Yesterday in the UNOG during the 41st Human Rights Council there was held the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education. The aim of the report was to talk about the implementation of the right to education in the context of growth of private actors. OIDEL has participated in the debate with the aim to recall the important role of non-profit non-governamental actors in the realization of the right to education.
Here you have the oral statement we delivered:
On the behalf of 5 NGOs, we thank the Special Rapporteur for preparing her report on “The implementation of the right to education and Sustainable Development Goal 4 in the context of growth of private actors in education”. We acknowledge the importance of considering the phenomenon of privatization from a human rights perspective.
First, we welcome the report’s emphasis on the obligations placed upon states to protect and promote freedom of education, which includes, inter alia, the prior right of parents to choose an institution for their child other than the one provided by public authorities, as stated in article 26.3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Second, we commend the Special Rapporteur for drawing attention to the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 throughout the report; in particular, Goal 17, which encourages public-private partnerships among other forms of funding in the field of education. Former Special Rapporteur Kishore Singh had spoken about the good practice of conciertos económicos in Spain in this regard (A/HRC/29/30). Further discussion on similar innovations that utilize such partnerships as a tool to overcome the challenges of privatization would be most welcome.
Moreover, we believe that a plural educational system must reflect diversity in order to ensure the cultural dimension of the right to education. However, the guarantee of this right depends on non-governmental schools and educators having access to public funding. Problematically, the report claims that the funding of non-governmental non-profit schools must be a time-bound measure. More still, the report has caused uncertainty regarding the obligation on states to fund non-governmental schools internationally by introducing a set of criteria for states to consider when making supportive financial commitments. It is suggested that the contributions should only be given to non-governmental entities where governmental options do not exist.
If such a view is to be taken, then the specific educational needs of minority religious and indigenous groups, who wish to pursue educational options within their specific cultural context, may be ignored. According to these criteria the State must prove that public-private partnerships is “the only effective option to advance the realization of the right to education” in order to fund private instructional educational institutions. We will appreciate clarification from the Special Rapporteur in order to secure support for non-profit educational actors, to prevent discrimination and to ensure that nobody is left behind in attaining the right to education for all.