Education systems in many of the world's poorest countries are experiencing the aftermath of the global economic downturn. The 2010 Education for All Global Monitoring Report, argues that the crisis could create a lost generation of children whose life chances will have been irreparably damaged by a failure to protect their right to education. The Report examines who these children are and why they are being left behind, and looks at concrete solutions for making sure that no children are excluded from schooling.

On the first day of school, children often worry whether they'll make new friends or like their teachers. But in the Dominican Republic, some confront a far graver concern: Will I be turned away because I don't have a birth certificate?

The report, Left Behind: How Statelessness in the Dominican Republic Limits Children's Access to Education, shows that many children born in the Dominican Republic but descended from foreigners, particularly Haitians, are denied an education. For generations, such children were recognized as citizens, but within the last decade, the Dominican government has refused to issue many of them birth certificates, identity cards and other essential documentation, rendering them stateless. The report concludes that the Dominican Republic is failing to comply with its domestic and international human rights obligations, including the human right to education.

The report is the product of months of research, including interviews with dozens of affected children and families, as well as educators, advocates and government officials. Several of the Dominicans of Haitian descent interviewed were prevented from attending primary school, secondary school or university because they could not obtain identity documents. Of those allowed to attend school despite not having birth certificates, many were denied the ability to take national exams required to graduate.

All of this occurs in spite of laws, policies, constitutional provisions and international human rights commitments that are meant to guarantee children's right to education. The report found that administrative barriers, discrimination and confusion about the law has meant that in practice not all children in the Dominican Republic are allowed to go to school, even if they consider themselves Dominicans.

In 2009, India enacted the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, which provides for free and compulsory education to all children aged 6 to 14. However, the evidence presented in this report indicates that despite the 3 year deadline to implement the key provisions of the Act, it has yet to be adequately implemented.

This lack of implementation, enforcement and monitoring particularly affects children from marginalised groups, such as children with disabilities, girls, and Da lits. Children from these groups are excluded and discriminated against, affecting access, participation, retention, achievement, and completion of elementary education.

This report examines the obstacles preventing certain children from attending school and the government’s failure to take the steps necessary to address the problem.

This report consists of three main chapters. The first chapter enumerates all the mechanisms contributing to the development of educational inequalities in the Czech Republic’s education system, which are summarised to provide a context for the focus of this report—the ECEC of Roma children. It highlights the lack of ECEC provision for children under the age of 3 years (in terms of insufficient professional support to young Roma children, including that provided in some circumstances by crèches), problems related to insufficient kindergarten capacity (available child places), and low participation of Roma children in ECEC programs overall. This chapter also deals with the transition from preschool settings to primary education, and the placement of Roma children into schools with reduced curricula. All this has to be understood in the context of a highly diversified education system that “sorts” children into different educational pathways early in life, starting as early as Grade 1 in primary school. Another problem discussed is the large proportion of postponed primary school enrolments. The first chapter is based on statistical data and data from the Czech Longitudinal Study of Education, which studied educational transition in compulsory education. These are complemented by available data from other available research surveys.

The second chapter analyses the level of inequalities in ECEC provision for Roma children. It is the main analytic chapter of the report and describes the participation of Roma children in kindergartens and how this impacts their successful enrolment into primary education. The analysis is based on: Czech data collected for the 2011 regional Roma survey organised by the UNDP, World Bank, and European Commission (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights and UNDP 2012); research into the educational pathways of Roma pupils (Gabal Analysis and Consulting 2010); group interviews with Roma parents (Nová škola 2011); and regional situational analyses produced by the Office of the Czech Government Demographic Information Center (2011).

In comparison with their non-Roma peers, Roma children’s enrolment in preschool education is markedly less frequent. The key causal issues identified by the analysis include economic reasons, the different parental priorities of socially excluded families in comparison with other more affluent groups in society, and direct and indirect discriminatory barriers in preschool institutions. However, as stated above, it is well known that the beneficial influence of preschool education is more significant for marginalised and materially deprived Roma children than for their non-Roma counterparts.

The third chapter draws conclusions and lists a number of key recommendations, some with addenda.

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.

Violence in schools and other educational settings is a worldwide problem. Students who are perceived not to conform to prevailing sexual and gender norms, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), are more vulnerable. Violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, also referred to as homophobic and transphobic violence, is a form of school-related gender-based violence. It includes physical, sexual and psychological violence and bullying and, like other forms of school-related violence, can occur in classes, playgrounds, toilets and changing rooms, on the way to and from school and online. This report presents the findings of a global review, commissioned by UNESCO, of homophobic and transphobic violence in schools and education sector responses.

