Religious Liberty and Education: A Case Study of Yeshivas vs. New York – How should the state regulate private and religious schooling?

In 2020, Jason Bedrick, Jay Greene and Matt Lee coedited a book entitled Religious Liberty and Education: A Case Study of Yeshivas vs. New York, published by Rowman & Littlefield. The editors are three esteemed experts in the field of education policy: Jason Bedrick was, at the time, director of policy for EdChoice and an adjunct scholar with the Cato Institute, Jay Greene is Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, and Matt Lee is Distinguished Doctoral Fellow and Senior Research Assistant in the Department of Education Reform, also at the University of Arkansas.

The book looks at public policy on education in America and explores the crucial regulatory role of the state in supervising religious education. In particular, it provides a close examination of the Yeshiva controversy, instance where the state arguably exceeded the boundaries of its regulatory role, to the detriment of parents’ right to choose a school according to their beliefs. The term “Yeshiva” designates Orthodox Jewish private schools, run by Hasidic Jewish sects.

Yeshivas were subject to criticism from a group of activists called Young Advocates for Fair Education (YAFFED). YAFFED accused these schools of not providing an adequate secular education. Subsequently to these allegations, the New York State Education Department enforced stricter requirements that private schools must satisfy to comply with New York’s education law. The implementation of the new guidelines, which are much more difficult to meet in practice, generated a public outcry because this may effectively hinder religious liberty and education.

The Yeshiva controversy reveals the inherent tensions that underpin the relationship between religion and education. Furthermore, it stresses the importance of striking a balance between on the one hand, upholding the right of the parents to choose an education for their children in line with their religious belief and, on the other hand, preserving the right of children to receive an adequate education guaranteed by the state.

The purpose of Religious Liberty and Education: A Case Study of Yeshivas vs. New York is rightly to find an intersection between right to education and religious free exercise. To that end, the book takes into consideration diverse religious perspectives and expert analysis from a broad range of professional backgrounds. In an editorial review, Yuval Levin (editor of National Affairs) insisted that finding such intersection is determinant for the future of our free societies. Hence, Religious Liberty and Education: A Case Study of Yeshivas vs. New York addresses a key societal issue and may be worth the read.

Chloé Vermenouze

If you want to know more, you can buy the book in the following link:

Religious Liberty and Education: A Case Study of Yeshivas vs. New York – le rôle de l’état dans la régulation des écoles privées religieuses

Religious Liberty and Education: A Case Study of Yeshivas vs. New York est un ouvrage publié en 2020 par Rowman & Littlefield Publishers et co-édité par Jason Bedrick, Jay Greene et Matt Lee. Les éditeurs sont tous les trois experts dans le domaine de la politique éducative. En effet, Jason Bedrick, était au moment de la parution du livre, directeur stratégique de EdChoice et chercheur adjoint au Cato Institute. Jay Greene, quant à lui, est professeur émérite et président du département de la réforme éducative à l’Université d’Arkansas. Matt Lee est impliqué dans ce même département, en sa qualité de docteur émérite et adjoint principal à la recherche.

L’ouvrage examine les politiques éducatives américaines et s’intéresse au rôle déterminant joué par l’État dans la réglementation des écoles privées religieuses. En particulier, il traite de la polémique de Yeshiva (en anglais, « Yeshiva controversy »), instance où l’État de New York s’est vu reprocher d’avoir outrepassé les limites de son rôle de réglementation, au détriment du droit des parents de choisir une école conforme à leurs croyances.

Le terme « Yeshiva » désigne les écoles privées orthodoxes juives, gérées par des juifs hassidiques. Ces écoles ont fait l’objet de critiques émanant d’un groupe d’activistes appelés les Jeunes Défenseurs pour une Éducation Juste ou « Young Advocates for Fair Education (YAFFED) ». YAFFED reproche aux écoles privées orthodoxes juives de ne pas offrir une éducation laïque adaptée. Suite à ces allégations, le département de l’éducation de l’État de New York a imposé des critères plus stricts que les écoles privées sont tenues de satisfaire pour se conformer à la loi sur l’éducation de l’État de New York. La mise en place de ces nouvelles directives, beaucoup plus difficiles à suivre en pratique, pourrait entraver la liberté religieuse. De fait, cela a généré une indignation générale.

