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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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 decision, the Supreme Court of India interpreted the right to education to include the right to the provision of a safe environment in schools, and imposed an obligation on schools to comply with certain fire safety precautions which were detailed in the judgment.

More than 40 percent of Tanzania’s adolescents are left out of quality lower-secondary education despite the government’s positive decision to make lower-secondary education free.

This report examines obstacles, including some rooted in outmoded government policies, that prevent more than 1.5 million adolescents from attending secondary school and cause many students to drop out because of poor quality education. The problems include a lack of secondary schools in rural areas, an exam that limits access to secondary school, and a discriminatory government policy to expel pregnant or married girls.

For a summary, see here.

For an esay to read version, in English, see here.

The ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers was adopted on 5 October 1966 at a special intergovernmental conference convened by UNESCO in Paris in cooperation with the ILO. It sets forth the rights and responsibilities of teachers, and international standards for their initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment, teaching and learning conditions. It also contains many recommendations for teachers’ participation in educational decisions through consultation and negotiation with educational authorities. Since its adoption, the Recommendation has been considered an important set of guidelines to promote teachers’ status in the interest of quality education.

The UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in 1997, following years of preparatory work between UNESCO and the ILO. This standard is a set of recommended practices covering all higher education teaching personnel. It is designed to complement the 1966 Recommendation, and is promoted and its implementation monitored by UNESCO in cooperation with the ILO, notably through the Joint ILO/ UNESCO Committee of Experts on the Application of the Recommendations concerning Teaching Personnel (CEART).

‘This study is about the impacts of strategic litigation on equal access to quality education in Brazil, India, and South Africa. It is intended to look beyond strategic litigation solely as a means to ensure equal access to education, and to examine the use and effectiveness of strategic litigation in advancing education quality once access is won. This study is the second in a series of four thematic studies undertaken by the Open Society Justice Initiative and independent experts in 2014-2016 to interrogate the impacts of strategic litigation as a catalyst for social change.’

This High Court case deals with the constitutional obligation of the South African government to promote basic education by securing timely appointment and funding of educators at all public schools.  

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.

The ABC of Gender Equality in Education: Aptitude, Behaviour, Confidence tries to determine why 15-year-old boys are more likely than girls, on average, to fail to attain a baseline level of proficiency in reading, mathematics and science, and why high-performing 15-year-old girls still underachieve in areas such as mathematics, science and problem solving when compared to highperforming boys. In 2012, 14% of boys and 9% of girls surveyed by the PISA exercise did not attain the PISA baseline level of proficiency in any of the three core subjects. On the other hand, in the top-performing economies in PISA, such as Shanghai-China, Singapore, Hong Kong-China and Chinese Taipei, girls perform on a par with their male classmates in mathematics and attain higher scores in mathematics than boys in most other countries and economies around the world.

As the evidence in the report makes clear, gender disparities in performance do not stem from innate differences in aptitude, but rather from students’ attitudes towards learning and their behaviour in school, from how they choose to spend their leisure time, and from the confidence they have–or do not have–in their own abilities as students. In fact, the report shows that the gender gap in literacy proficiency narrows considerably–and even disappears in some countries–among young men and women in their late teens and 20s. Giving boys and girls an equal opportunity to realise their potential demands the involvement of parents, who can encourage their sons and daughters to read; teachers, who can encourage more independent problem solving among their students; and students themselves, who can spend a few more of their after-school hours 'unplugged'.

This comprehensive report presents the results of the Ninth Consultation of UNESCO’s Member States on the implementation of UNESCO’s Convention and Recommendation against Discrimination in Education. Launched in 2016, this consultation involved 67 UNESCO Member States. The information contained in the national reports generally provides an extremely valuable resource for research and analysis, experience-and knowledge-sharing, and ultimately advocacy.

An interesting finding of the report is that countries seized on this periodic reporting exercise as a valuable opportunity to outline the challenges they face and to take stock of progress and reflect on how to overcome difficulties. The report highlights that the challenges are often crosscutting and intersectoral, making them more difficult to address.

In particular, the report points out serious challenges with regard to equity and inclusion. Socio-economic factors, poverty, ethnicity, location and gender account for significant patterns of discrimination and exclusion in education. Persistent harmful practices and attitudes stand in the way of many children and adults and deprive them of meaningful educational opportunities.

Difficulties relating to the quality of education were equally widely shared by countries, along with budgetary constraints and sometimes lack of governance, coordination and monitoring capacities.

The report also exemplifies the various measures adopted at the national level to ensure that education is provided to all in a discrimination-free environment. The report notably shares the positive measures reported by countries to guarantee inclusion in education, notably for girls and women, refugees, persons with disabilities and indigenous peoples, which is critical to advance SDG4.

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