In this report, the Secretary-General outlines the linkages between economic, social and cultural rights and the Sustainable Development Goals framework as two converging agendas, and highlights equality, non-discrimination and accountability principles as well as a human rights-based approach to data as key to ensuring the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in a manner consistent with the obligations of States under international law. The report identifies key challenges and opportunities for the human rights-based implementation of the 2030 Agenda and contributions of international human rights mechanisms, and concludes with recommendations to that end.

Based upon Plan International's dataset of 1.4 million sponsored children, the report compares sponsored children with a disability to those without, from 30 countries worldwide. The report, produced in collaboration with London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, reveals that children with disabilities in developing countries are being held back from an education. The findings will help Plan International - and other researchers and organisations - to improve responses to the needs of children with disabilities, particularly their health and education.

Turkey’s Roma population and similar social groups such as Abdal, totalling between two million and five million, have long been one of the country’s most marginalised communities. From hate speech and the threat of targeted violence to extreme poverty and exclusion, they suffer discrimination in almost every area of their lives. This situation has been sustained not only by deep-rooted social prejudice, but also by the indifference and even complicity of authorities to address their second-class status in Turkey. Indeed, until relatively recently there was little official acknowledgement of the profound social and economic inequalities affecting them, let alone a concerted effort to improve their conditions.

The limited availability of studies or concrete data on targeted attacks, inadequate essential public services and other challenges have contributed to the continued invisibility of Roma and other similar groups in public life. This has been accompanied by a steady attrition of their ability to maintain their distinct culture and identity: for example, there has been a drastic decline in the number of people who can speak the traditional languages of the Roma community such as Romani, Lomavren, Domari and Abdoltili, and those languages and dialects are under threat of disappearing. This report, drawing on extensive fieldwork with Roma communities as well as desk-based research, seeks to raise awareness among policy makers, journalists and the general public by highlighting the particular barriers they continue to face in two key areas – housing and education. While Turkey is a signatory to all of the relevant international conventions guaranteeing all citizens equal access to housing and education – protections affirmed in its national legislation and constitutions – in practice legal shortcomings and implementation failures have meant that for many these rights remain out of reach.  

Poverty and discrimination from some landlords has meant that the barriers to securing adequate housing are especially high for Roma, resulting in high rates of homelessness or their concentration in settlements with limited public services and insecure tenure. This has led to the persistence of so-called ‘Roma neighbourhoods’ that are largely segregated from surrounding areas and mainstream society. Besides being characterised by limited access to water, sanitation and other needs, these communities are especially vulnerable to forcible displacement to accommodate urban ‘regeneration’ and other projects: as a result, Roma may be forced to migrate repeatedly. These issues are especially acute for certain groups, such as women and refugees, who may be subject to multiple forms of discrimination. Their discrimination is further entrenched by their continued exclusion from education. Despite the right to education being guaranteed for all, in practice a range of social and economic hurdles, from physical isolation and financial constraints to the absence of accessible and culturally appropriate schooling, have left many Roma children isolated – a situation that perpetuates low attendance, poor attainment and the emergence in some areas of almost exclusively Roma schools that reinforce their segregation.

These issues are exacerbated by other forms of discrimination, such as harassment from staff and pupils, and curricula that ignore Roma in their materials. As a result, instead of effectively addressing the drivers of exclusion, Turkey’s education system is perpetuating inequalities by failing to provide Roma with accessible, affordable education.  Importantly, there has been some progress in recent years, with the government coming up with a number of policies that officially recognise the challenges these communities experience. Despite the limitations and ambiguities of those policies, they have been embraced by the NGOs established by Roma and similar social groups. However, only time will tell if the current strategies will produce positive results. This report seeks to highlight the current rights gaps and support the development of more inclusive social policies.

The second edition of the Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report) presents the latest evidence on global progress towards the education targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

With hundreds of millions of people still not going to school, and many not achieving minimum skills at school, it is clear education systems are off track to achieve global goals. The marginalised currently bear the most consequences but also stand to benefit the most if policy-makers pay sufficient attention to their needs. Faced with these challenges, along with tight budgets and increased emphasis on results-oriented value for money, countries are searching for solutions. Increased accountability often tops the list.

The 2017/8 GEM Report shows the entire array of approaches to accountability in education. It ranges from countries unused to the concept, where violations of the right to education go unchallenged, to countries where accountability has become an end in itself instead of a means to inclusive, equitable and high-quality education and lifelong learning for all.

The report emphasises that education is a shared responsibility. While governments have primary responsibility, all actors – schools, teachers, parents, students, international organizations, private sector providers, civil society and the media – have a role in improving education systems. The report emphasises the importance of transparency and availability of information but urges caution in how data are used. It makes the case for avoiding accountability systems with a disproportionate focus on narrowly defined results and punitive sanctions. In an era of multiple accountability tools, the report provides clear evidence on those that are working and those that are not.

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