La « polémique de Yeshiva » met en lumière les tensions inhérentes à la relation entre religion et éducation. De plus, cette polémique révèle l’importance de trouver un équilibre entre d’une part, maintenir le droit des parents de choisir une école pour leurs enfants conformément à leurs croyances religieuses et, d’autre part, préserver le droit de chaque enfant de recevoir une éducation suffisante garantie par l’état.

L’objectif de Religious Liberty and Education: A Case Study of Yeshivas vs. New York est justement de trouver un point de rencontre entre le droit à l’éducation et la liberté religieuse. Dans cette perspective, l’ouvrage prend en compte diverses perspectives religieuses et des analyses d’experts issus de différents secteurs professionnels. Dans une revue, Yuval Levin (éditeur de National Affairs) a insisté sur le fait que trouver ce point de rencontre est capital pour le futur de nos sociétés libres. Ainsi, Religious Liberty and Education: A Case Study of Yeshivas vs. New York répond à un problème de société déterminant et mérite d’être lu.

Chloé Vermenouze

Le livre peut être acheté via le lien suivant :

Farida Shaheed nombrada Relatora Especial sobre el derecho a la educación de la ONU

Al término de su 50ª sesión, el pasado viernes 8 de julio de 2022, el Consejo de Derechos Humanos nombró una nueva Relatora Especial sobre el derecho a la educación, la Sra. Farida Shaheed, sucediendo así a la Sra. Koumbou Boly Barry, en el cargo desde 2016. Como nueva titular del mandato (por una duración máxima de 6 años), Farida Shaheed deberá formular recomendaciones a los gobiernos y otras partes interesadas, con el objetivo de ayudar a una plena realización del derecho de todas las personas, sin discriminación, a acceder a una educación de calidad.

A modo de recordatorio: los relatores especiales del Consejo de Derechos Humanos no son empleados de las Naciones Unidas ni están, por tanto, remunerados.

Fue nombrada tras un proceso de selección que incluye varios pasos. En primer lugar, presentó una solicitud por escrito, examinada por un Grupo Consultivo de 5 representantes de alto nivel, nombrados por cada uno de los 5 grupos regionales, que actúan también a título personal. Este Grupo Consultivo la recomendó al Presidente del Consejo de Derechos
Humanos (actualmente, Federico Villegas) como posible candidata al mandato. Posteriormente, el Presidente del Consejo de Derechos Humanos la ratificó como candidata idónea y, finalmente, el Consejo de Derechos Humanos aprobó su nombramiento.

Nacida en 1953 en Pakistán, Farida Shaheed es licenciada y tiene un máster en sociología por las Universidades de Ginebra (1974) y de Leeds (1975) respectivamente. Desde 1985 trabaja como Directora Ejecutiva del Centro de Recursos para la Mujer Shirkat Gah, una de las organizaciones de derechos de la mujer más destacadas de Pakistán.


Altamente comprometida con la consecución de la igualdad de género, piensa seguir haciendo de ello una prioridad como nueva Relatora Especial sobre el derecho a la educación.

No es esta la primera participación de Farida Shaheed en el sistema de derechos humanos de la ONU. De hecho, ya fue nombrada Relatora Especial en el ámbito de los derechos culturales en 2009, permaneciendo en el cargo hasta 2015. Durante su mandato publicó un informe sobre la escritura y la enseñanza de la historia (2013), demostrando un especial interés y nivel de experiencia en el derecho de los niños a la educación.

Posteriormente participó en la publicación de Freedom Security Privacy – The Future of Childhood on the Digital World (2020), mostrando una relevante preocupación por cómo el
mundo digital está afectando a la vida de los niños. Está decidida a promover los derechos de los grupos marginados, como las minorías religiosas y étnicas, en relación con la educación, para lograr sociedades más democráticas e inclusivas.

OIDEL está deseando participar en su trabajo como nueva Relatora Especial sobre el derecho a la educación.

Farida Shaheed: New Special Rapporteur on the right to education appointed

Upon closing its 50th session this Friday (July 8th, 2022), the Human Rights Council appointed a new Special Rapporteur on the right to education: Farida Shaheed. She will be replacing Koumbou Boly Barry, former Special Rapporteur on the right to education, who had been in office since 2016. As the new mandate holder (for a maximum duration of 6 years), Farida Shaheed will have to provide recommendations to governments and other stakeholders, with the aim of guaranteeing the right of all persons to access quality education without discrimination.

