The report focuses on the promotion of equality of opportunity in education. Ensuring equality of opportunity in education is an overarching principle that is reflected in core human rights treaties. States have the duty to adopt measures to eradicate discrimination and ensure equal access for all to education. The promotion of equality of opportunity in education both in law and in fact is an ongoing challenge for all States, and one that requires not only the elimination of discriminatory practices, but also the adoption of temporary special measures to bring about equality in fact with regard to education. The report first details core human rights standards provisions which establish the obligation to promote equal opportunities in education. It subsequently describes different sources of inequalities and different types of initiatives to address them. It concludes by formulating recommendations based on human rights standards.

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This report examines public-private partnerships in education, which are inextricably linked to rapidly expanding privatization. The Special Rapporteur highlights their implications for the right to education and for the principles of social justice and equity. Lastly, he offers a set of recommendations with a view to developing an effective regulatory framework, along with implementation strategies for public-private partnerships in education, in keeping with State obligations for the right to education, as laid down in international human rights conventions, and the need to safeguard education as a public good.

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In this report, the Special Rapporteur shows that non-formal education programmes provide flexible, learner-centred means to improve education outcomes. This is particularly relevant for girls and groups in vulnerable situations, including children with disabilities, minorities and rural and impoverished children, who are disproportionately represented among out-ofschool populations. When designed to be available, accessible, acceptable and adaptable, such programmes enable States to fulfil the right to education of learners who are excluded from the formal system. Furthermore, such programmes can promote holistic learning objectives that support cultural and linguistic rights.

Finaly, the Rapporteur calls upon States to recognize non-formal education as a flexible, cost-effective mechanism that can provide quality education and that can help States to meet their obligations in connection with the right to education.

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In the present report, the Special Rapporteur examines how the right to education, and the commitments made under the Sustainable Development Goals, provide guidance for governance in national education systems. She considers how the right to education should be mainstreamed into education governance. Governance in this context can be thought to include the laws, policies, institutions, administrative procedures and practices, monitoring and accountability mechanisms, and judicial procedures that are related to education. A rights-based approach should be adopted to ensure not only that nondiscrimination and equitable access for all are mainstreamed, but also that learners who have been the hardest to reach, including members of vulnerable groups, are prioritized, even if such decisions run counter to the traditional emphasis on efficiency.

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In line with its mandate, the 2020 GEM Report assesses progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) on education and its ten targets, as well as other related education targets in the SDG agenda. The Report also addresses inclusion in education, drawing attention to all those excluded from education, because of background or ability. The Report is motivated by the explicit reference to inclusion in the 2015 Incheon Declaration, and the call to ensure an inclusive and equitable quality education in the formulation of SDG 4, the global goal for education. It reminds us that, no matter what argument may be built to the contrary, we have a moral imperative to ensure every child has a right to an appropriate education of high quality.

The Report also explores the challenges holding us back from achieving this vision and demonstrates concrete policy examples from countries managing to tackle them with success. These include differing understandings of the word inclusion, lack of teacher support, absence of data on those excluded from education, inappropriate infrastructure, persistence of parallel systems and special schools, lack of political will and community support, untargeted finance, uncoordinated governance, multiple but inconsistent laws, and policies that are not being followed through.

This is a background paper prepared for the International Forum on inclusion and equity in education – every learner matters, held in Cali, Colombia in September 2019. Its objectives are to outline the rationale for working on inclusive early childhood care and education (ECCE) for the promotion of inclusion and equity, and to analyse the trends, achievements and challenges concerning inclusive ECCE.

 
 

This paper outlines the rationale for focusing new attention on the educational needs of young children living in fragile conditions is strong: there is a broad body of scientific evidence; the international legal framework of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child asserts that all children have the right to health, education, legal registration, and protection from violence and separation from parents, beginning at birth; and the Sustainable Development Goals for all will be not reached without a focus on the earliest years of life in crisis and conflict situations. It presents the case for increased attention and investment in early childhood in conflict and crisis contexts, with focused attention on early learning and family support.

 

 

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