The new Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report by UNESCO, shows the potential for education to propel progress towards all global goals outlined in the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs). It also shows that education needs a major transformation to fulfill that potential and meet the current challenges facing humanity and the planet. There is an urgent need for greater headway in education. On current trends, the world will achieve universal primary education in 2042, universal lower secondary education in 2059 and universal upper secondary education in 2084. This means the world would be half a century late for the 2030 SDG deadline.
The publication is a compilation of practical examples of measures taken by Member States in implementing the provisions of the UNESCO Convention and Recommendation against Discrimination in Education - considered a cornerstone of Education 2030.
The examples are taken from national reports submitted to UNESCO for the Eighth Consultation of Member States on the implementation of these two international instruments.
The compendium seeks to provide an overview of promising measures taken to ensure equality of educational opportunities and non-discrimination – determining factors for the realisation of Sustainable Development Goal 4, while also serving as a tool for information sharing and advocacy in connection with the right to education.
The Education at a Glance OECD Indicators report provides in depth analysis, across a range of indicators, of the state of education in all 35 OECD countries, as well as in a selection of partner countries. The full report is available to view below, and each individual section can also be downloaded as a PDF, here.
In this report, the Special Rapporteur argues that treating economic and social rights as human rights is essential both for efforts to eliminate extreme poverty and to ensure a balanced and credible approach in the field of human rights as a whole. He argues that economic and social rights currently remain marginal in most contexts, thus undermining the principle of the indivisibility of the two sets of rights.
Conventional wisdom celebrates the great strides that have been made in recent years in relation to economic and social rights. At the international level, the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has been adopted, an impressive number of special procedures have been created to focus on these rights and bodies like the Human Rights Council spend much more time than they once did debating these issues. At the national level, economic and social rights proponents celebrate the impressive degree of constitutional recognition of some or most economic and social rights, the growing capacity of courts in many countries to enforce them, the growth of national non-governmental organisations working on economic and social rights and the emergence of a vibrant scholarly literature on the justiciability of those rights.
However, despite important recent progress, the reality is that economic and social rights remain largely invisible in the law and institutions of the great majority of States. In support of this proposition, the Special Rapporteur notes that: many of the States whose Constitutions recognise economic and social rights have not translated that recognition into a human rights-based legislative framework; the increasingly widespread constitutional acceptance of the justiciability of economic and social rights contrasts with the resistance of many of the relevant courts to acting on these rights; many of the States that enjoy the world’s highest living standards have specifically rejected proposals to recognise economic and social rights in legislative or constitutional form; most national-level institutional mechanisms for promoting human rights neglect economic and social rights; and national economic and social rights accountability mechanisms are generally much rarer than mainstream accounts would suggest.
The extent to which economic and social rights remain unacknowledged as human rights is the frequency with which debates about economic and social rights slide imperceptibly and almost naturally into broad discussions of development. But, in fact, development initiatives might not be rights-promoting, or even rights-protecting. In this report, the Special Rapporteur spells out why it matters that economic and social rights be treated as human rights and examines the ways in which this can be done by outlining the recognition, institutionalisation and accountability (RIA) framework that focuses primary attention on ensuring recognition of the rights, institutional support for their promotion and accountability mechanisms for their implementation.
There is no robust evidence that private schools aimed at low-income families provide a better education than public schools in developing countries, according to GCE's new major report on for-profit, privatised education. The report sets out the corrosive consequences – greater inequality and social segregation – of increasing privatisation in education, and casts serious doubt on the ability of for-profit, low-fee private schools to achieve quality education for all.
‘Low-fee’ private schools have been put forward as way to fix the failings of public education systems in several developing countries, with advocates – which include the multinational publishing giant Pearson PLC, billionaires Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, the World Bank Group, and the UK’s Department for International Development - claiming they deliver a quality education, for the poorest families, at a low cost. Private Profit, Public Loss: why the push for low-fee private schools is throwing quality education off track explores these claims and, on examination of a broad spread of evidence, finds such claims wanting. In reality, such schools worsen social inequality by creating an unfair system where the quality of a child’s education is determined by how much their family can afford to pay.
The report argues that governments must stop this dangerous experiment with these for-profit, private schools and instead commit to improving their public education systems. With proper funding, strong policies, and plenty of political will, governments can provide a free, quality education that’s accessible to everyone.