As a reminder, Special Rapporteurs to the Human Rights Council are not United Nations staff members and do not receive a salary. Hence, Farida Shaheed will be serving in her personal capacity only. She was appointed through a selection process involving multiple stages. First, she submitted an online written application which was considered by a Consultative Group (composed of 5 high-level representatives serving also in their personal capacity and nominated by each of the 5 regional groups). This Consultative Group then recommended her as a potential candidate for this mandate to the President of the Human Rights Council (currently, Federico Villegas). Ultimately, the President of the Human Rights Council identified Farida Shaheed as a suitable candidate, and the Human Rights Council subsequently approved this appointment.

Farida Shaheed is a Pakistani sociologist born in 1953. She has a bachelor’s degree as well as a master’s degree in sociology, respectively from the University of Geneva (1974) and Leeds University (1975). She has been working since 1985 as Executive Director of Shirkat Gah Women’s Resource Centre, one of Pakistan’s most prominent women’s rights organizations. Therefore, she has long been engaged in achieving gender equality and plans on continuing to make that a priority, as the New Special Rapporteur on the right to education.

This is not Farida Shaheed’s first involvement with the UN human rights system. In fact, she was already appointed Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights in 2009, remaining in office until 2015. During that time, she published a report on history writing and teaching (2013), thus demonstrating a particular interest and level of expertise in children’s right to education.

Farida Shaheed later participated in the publication of Freedom Security Privacy – The Future of Childhood on the Digital World (2020), showing relevant concern with how the digital world is impacting children’s lives. Finally, she is determined to promote the rights of marginalized groups such as religious and ethnic minorities in relation to education to achieve more democratic inclusive societies. OIDEL is looking forward to engaging with her work as the new Special Rapporteur on the right to education.

Chloé Vermenouze

La Corte Suprema de EEUU publica sentencia histórica sobre la libertad de enseñanza en el caso Carson contra Makin

El 21 de junio de 2022, el Tribunal Supremo de EE.UU. dio un paso más hacia el reconocimiento pleno la libertad de enseñanza. El juez Robert C. J., que redactó la sentencia, se basó en dos decisiones anteriores de la Corte Supremo de EE.UU. a favor de la elección educativa: Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. vs Comer y Espinoza vs el Departamento de Hacienda de Montana.

El caso se planteó en el estado de Maine, donde se llevó a cabo un programa destinado a ayudar a los padres que no podían pagar la matrícula de sus hijos. En 1981, el Estado de Maine añadió un nuevo requisito para que las escuelas formaran parte de este programa, excluyendo de facto a las escuelas confesionales. En la práctica, esto significó que las familias que querían enviar a sus hijos a dichas escuelas, no tenían acceso a la financiación pública de las matrículas, lo que mermó considerablemente la posibilidad de estos padres de elegir una escuela acorde con sus valores y creencias.

Posteriormente, familias interpusieron una demanda contra el Comisionado del Departamento Principal de Educación del Estado de Maine, alegando que el requisito de “no confesionalidad” violaba la Constitución de los Estados Unidos. Tanto el Tribunal de Distrito como el Tribunal de Apelación fallaron a favor del Comisario, haciendo especial hincapié en la separación de la Iglesia y el Estado. Pero el Tribunal Supremo revocó las sentencias de los tribunales inferiores e invalidó el requisito de “no confesionalidad”, declarando que violaba la Primera Enmienda de la Constitución estadounidense relativa a la libertad religiosa. Se entendió que dicha cláusula podía poner trabajar al libre ejercicio de la libertad religiosa al ponerse impedimentos a ciertas familias al momento de escoger una escuela privada confesional.

En efecto, la sentencia de Carson facilita a todos los padres, independientemente de sus ingresos, elegir la educación de sus hijos. Con esta sentencia esta libertad en Estados Unidos es menos dependiente de las rentas de las familias. El programa de ayuda a la matrícula está ahora a disposición de los padres con bajos ingresos que deseen enviar a sus hijos a escuelas religiosas privadas.

Leslie Hiner, Vicepresidenta de Asuntos Jurídicos de EdChoice (organización nacional sin ánimo de lucro que promueve la libertad de enseñanza), destacó la importancia de Carson al afirmar que esta sentencia «acabará por fin con una larga y torturada historia de acciones antiinmigrantes y antirreligiosas que han impedido a los padres elegir una escuela para sus hijos».

