Turkey’s education system, despite the country’s legal commitments to provide equitable and non-discriminatory education to all, continues to marginalise many minority communities and perpetuate nationalist principles in the classroom. Discrimination based on Colour, Ethnic Origin, Language, Religion and Belief in Turkey’s Education System, a jointly published report by History Foundation (Tarih Vakfı) and Minority Rights Group International, highlights the effects of this exclusionary system on children from minority communities and their ability to secure adequate access to education.
Despite legislation passed in 2012 to support teaching of minority languages, in practice there are many obstacles due to lack of resources and limited political will. Moreover, education in their mother tongue remains out of reach for many communities. This can have lasting impacts on the learning outcomes of minority children. In addition, compulsory religious education in Sunni Islam from grade four means that some minority members, such as Alevis, are obliged to take the course. Though technically Christian and Jewish children can apply to opt out, the procedure for opting out can itself undermine their human rights. Minority communities are also frequently overlooked or misrepresented in educational materials such as textbooks and curricula, meaning that prejudices and stereotypes about their communities are being recreated among the next generation. Finally, disadvantaged communities such as Afro-Turks and Roma often struggle to secure full educational access.
This report presents an overview of the current state of Turkey’s educational system during 2014 to 2015, drawing on fieldwork by Monitoring Discrimination in Education Network, an alliance of 16 organisations working in Turkey. Besides outlining the relevant legal standards and key rights relating to education access, such as language and pluralism, it also presents a detailed overview of key areas of discrimination and ongoing inequalities faced by minority children. It ends with a series of recommendations, including legal reforms, increased resources for mother tongue learning, revised curricula and improved discrimination monitoring, to support the development of a more inclusive and socially just educational system in Turkey.
Also available in Turkish, here.
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.
This report shows that the Philippines is neglecting its obligation to guarantee free public education for all. Since 2009 the government’s allocation of funds to private school chains has increased to more than PHP 31 Billion, nearly $700 million USD, which Riep points out could have paid for 60 thousand more classrooms and accommodated roughly 3 million students.
The report reveals how for-profit schools are using the education system, with the aid of public money, to produce a generation of young people programmed to work as “semi-skilled... cheap labour” for a plethora of corporations in the Philippines. At the same time, low-fee, for-profit schools are employing untrained teachers for low wages at the cost of quality education.
The main findings of the report are:
- Complicity and failure on the part of Filipino government to fulfil its obligations to provide quality free education for its citizens - this on the heels of the adoption of the SDGs and the FFA.
- It also reveals failure on the development, implementation and enforcement of legislative requirements that go to for-profit schooling - noting that APEC receives directly and indirectly government/tax payer funding.
- The report further highlights failure on enforcing a social contract / minimum standards regarding qualified teachers, curriculum and facilities. In fact, the government waived legislative requirements vis a vis school facilities.
- What is new here is the state sponsored / subsidised human resource factories directly advancing Ayala’s business interests. This is achieved by reverse engineering the curriculum to produce an army of labour for their businesses e.g. call centres. All in all, the research provides evidence why the profit motive has no place in dictating what is taught, how it’s taught nor how schools are organised.
The conflict has had a brutal impact on education in Yemen; 34% of children in the country have not gone to school since the conflict began in March 2015. As of October 2015 1.8 million children were not in school. In some cases parents and children are deterred from going to school because of fear of airstrikes, while in others, schools have been rendered unusable due to the conflict either because they have been damaged or destroyed. Amnesty International investigated five strikes that took place between August and October 2015 in Hodeidah, Hajjah, and Sana’a governorates, which appear to have directly targeted schools. These strikes killed five and injured at least 14 civilians, including four children. They have severely disrupted the education of the some 6,550 children who regularly attended the schools.
