Press release: 17 November 2014
For immediate release
(Geneva, Accra, London) – In a report published last week, the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) expressed its concerns “about the trend towards privatisation of education and the priority given to schooling of boys over girls” in Ghana.
The Committee further recommended that Ghana “intensify efforts to reduce disparities in access to education and in terms of quality of education between urban and rural areas as well as public and private schools”.
The recommendation follows an ongoing advocacy campaign led by the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) and the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR). Both organisations submitted a combined report to the CEDAW committee in early October to highlight the detrimental impacts of the development of private education on the realisation of human rights in Ghana.
“This is a crucial statement which we hope will inform the reform of the education system in Ghana” commented Leslie Tettey, National Coordinator for the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition. “The government must realise that private education is not a solution and focus its efforts on strengthening the public education system instead of promoting private education. Research we are conducting is showing us that privatisation in education is a significant source of inequalities and segregation. As we showed in our report to the CEDAW, education becomes more expensive as a result of privatisation, and girls, in particular the poorest, are the first ones that suffer from increased costs and drop out of the education system”.
“The CEDAW has taken a strong approach by directly recognising that privatisation is harming the realisation of human rights. This statement is in line with our report on Ghana, but also with another report we submitted to the CEDAW in June, which highlights how privatisation harms girls’ right to education” stated Mayra Gomez, Co-executive Director at the GI-ESCR.
The CEDAW committee’s recommendations follow a recent report by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which formally asked the Ghanaian Government to explain itself on the growing privatisation in education in the country and the effect it has on the realisation of the right to education for all.
The recommendation comes at a time when education privatisation is drawing increasing attention and analysis from both the international community and national governments. In a recent report delivered to the UN General Assembly, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, Mr Kishore Singh, expressed his concerns that given the recent dramatic growth in private education it may soon supplant, rather than supplement, public education.
“The CEDAW report is welcome at this critical moment in the debate on the future of education as a public good for all” commented Trine Petersen from the Privatisation in Education Research Initiative (PERI). “We are increasingly concerned that governments are failing in their obligation to deliver quality public education, favouring market-driven education reform despite evidence linking privatisation to in-built human rights concerns.”
Civil society organisations involved in the campaign are now hoping that the Government will take the issues raised by the CEDAW seriously and implement measures diligently. Measures recommended in GNECC and GI-ESCR’s report include the adequate collection of data on the impact of privatisation, the effective enforcement of existing legislation on private schools, the review of policies supporting private education, such as public-private partnership policies in education, and increased support to public education. The full report is available on http://bit.ly/CEDAWPrivatisationGhana.
For further information or comment please contact
Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition: Leslie Tettey, +233 726 30 85 85 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Sylvain Aubry +254 7 88 28 96 34 / email@example.com
Privatisation in Education Research Initiative: Trine Petersen, + 44 7855 683 007/ firstname.lastname@example.org
- The CEDAW is a UN committee of experts designed by States to monitor the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. This Convention was ratified by Ghana in 1986, and protects, amongst other rights, the right to education (article 10).
- A UN Special Rapporteur is an independent expert appointed by the Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme.
- The Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) is a network of civil society organisations, professional groupings, educational/research institutions and other practitioners interested in promoting quality basic education for all. Formed in 1999, the coalition has steadily grown over the years with a current membership of over 200 organisations. See http://gneccgh.org/
- The Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR) is an international non-governmental human rights organisation which seeks to advance the realisation of economic, social and cultural rights throughout the world, tackling the endemic problem of global poverty through a human rights lens. See http://www.globalinitiative-escr.org/
- The Privatisation in Education Research Initiative (PERI) is a global research and networking initiative seeking to animate an accessible and informed public debate on alternative education provision. In particular, it examines the social justice implications of changes in the coordination, financing and governance of education services. See http://www.periglobal.org/