Dado la repercusión de la Corte Suprema de EE.UU., esta decisión tiene un impacto, al menos cultural, más allá de las fronteras estadounidenses, por lo que a nivel global el eco de esta sentencia nos acerca hacia un reconocimiento pleno del pluralismo educativo a nivel mundial.  

Chloé Vermenouze

Experiencia ciudadana en Colombia por el Pluralismo Educativo

Con motivo de las elecciones parlamentarias en Colombia, un grupo de ciudadanos, a título personal y como representantes de distintas organizaciones sociales, lideró una iniciativa para poner el Pluralismo Educativo -la Libertad de Educar en Colombia- como uno de los temas claves en la opinión pública y generar consensos sobre su alto valor en una democracia.

Por esta razón, un Comité de líderes, de los cuales algunos hacen parte de OIDEL, preparó un documento que permitiera a los candidatos de los diversos partidos políticos, que así lo desearan, manifestar su apoyo a esta libertad fundamental y que esta se constituyera en uno de los factores para ilustrar al votante para tomar su decisión en las urnas. Fue en el país una primera experiencia de este tipo, circunscrita específicamente al pluralismo educativo, la cual deja valiosos aprendizajes y constituye un precedente interesante que se seguirá robusteciendo en posteriores elecciones y contribuirá en diversos espacios de deliberación cívica y política.

Así nació el texto del “Compromiso por el pleno desarrollo del Derecho a la Educación, la Libertad para Educar, la Autonomía Escolar y el Pluralismo Educativo en Colombia”, que fue firmado por varios candidatos de diferentes partidos y movimientos políticos. Un documento de una sola página que, además de fundamentarse en la Declaración Universal de Derechos Humanos, y el Pacto Internacional de Derechos Civiles y Políticos, busca comprometer a los Senadores y Representantes a la Cámara, para defender, potenciar y desarrollar legalmente la Constitución Política de Colombia -acorde a las más exitosas experiencias internacionales- para que todos los padres de familia gocen efectivamente del derecho a “escoger el tipo de educación para sus hijos menores” y el Estado garantice en la práctica “las libertades de enseñanza, aprendizaje, investigación y cátedra”, definidas en la Carta Magna de este país latinoamericano y enunciadas en su legislación nacional.

Como algunos recordarán, el tema del derecho de los padres a educar a sus hijos se hizo mucho más visible en Colombia desde el año 2016, cuando unas directrices de la Ministra de Educación del Gobierno de ese entonces afectaba directamente la libertad de las familias y la autonomía escolar de las instituciones educativas. Disposiciones gubernamentales que ocasionaron como respuesta unas exitosas y masivas marchas ciudadanas sin precedentes, que causaron el freno de esas iniciativas estatales, así como la posterior renuncia de la Ministra. Por lo tanto, en Colombia se declaró el 10 de Agosto como el Día Nacional de la Libertad para Educar y se conmemora cada año con múltiples iniciativas ciudadanas.

La Red Familia Colombia, el Comité 10A, el Movimiento Nacional por la Familia, el Foro Nacional de la Familia y la Red Un Paso al Frente continuarán generando reflexión en Colombia e impulsando el objetivo de lograr la garantía plena del derecho a la educación y la libertad para educar en Colombia.

Álvaro José Cifuentes

Resumen – Informe UNESCO de Seguimiento de la Educación en el Mundo 2021/2

Los actores no estatales en la educación: ¿Quién elige? ¿Quién pierde?

Creado en 2002, el “Informe Resumen – Informe de Seguimiento de la Educación en el Mundo” es un informe con independencia editorial, albergado y publicado por la UNESCO. Este año el informe se focaliza en la Educación no-estatal y no da unos mensajes clave que permite una mejor comprensión del papel de los actores no estatales. Aquí te adjuntamos 10 ideas clave:

  • En todos los sectores y partes de la educación hay actores no gubernamentales implicados, y es difícil hacer una distinción nítida. Asimismo, el informe advierte que es imposible distinguir nítidamente el alcance de la “privatización”.
  • La mayoría de la ciudadanía apoya la educación pública. La naturaleza y el arraigo de las escuelas no gubernamentales es muy diverso de un país a otro. Normalmente, cuanta más desigualdad hay en un país, más apoyo hay a la escuela pública.
  • El apoyo a la educación pública se ha erosionado en países de renta baja y media. En parte debido a que el crecimiento de la educación privada ha sido una constante en los últimos diez años. El informe señala, igualmente, que el fenómeno de la privatización es un síntoma, no una causa, de la percepción de muchos padres sobre la mala calidad de ciertas escuelas públicas.
  • La educación pública no es gratuita. Esta falta de gratuidad puede deberse a cuotas suplementarias, a los costes de los libros, a una formación que a veces hay que completar con cursos adicionales. El informe advierte que los estados se deben de focalizar en que la educación sea gratuita de los 4 a los 18. Se explicita en este punto que la financiación pública para garantizar la gratuidad no debe implicar provisión estatal siempre y cuando la equidad sea garantizada, y señala Finlandia y Holanda como buenas prácticas.
  • La educación pública a menudo no es inclusiva. Esto se debe a la sectorización por barrios y por la inversión desigual a estas escuelas. Asimismo, en relación a los niños con desventajas de distintas naturalezas, el informe advierte que se deben invertir fondos extras.
  • La educación privada no sirve mejor a los pobres, y no garantiza una educación de mejor calidad. Según este informe, los principales argumentos a favor de la educación no gubernamental se sustentan en la necesidad de completar las lagunas del estado, o en la necesidad de que ciertos grupos tengan una educación adaptada a sus creencias y principios.
  • Los marcos regulatorios, de rendición de cuentas y control suelen ser escasos en los sitios donde más se requieren. En este sentido, advierte que la regulación no siempre permite solucionar los problemas, y que los actores más poderosos saben cómo saltarse estas normas.
  • Los actores no estatales son especialmente presentes en las actividades de guardería y en las formaciones de preparación a trabajos específicos (job-specific) y formaciones no relativas al mundo laboral. El informe se muestra especialmente preocupado por el alto crecimiento en el crecimiento en la formación fuera de la escuela con profesores y tutores privados. Este hecho puede provocar nuevas desigualdades educativas.
  • Los gobiernos deben concebir todas las instituciones educativas, estudiantes y profesores como parte de un mismo sistema. El informe señala que escuelas no gubernamentales, así como los padres, deben verse como aliados y no como enemigos. En este sentido, el estado debe establecer criterios de calidad iguales para los actores estatales y no estatales.

Ignasi Grau

New report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to education on migrants

The Special Rapporteur on the right to education, Koumbou Boly Barry, identifies two key statements in the latest report on migrants’ right to education as a cultural right: the challenges that migrants face when exercising their rights, and the important link between education and culture.

            Firstly, migrants face endless challenges when exercising their right to education. This has affected migrants, minorities and the marginalised population because they do not have the resources to access quality education, which also conditions their identity as migrants. In order to avoid an increase of inequalities and promote more inclusive education, Dr. Boly Barry suggests following the 4As: availability, acceptability, accessibility and adaptability.

            The last two As are the most prominent in this report because it aims to make education more accessible and adaptable for migrants to enjoy their rights. The link between culture and education is crucial to understanding how one works for the other and vice-versa. It is their cultural right to obtain access to quality education since they both foster knowledge and development in the long run.

            The universality of these two rights emphasize the goal to «ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” (fourth Sustainable Development Goal of the United Nations), including migrants.

Fernanda Barrio

To obtain more information about the report, access the following link: https://undocs.org/A/HRC/47/32

UNESCO’S REPORT: Reimagining our future together:  A new social contract for education

UNESCO recently published a report, which accounted for over a million submissions in its global consultation process. In it, they call for a major transformation of the educational landscape that repairs past injustices and enhances the capacity to act together for a just and sustainable future. It hopes to start a global conversation to forge a new contract between all members of societies around the world. The UNESCO’s report “A new social contract for education” aims to recognize the progress and new challenges that the education landscape is concerned with in the process of shaping peaceful, just, and sustainable futures.

In 1945 with a population of 2.4 billion, 45% had attended school. In 2020 with a population of 8billion, 90% had attended primary, 85% lower secondary and 65% upper secondary. However, the world seems to be at a turning point in which there is widening social and economic inequality, climate change, biodiversity loss, resource use that exceeds planetary boundaries, democratic backsliding, disruptive technological automation, persistent poverty, rising inequality and violence are the hallmarks of our current historical juncture. Education expansion is incomplete and inequitable.

Other issues include exceeding planetary boundaries in terms of material production, consumption, and waste. Climate change can force displacements which can hinder access to education. Moreover, climate change is evidenced to increase gender inequality among the poorest. Additionally, the world’s most educated people are the most accelerating of climate change. For this reason, we need renewed and effective approaches to help students develop the capabilities to adapt and mitigate climate change. A focus on reducing the digital divide is also crucial in considering access to education.