The new SUHAKAM report aims to increase the number of children with learning disabilities receiving inclusive and quality primary education by raising awareness of the challenges they experience in this regard, and identifying the gaps in information about education for these children. It is also designed to help build connections between government agencies and civil society to promote more participatory, transparent and accountable education policy. The document examines challenges to realizing the right to education for children with learning disabilities, including logistical difficulties in accessing learning facilities, inconsistent implementation of screening and assessment processes, the lack of adequate funding for programs, and the lack of adequate support in learning institutions. It also makes recommendations aimed at helping the government effectively improve access to education for this community.
SUHAKAM’s research utilizes the four-step OPERA Framework for uncovering patterns of socio-economic rights deprivation and linking these deprivations to weaknesses in design or implementation of government policies. The analysis builds on a series of workshops in which SUHAKAM’s staff was introduced to OPERA’s tools, including the identification of indicators and benchmarks, gathering primary and secondary data, and analyzing budgets. Researchers at SUHAKAM deployed OPERA to clearly articulate the government’s legal obligations and to examine the current challenges that exist in realizing the right to education for children with learning disabilities. The project was spurred by concerns that a large number of children with learning disabilities appear to be excluded from primary education, while little accurate data is readily available in this regard.
A recurrent theme in the report is the need for the government to gather and make available accurate disaggregated data on children with learning disabilities, along with related budgetary information. The report therefore recommends that the government collect such data and statistics on access to education among children with learning disabilities, at both the primary and secondary levels, and that the collection of this data be systematized and shared among all relevant government agencies.
The report centres on the assessment of the educational attainments of students and the implementation of the right to education. The Special Rapporteur on the right to education underlines the importance of developing and applying national assessment systems which are in compliance with international human right norms, so that education meets the essential objectives assigned to it in human rights conventions. He considers that such a human rights-based, holistic approach is essential for fostering the humanistic mission of education rather than its mere instrumental role, using a narrow scope of assessments linked to mathematical literacy and language skills only. The report also places emphasis on skills development as an integral part of basic education and on the need for innovative assessment modalities of technical and vocational education and training, particularly in developing countries, in response to the rising aspirations of youth, while not losing sight of the human rights perspective.
The report concludes with recommendations to strengthen human rights-based, holistic approaches to national assessments of the educational attainments of students.
The present report focuses on girls’ right to education. In view of the first assessment of the Millennium Development Goals, the Special Rapporteur wished to focus on Goals 2 and 3, on universal primary education and gender equality. The Special Rapporteur addresses the sociocultural context of gender discrimination by defining the concept of patriarchalism, which underpins discriminatory behaviours. He denounces the negative impact on education, and especially on girls’ education, of the persistent consideration of education as being a service rather than a human right and insists on the importance of ensuring not only girls’ access to school but also their completion of the education cycle. The report identifies obstacles to education for girls, such as early marriages and pregnancies, child labour (especially domestic work) and armed conflicts.
The Special Rapporteur draws attention to aggravating factors and highlights the key role of human rights education and its concrete implementation at the classroom level to combat gender discrimination and stereotypes. The report also summarises replies received to the questionnaire sent to different stakeholders to solicit information on the realization of the right to education for girls, extracting major trends from the replies and validating his findings. The report provides a set of recommendations based on the four elements identified as components of the right to education, namely, availability, accessibility, acceptability and adaptability.
In this report submitted to the UN General Assembly , the Special Rapporteur on the right to education examines State responsibility in the face of the explosive growth of private education providers, from a right to education perspective. He emphasizes the need to preserve education as a public good, which must not be reduced to a profit-making business. He also underlines the importance of the principles of non-discrimination and equality of opportunity, as well as social justice and equity. States must develop a regulatory framework for all private providers of education, including sanctions for abusive practices. The Special Rapporteur highlights some additional key issues and concludes with recommendations.
Parallel Report submitted by the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition and the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, with the support of the Africa Network Campaign on Education For All, the Privatisation in Education Research Initiative, the Right to Education Project, the Global Campaign for Education and Education International to to the Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women on the occasion of the consideration of the List of Issues related to the Periodic Reports of Ghana. This report highlights the issue of privatisation in education in Ghana.