Privatisation in education is a growing global trend, particularly in developing countries, however limited attention is paid to its impact on the right to education and specifically the achievement of quality and accessible education for all. A number of organisations and academics are investigating this issue and undertaking research and analysis that is identifying concerns that privatisation in education is creating inequalities in the quality of and access to education, particularly for lower socio-economic and marginalised groups.
Organisations such as the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), the Privatisation in Education Research Initiative (PERI), and regional and national education coalitions have been conducting research and advocacy projects on privatisation, creating a solid body of research and analytical material, identifying this as a key emerging issue across the world, which could have a profound and long-lasting impact on the realization of the right to education in the coming years.
It is against this background that the Global Initiative for Economic Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR) and PERI collaborated to coordinate a two-day meeting in Geneva to facilitate an initial discussion that brought together representatives of national education coalitions, civil society organisations, strategic litigation specialists, human rights experts and academics. The purpose of the workshop was to open space for these actors to reflect on their work, search for areas of commonality and explore whether it is possible to develop a collective approach to research and advocacy in and of privatisation in education and its impact on the right to education.
The intention of the workshop –anticipated to be the first in a series – was to: 1) clarify the meaning of the right to education in the context of privatisation, 2) build capacity on using international human rights mechanisms for local impact, 3) build capacity on using human rights law and indicators for monitoring and reporting on the right to education , 4) discuss potential advocacy plans of action including UN human rights mechanisms for national CSOs, and 5) start a participatory discussion on a set of international human rights standards on privatisation in education.
For a full report on the Workshop see HERE.
In June 2014 the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR), together with the Privatisation in Education Research Initiative (PERI) also held a series of public events in Geneva focusing on privatisation and the human right to education, including a Parallel Event at the Human Rights Council and an Expert Group Meeting. The events were intended to foster discussion and engagement, as well as to raise awareness about this key emerging issue, which is having a profound impact on the realisation of the right to education globally. These events brought together experts, advocates, academics, national education practitioners and international education advocates, both in order to share some of the research and advocacy efforts conducted so far on privatisation in education, as well as to strengthen the analysis of the application of human rights standards to the issue through the involvement of new and varied stakeholders.
For a full report on these public events and key themes and outcomes see HERE.