This publication begins with the need to dismantle prevalent misconceptions because they hinder the advancement of education as a human right. Those conceptual obstacles which are particularly widespread are tackled, and their dark sides highlighted. This publication strives to provide food-for-thought because there are reasons for denying that education is a human right and these have to be brought into the open and countered effectively.
This article aims at connecting economics, education and gender in the MDGs, inviting world leaders to reaffirm education as a human right and as a major driver of economic and social development.
According to international law, States have the principal responsibility ‘to ensure the direct provision of the right to education in most circumstances. Although private education is allowed under international law, there are specific conditions and limitations under which private education must operate. While empirical data about the effectiveness of public and private schools is needed to inform the debate on how to achieve quality education, there also needs to be criteria to assess the measures for determining ‘effectiveness’ and to define what models of private education are acceptable.
This paper identifies a set of criteria for assessing the conditions and limitations of private education drawing from human rights standards applicable to African States. It explore criteria that examine the central role of the State, universal free primary education, progressively available secondary and higher education, the aims of education, non-discrimination, and regulation of private education providers. An examination of these standards will provide an initial set of criteria for assessing the role of private education in Africa and a basis for further research.
This background paper, commissioned by the Education Commission to inform the report The Learning Generation: Investing in education for a changing world, aims to clarify the relevant provisions in human rights law that refer to the involvement of non-State actors in education in mixed education systems. Making reference to international human rights law, it analyses three cases studies (Pakistan, Chile, and community schools) selected to represent the wide variety of roles played by non-State providers in different geographical areas.
This document compiles the national laws on private provision of education for most of the countries in the world.
On 7 July 2014, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) held a General Discussion on the Right to Education for Girls and Women, the aim of which is to commence the Committee’s process of elaborating a “General Recommendation on girls’/women’s right to education.”
Thirteen organizations from around the world, included the Right to Education Initiative, presented a written submission to CEDAW on ‘Privatization and its Impact on the Right to Education of Women and Girls,’ highlighting evidence from a range of countries showing that more boys are enrolled in schools than girls, a problem that is exacerbated by the increasing privatization of education. Privatization in many cases deepens gender discrimination in education because already marginalized and vulnerable groups, including women and girls, are more disadvantaged by private provision and are the least able to pay for services.
RTE's background paper for the Global Education Monitoring Report 2017/8: Accountability in education: Meeting our commitments.
The purpose of the paper is to show how a human rights-based approach offers insights and practical solutions to address the accountability deficits found in both education policy decision-making and implementation, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Specifically, the paper argues that a human rights-based approach to accountability can bolster public policy accountability by defining the responsibilities of authorities, ensuring they are answerable for actions regarding those responsibilities, and how they can be subject to forms of enforceable sanctions or remedial action for failures to carry out those responsibilities.
As the national government is the primary duty bearer for the right to education it is important for any report on accountability to start with the responsibilities of government. The paper provides an overview of the right to education legal framework to which States have legally committed, as well existing international and regional accountability mechanisms.
The paper then explores the connections between the 2030 Agenda, the Incheon Declaration, and human rights law. The Incheon Declaration affirms, ‘the vision and political will reflected in numerous international and regional human rights treaties that stipulate the right to education and its interrelation with other human rights” (para. 2). In the Declaration education is framed as both a “public good” and a “fundamental human right” (para. 5). However, whether a rights-based approached is consistent or present in the operationalisation of SDG4 has not been clearly debated. Part of this challenge is the diluted and often, overly simplistic notion of what the right to education entails. The paper seeks to better understand the similarities and differences of these two large global frames for education and includes a matrix that links the normative content of each framework. This matrix shows that the content of each is largely aligned, even if the processes are not. The paper argues that by recasting the content of SDG4 as part of the right to education, the legal obligations owed to that content can be invoked. This renders various elements of SDG4, if the state in question has legally committed to the right to education and incorporated the right to education in their domestic legal orders, amenable to adjudication by competent mechanisms, offering the possibility of legal accountability through legal enforcement.
The second half of the paper explores the prevalence of the right to education in national laws and the conditions necessary for the right to education to be successfully adjudicated at the national level. It provides an overview of how countries have incorporated the right to education in their domestic legal orders, as well as a list of countries where the right to education is justiciable. This is complemented by a series of case studies that draw out the requirements for successful adjudication at the national level.
At the national level the incorporation and implementation of the right to education, as required by international treaties, requires at least three stages. Firstly, countries must translate their international legal commitment into concrete action to ensure the full enjoyment of the right to education. This includes the incorporation of the right to education into the domestic legal order, through the adoption of education laws and policies. Secondly, countries must secure the right to education as a justiciable right. Lastly, the justiciable right to education must be able to be adjudicated fairly through the judicial system. Whilst the first stage is completed at a near universal level by countries, the final two stages, essential for the fulfilment of the right to education, are achieved by significantly fewer countries. Even when justiciability is present, various barriers may be present that hinder the adjudication of the right to education. Understanding how countries move from incorporation to application and implementation is essential to understanding whether the right to education is truly realised in a country. Our analysis shows that legal enforcement, through mechanisms competent to hold duty-bearers legally accountable, has a positive impact on the realisation of the right to education. Furthermore, little is known about how the political, social, and cultural context of a country limits or enables the adjudication of the right to education. This paper examines court cases from countries around the world to identify the conditions that enable the right to education to be realised through adjudication.
This paper was prepared for the 2013 UKFIET International Conference on Education and Development for a discussion on using a rights based approach to setting post 2015 education goals. Education is a human right enshrined in a number of international human rights treaties and integrated at the national level through national constitutions, legislation, and policies. The human rights legal framework enunciates international standards that States must adhere to. Both MDGs and EFAs lack a robust accountability mechanism and are not explicitly linked to international human rights standards. This needs to change, as parallel frameworks should be complementary and mutually reinforcing. However, the Right to Education Initiative has observed a number of potential threats to education rights, such as privatisation, a reductionist approach to learning outcomes, watered down perceptions of equality, austerity measures, lack of accountability on legal guarantees, among others, at these early stages of consultation in the lead up to developing new education goals and targets. This paper explores the implications of some of these threats and how this may impact efforts to improve accountability.
This paper is the Right to Education Initiative’s contribution to the on-going discussions to refine the formulation of the post-2015 education goal and targets and to identify related indicators to measure progress towards them. This paper argues that there is a need to introduce a human rights perspective to the post-2015 agenda and furthermore that right to education indicators can give a fuller account of the progress made by States towards achieving the post-2015 goals. Before proposing specific indicators to measure the post-2015 education goal and targets (VI), the paper underlines the importance of linking the post-2015 education agenda to the right to education (II), and demonstrates how the post-2015 education goal and targets are linked to the content of the right to education (III) and extant State obligations (IV). This paper then reflects on the added value and limitations of applying right to education indicators (V).