Democratic backsliding and growing polarization are issues that need to be addressed. The breakdowns in civic discourse and growing infringements on the freedom of expression all have great consequences for education. Factors involved range from the rise of populist leaders and the growth of nativism manifesting as nationalism, to the power of social media with its capacity in real-time to disseminate intentionally misleading «fake news» and the manipulation of data. On a positive note, there is increasingly active citizenship mobilization that demands democratic rights and respect for the law which should filter through to future curricula.

To address the issues, the report invites the world to perceive education as a public and common good that needs based on a social contract that needs to be renewed. It hopes to unite around collective issues and provide the knowledge and innovation needed to provide social, economic, and environmental justice as it believes that the choices made today will determine the shared future. Pedagogy should be rooted in cooperation and solidarity, building the capacities of students and teachers to work together in trust to transform the world. Together, teachers and students need to form a community of knowledge-seekers and builders. Pedagogies of solidarity should recognize and redress the systematic exclusions and erasures imposed by racism, sexism, colonialism, and authoritarian regimes around the world. Basic principles are interconnectedness and interdependencies; cooperation and collaboration taught and practiced across levels and ages; solidarity, compassion, ethics, and empathy ingrained in the learning process; and assessment aligned with the aims in a meaningful way for students’ growth and learning

In the new social contract for education, curricula should grow out of the wealth of common knowledge and embrace ecological, intercultural, and interdisciplinary learning that helps students access and produce knowledge while building their capacity to critique and apply it. Curricula must enable re-learning how we are interconnected with a living, damaged planet. The capacity to live in harmony with what is needed for mutual existence can be learned through education. Learning how to empathize, cooperate, address prejudice and bias and navigate conflict are valuable in every society. The new social contract should aim at broadening literacies and creating plurilingual futures because linguistic diversity is a key feature of humanity’s shared knowledge. Moreover, we should enrich numeracy, learn from the humanities, build imagination through arts education, and cultivate scientific inquiry and understanding while applying those skills in the digital world. Curricula must foster capacities for discernment and the sincere investigation of truth that is complex and nuanced. Lastly, education should foster human rights, active citizenship, and democratic participation. The curricula of this new social contract should, therefore, enhance learner’s abilities to access and contribute to the knowledge commons; reorient the place of humans in the world towards solving the ecological crisis; counter the spread of misinformation through scientific, digital, and humanistic literacies; and foster human rights and democratic participation as key building blocks for learning that transform people and the world.

Teachers must be at the center and their profession revalued and reimagined as a collective endeavor to spark new knowledge to bring about educational and social transformation. Teaching demands compassion, competence, knowledge, and ethical resolve. The individual talents and abilities of teachers need to be bolstered by collaboration and support. There can be no reimagination of curricula without the presence of teachers. Teachers, however, remain under-recognized, underappreciated, underpaid, and inadequately supported. Teacher development is a rich and dynamic continuum of learning and experiences that are life-long. Principles should provide for effective collaboration and teamwork as characteristics of the work of teachers; production of knowledge, reflection, and research as integral to teaching; support for the autonomy and freedom of teachers; and enable the participation of teachers in public debate and dialogue on the futures of education

Schools should be protected educational sites because of the inclusion, equity, and individual and collective well-being they support – and reimagined to better promote the transformation of the world towards more just, equitable and sustainable futures. Schools have an irreplaceable role that involves being central components of larger educational ecosystems. They foster social relations, stimulate human interactions, dialogues, and exchange. However, some necessary transformations need to undergo so that they do not serve to entrench inequalities or widen disparities but are platforms for cooperation, care, and change.  For these reasons, the Commission emphasizes the need to protect schools as spaces where students encounter challenges and possibilities not available to them elsewhere; redesign schools guided by a building collective capacity, and model the future by ensuring human rights are accounted for and schools become exemplars of sustainability and carbon neutrality.

The new social contract for education should enjoy and expand enriching educational opportunities that take place throughout life and in different cultural and social spaces. In doing so, states have a key responsibility for ensuring that educational systems are adequately and equitably financed. Decisions about digital technologies should be made in the public sphere and guided by the common good. The best strategy to do so is to ensure democratization of the cyberspace within a robust public sphere. Additionally, education should support the right to participate in cultural life by providing access to cultural resources that shape identities and expand worldviews. The principles to keep in mind include meaningful and quality educational opportunities at all times of life; healthy educational ecosystems that connect natural, build and virtual sites of learning; ensuring government capacity for the public financing and regulation of education; and broadening the right to education to include aspects such as to the information, culture, and science.

