed around the right of every person to public, free, quality education and the commitments of states in this regard both under international human rights law and Sustainable Development Goal 4. This paper affirms that state obligations under the human rights framework must be the starting point for assessing and responding to discussions related to the monitoring of children’s activities and the collection and use of their data in the field of education. Part 2 outlines the international and regional human rights legal framework that governs the relationship between technology and education, providing a baseline upon which states can verify compliance with international human rights law and useful guidance for anyone seeking to understand the impacts of existing and emerging educational products and services. Part 3 then provides a comparative analysis of the regulation of technology and education in ten countries, through an examination of current data protection, education and related legislation, for the purpose of understanding how different countries are paying attention to and addressing key human rights issues with regards to technology in education in practice.

 

Background paper to 2023 UNESCO GEM Report 'Technology in education: a tool on whose terms?'

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