The report finds that these schools:
- Stay low-fee by providing low quality: chronic underfunding of the education sector has led to dismal outcomes, but private schools are also performing poorly. Trained teachers are acknowledged by States as one of the most critical factors in realising quality – but they are being substituted for standardised lessons, often taught by tablet, and by teachers who in the most extreme situations have had only 4 days training.
- Price families in poverty out of classrooms: In Nigeria, the average cost to send two children to a low-fee private school consumes almost 40% of the monthly minimum wage – yet 60% of the population live below the poverty line, earning at most only 72% of minimum wage.
- Put up barriers for girls’ education: When parents in India, Pakistan, and Kenya couldn’t afford to enrol multiple children, evidence shows boys are often picked over girls to go to school.
- Fail to reach children with disabilities: Even if parents of children with disabilities can afford the fees, their children can be discriminated against, or even flatly denied admission, as one study in Nepal found.
The report outlines a path to providing quality education for all children, but warns that there are no quick fixes. Governments should stop subsidising private schools and instead fully fund public schools. This includes well-trained teachers, qualified support staff, and school facilities which are fit for purpose. In addition, public schools must be accountable and transparent to curb corruption and misuse of funds, while private schools must also be held to account and regulated to ensure they are meeting national education standards.
Smarter tax policies can help provide countries with the funds needed for these improvements. The report notes that the IMF estimates that developing countries lose US $200 billion a year due to companies using tax havens. Just 20% of that would be enough the cover the shortfall in funds needed to provide everyone with a quality education.
Donor governments and institutions should support these policies and boost their own levels of aid, which the report says have stagnated and fallen in recent years. The report warns that diverting the funds which do exist to for-profit private sector providers will further erode already weak public systems, and deny another generation of their right to free, quality education.
This study investigates the operations of Bridge International Academies in Uganda where it has quickly expand since February 2015, with an estimated 12,000 fee-paying students. The company’s profit-driven, standardised ‘Academy-in- a-Box’ approach involves the neglect of legal and educational standards established by the Government of Uganda. This includes requirements to employ qualified teachers, observe the national curriculum and standards related to school facilities.
The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights considered the combined fifth and sixth periodic report of the Philippines on the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (E/C.12/PHL/5-6) at its 65th and 66th meetings (E/C.12/2016/SR.65 and 66) held on 28 and 29 September 2016, and adopted the following concluding observations at its 79th meeting, held on 7 October 2016.
Who Will Be Accountable? Human Rights and the Post-2015 Development Agenda explains that embedding accountability into the very DNA of the post-2015 sustainable development architecture will be critical to ensure the new plan ensures political commitments made at the international level actually result in policy changes on the ground. The publication examines accountability gaps that have impeded realisation of global and national development goals thus far. It highlights shortcomings in the accountability of actors within, above and beyond the state, including the responsibilities of wealthier states, international institutions and the private sector to ensure their policies and practices do not undermine human development and the fulfilment of human rights. It also explains how these shortcomings can be overcome in the design of a new set of post-2015 goals by aligning these more closely with international human rights standards.
Bridge International Academies (BIA) is a large and expanding business that provides for-profit private education in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria and India. With support and investment coming from global edubusiness Pearson, the World Bank, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and high profile actors such as Mark Zuckerberg and the Gates Foundation, the claims that BIA makes regarding its services are impressive, portraying the company as providing a magic bullet solution to educational inequalities and a high quality alternative to insufficient and inadequate government provision (Bridge International Academies, 2016b)1. Focusing on BIA’s operations in Kenya, this study seeks to monitor these claims by uncovering the extent to which they reflect the situation on-the-ground.
Below are the report findings and a five point analysis of what the data collected means from a human rights perspective, with the full report at the bottom of the page.
The 2015 Global Monitoring Report – Education for All 2000-2015: Achievements and Challenges – provides a complete assessment of progress since 2000 towards the target date for reaching the Dakar Framework’s goals.
It takes stock of whether the world achieved the EFA goals and stakeholders upheld their commitments. It explains possible determinants of the pace of progress.
Finally, it identifies key lessons for shaping the post-2015 global education agenda.