To catalyze a new social contract for education, the Commission calls for a worldwide, collaborative research agenda grounded in the right to education throughout life, and welcoming contributions from grassroots associations, educators, institutions, sectors, and a diversity of cultures. Research and innovation must strengthen the capacities of foresight and future literacy.  The Commission calls for a generalized, worldwide, collective research agenda on the futures of education. The knowledge, data, and evidence that is produced for the future of education must be inclusive of diverse sources and types of knowledge. Educational innovation must reflect a wide range of possibilities across diverse contexts and places.

The Commission also calls for a renewed commitment to global collaboration in support of education as a common good, premised on more just and equitable cooperation among state and non-state actors at all levels (local, national and international). Global institutions should play a unique role in orienting our attention to longer-term challenges. Principles for dialogue and action include a call on all educational stakeholders to work together at global and regional levels to generate shared purposes and common solutions to educational challenges; ensure international cooperation that operates from a principle of subsidiarity, supporting and building capacity in local, national, and regional efforts to address challenges. Moreover, a focus on international development financing for low and lower-middle-income countries is needed, as well as common investments in evidence, data, and knowledge as an essential part of effective international cooperation.

The Commission believes that we will change course through millions of individual and collective acts of courage leadership, resistance, creativity, and care that gives special importance to the roles of teachers, universities and higher education institutions, governments, international and civil society organizations, youth, children, researchers, parents, cultural and religious leaders.

Sara Castillo

Link to the report: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000379707

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights

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On Wednesday, March 4, under the framework of the Human Rights Council, the Interactive Dialogue was held with the Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights, Mrs. Karima Bennoune.

The Interactive Dialogue began with the intervention of the Special rapporteur, who emphasized the need to implement measures to provide adequate financial support, visibility, protection and ability to work freely in the cultural sector. She pointed out that the cultural rights defender label cannot be used to undermine human rights protection. She mentioned some examples of positive practices, such as the measures taken to implement the protection of cultural rights defenders in national legislation and policies by including the participation of cultural rights defenders in making rights-related decisions cultural, for example. She also mentioned avenues that can be taken into consideration when the human rights of cultural rights defenders are violated.

Several countries intervened to thank the rapporteur for her great work and highlight the situation in their countries. In the case of Cameroon or Nepal, they highlighted the importance of education for the full realization of cultural rights.

From OIDEL, we did an Oral Statement recalling the importance of the cultural approach on the right to education and therefore, the need to acknowledge the important role of teachers.

First of all, we would like to thank the work carried out by the Special Rapporteur during her years of mandate and thank her for choosing an issue of such importance and relevance as cultural rights defenders.

 Secondly, considering that defenders can be of any gender or age, from any part of the world and from any profession, we would like to highlight the role of teachers. The right to education plays an important role in the realization of cultural rights. As General Comment No. 21 says “The right of every person to participate in cultural life is also intrinsically linked to the right to education” (par.2). In this sense, it is important to recognize the role of teachers who ensure cultural transmission to groups whose culture is excluded from mainstream education, as is the case of certain minorities or indigenous people. We believe that the role of these teachers should be taken into account as human rights defenders, since without their work the intergenerational transmission of certain values and cultural heritage would be impossible.

We encourage the rapporteur to take them into account.

 Thirdly, we would like to highlight what was said by the former Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, who pointed out that defenders working in the field of economic, social and cultural rights – including teachers – They often have more difficulty getting their work accepted as human rights work

 In conclusion, we would like to highlight three recommendations from the reporter’s report.

  1. Adopt cultural rights-based cultural policies that include the work of cultural rights defenders, and protections for them, including strategies and mechanisms for responding to violations, and amend existing cultural policies to ensure these issues are fully covered.
  1. Express support for cultural rights defenders and their work, and encourage non-State actors to do so.
  1. Raise awareness, through human rights education, of the inherent importance of cultural rights.

You can find our Oral Statement at the following link – minute 1:29:54

http://webtv.un.org/search/id-sr-on-cultural-rights-18th-meeting-43rd-regular-session-human-rights-council-/6138316454001/?term=cultural%20right&sort=date#player