In this report, submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution 48/141, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights considers the protection of economic, social and cultural rights in situations of armed conflict, with a specific focus on the rights to health and to education.

The Special Rapporteur examines the right to education in the digital age and, specifically, how to uphold the norms and principles that underlie the right to education while embracing digital technologies, which are revolutionising teaching and learning processes and transforming the landscape of higher education. He considers issues related to marginalisation and exclusion, as well as the quality of education, especially human values in education. Concerns are expressed about the digital divide and about how it affects fundamental principles, such as equality of opportunity. The Special Rapporteur sets out policy and legal responses to address these issues and challenges, bearing in mind the normative framework of the right to education as established in international human rights treaties. He also highlights the repercussions of digital technologies on public investment in education and on the quality of education, especially in respect of preserving human values in education, and underlines the need to safeguard education as a public good. Finally, he offers a set of recommendations for ensuring that the implementation of digital technology in education is in keeping with State obligations on the right to education as laid down in international human rights conventions.

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Across the world, more than 120 million children and adolescents are absent from class.

In recent years, many countries have been part of international and regional political drives to ensure that all children have access and complete education in the countries that lag behind the most. Such efforts have had some success, with tens of millions entering primary education, and more girls staying in school and pursuing secondary education, improving gender parity in more countries.

Yet despite these and other advances, warnings sounded by the UN and global policy experts indicate that the global progress in education has “left behind” millions of children and young people. More children and adolescents are at risk of dropping out of school, and many are at school facing unsuitable learning conditions.

Behind this failure stands governments, which bear responsibility for ensuring that no child or young person is without education, and lack of focus—both in implementation and in content—in development agendas on governments’ human rights obligations.

This has resulted in an “education deficit”—a shortfall between the educational reality that children experience around the world and what governments have promised and committed to through human rights treaties. This not only undermines the fundamental human right to education, but has real and dire consequences for global development, and entire generations of children.

The benefits of education to both children and broader society could not be clearer. Education can break generational cycles of poverty by enabling children to gain the life skills and knowledge needed to cope with today’s challenges. Education is strongly linked to concrete improvements in health and nutrition, improving children’s very chances for survival. Education empowers children to be full and active participants in society, able to exercise their rights and engage in civil and political life. Education is also a powerful protection factor: children who are in school are less likely to come into conflict with the law and much less vulnerable to rampant forms of child exploitation, including child labor, trafficking, and recruitment into armed groups and forces.

196 member states have adopted legal obligations towards all children in their territories, and countries that ratify specific international and regional conventions are legally bound to protect the right to education and to follow detailed parameters as to how to do so.

Based on research in over 40 countries, this report looks at the key barriers that threaten the right to education today, and the key ways that governments are failing to deliver on core aspects of their right to education obligations. These include ensuring that primary school education is free and compulsory and that secondary education is progressively free and accessible to all children; reducing costs related to education, such as transport; ensuring that schools are free of discrimination, including based on gender, race, and disability; and ensuring schools are free of violence and sexual abuse. It also looks at the main violations and abuses keeping children out of school, including those that occur in global crises, armed conflict—particularly when education is attacked by armed groups,—and forced displacement.

This report finds that many of the same governments that have signed on to development agendas and form part of global partnerships—including among the 16 champion countries that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed in September 2012 to “lead by example”to promote education globally—are those that are also failing many of their school-aged children.

In the new era of sustainable development, where all countries are expected to implement a universal development agenda, all governments need to be held to account for ongoing human rights abuses affecting a significant part of their young population, as well as a failure to provide adequate or timely protections to which children are entitled under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

This important new report documents the major obstacles that prevent Syrian refugee children from getting formal education in Turkey, which is hosting more than 2 million refugees from the Syrian conflict that began in 2011. The government adopted an important policy in September 2014 that formally grants Syrian children access to public schools, but key obstacles including a language barrier, social integration issues, economic hardship, and lack of information about the policy, remain one year later.

Read more about the report, here.

This report looks at the challenges facing two countries on the front-line of the global refugee crisis – Lebanon and Turkey. Between them, these countries have some 732,000 children out of school aged 5-17. In both cases the level of need vastly outstrips the resources available. There are not enough teachers, schools or classrooms – and the education infrastructure that does exist is deteriorating. Refugee children face additional challenges in adapting to a new curriculum. Compounding these challenges, refugee poverty, insecurity and vulnerability create barriers of their own. While this report focuses on financing to deliver on the London Conference pledge, host governments also need to strengthen the reforms needed to deliver education to vulnerable refugees.

“Today, Syrian refugee children in Jordan face a bleak educational present, and an uncertain future. Close to one in three—226,000 out of 660,000—Syrians registered with the United Nations refugee agency in Jordan are school-aged children between 5-17 years old. Of these, more than one-third (over 80,000) did not receive a formal education last year.”

This report looks at the needs of Syrian refugee children in Jordan specifically around access to education, what success the Jordanian government has already had in getting Syrian child refugees into education, but also the considerable work still needs to meet the Jordanian government's ambitious target of increading enrollment amongst those children currently still without access to education.  The report also looks at what role donor financial aid is playing in helping to alleviate the situation.

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.

This paper highlights key concluding observations adopted between 2014 and 2016 by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), and the UN Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) regarding the role of private actors in education in Brazil, Chile, Ghana, Haiti, Kenya, Morocco, Uganda and Zimbabwe. These add to more than 50 other concluding observations previously issued by these committees on the topic.

This report assesses the PPP policy in education in Uganda and its compliance with the human rights standards as well as the right to education for all children. In addition, the report examines issues of regulation and supervision of PPP schools, equitable geographical access to education, access by vulnerable groups, financing and costeffectiveness, as well as quality of education and value for money.

This report assesses the PPP policy in education in Uganda and its compliance with the human rights standards as well as the right to education for all children. In addition, the report examines issues of regulation and supervision of PPP schools, equitable geographical access to education, access by vulnerable groups, financing and costeffectiveness, as well as quality of education and value for money.

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