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.

Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) are increasingly being promoted as the solution to the shortfall in financing needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Economic infrastructure, such as railways, roads, airports and ports, but also key services such as health, education, water and electricity are being delivered through PPPs in both the global north and south.

Although the involvement of the private sector in public service provision is not new, there is currently keen political interest in PPPs as an important way to leverage private finance. Donor governments and financial institutions, such as the World Bank Group (WBG) and other multilateral development banks (MDBs), have set up multiple initiatives to promote changes in national regulatory frameworks to allow for PPPs, as well as to provide advice and finance for PPP projects.

This report gives an in-depth, evidence-based analysis of the impact of 10 PPP projects that have taken place across four continents, in both developed and developing countries. These case studies build on research conducted by civil society experts in recent years and have been written by the people who often work with and around the communities affected by these projects.

Chapter 1, written by Ashina Mtsumi of Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, refers to Liberia Education Advancement Programme (LEAP). In January 2016 the Liberian Ministry of Education announced its intention to outsource its public pre-primary and primary schools to Bridge International Academies (BIA) for a one-year pilot programme. This plan provoked significant public outcry and criticisms from different stakeholders. As a result, the Government of Liberia reviewed the plan, introducing an additional seven private providers selected through a competitive selection process. However, despite these changes, external assessments of its impact have not been good.

 

 

Key resource

Education is a fundamental human right of every woman, man and child. In states’ efforts to meet their commitments to making the right to education a reality for all, most have made impressive progress in recent decades. With new laws and policies that remove fees in basic education, significant progress has been made in advancing free education. This has led to tens of millions of children enrolling for the first time and the number of out of school children and adolescents falling by almost half since 2000. Important steps have also been taken with regard to gender parity and states have made efforts to raise the quality of education through improved teacher policies and a growing emphasis on learning outcomes. 

Despite these efforts, breaches of the right to education persist worldwide, illustrated perhaps most starkly by the fact that 262 million primary and secondary-aged children and youth are still out of school. Girls, persons with disabilities, those from disadvantaged backgrounds or rural areas, indigenous persons, migrants and national minorities are among those who face the worst discrimination, affecting both their right to go to school and their rights within schools.

To respond to the challenges, the Right to Education Initiative (RTE) with UNESCO have developed this handbook to guide action on ensuring full compliance with the right to education. Its objective is not to present the right to education as an abstract, conceptual, or purely legal concept, but rather to be action-oriented. The handbook will also be an important reference for those working towards the achievement of SDG4, by offering guidance on how to leverage legal commitment to the right to education as a strategic way to achieve this goal. 

Open letter to the World Bank in support of development aid going to free, quality public education signed by the Right to Education Initiative, together with 173 civil society organizations, national education coalitions and unions, based in 63 different countries.  

In this case,  ISER successfully petitioned the High Court seeking declarations to the effect that the government policy on public financing of secondary education in Uganda infringes on the rights to; equality and non – discrimination; and quality education as guaranteed under Articles 21; and 30 and 34(2) of the Constitution respectively. The court directed that; government must ensure equity for all children in the design and implementation of education programs; and that government should take its lead position in regulating private involvement in education to ensure adherence to minimum standards – in doing so, it should make good use of the Abidjan Principles on the human rights obligations of states to provide public education and regulate private involvement in education to offer the necessary guidance. ISER successfully petitioned the High Court seeking declarations to the effect that the government policy on public financing of secondary education in Uganda infringes on the rights to; equality and non – discrimination; and quality education as guaranteed under Articles 21; and 30 and 34(2) of the Constitution respectively. The court directed that; government must ensure equity for all children in the design and implementation of education programs; and that government should take its lead position in regulating private involvement in education to ensure adherence to minimum standards – in doing so, it should make good use of the Abidjan Principles on the human rights obligations of states to provide public education and regulate private involvement in education to offer the necessary guidance. 

Key resource

France’s investment in the education multinational Bridge International Academies (BIA) has raised serious concerns regarding the extraterritorial obligations (ETOs) of France, in relation to the rights set out in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), particularly, the right to education.

Alternative report submitted in March 2020 by 13 civil society organisations, including the Right to Education Initiative, to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights at the occasion of the review by the independent experts of the Committee of the implemention by France of its human rights obligations, as definied under the ICESCR.

Français

The present report is submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolutions 8/4 and 17/3. It is devoted to the issue of domestic financing of basic education. It details human rights obligations for financing education and provides practical examples of national legal frameworks that ensure domestic financing. The report also contains an update on the situation of education in emergencies, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 64/290. The Special Rapporteur underlines that the attention and funding dedicated to education in emergencies continue to be insufficient and inadequate, and calls for more investment in preventive efforts and for a better protection of education during armed conflict. 
 

Pages