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Issues in focus

Mr. Kishore Singh started acting as United Nations Special Rapporteur in August 2010. In his first presentation to the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly, Mr. Kishore Singh outlined some of his key priorities for his 3 years term as Rapporteur. See below a summary description of some key topics to be studied by the Rapporteur in his reports to the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly as well as in country missions.

  • Equality of opportunity and the right to education

Ensuring equality of opportunity in education both in law and in fact is an ongoing challenge for States. Eliminating sex, ethnic and rural-urban disparities, for example, requires a combination of measures that have been tested with different levels of success around the world. The Rapporteur intends to develop a clearer understanding on how human rights instruments can guide efforts to eliminate discrimination and ensure equality of opportunities in the context of education.

  • Update on education in emergency situations

The General Assembly requested the Rapporteur to prepare for its 66th session an update to the 2008 report on the right to education in emergencies. The update should look at the work of existing networks promoting the right to education in emergencies and highlight remaining challenges.

  • Financing education

The recognition of the right to education implies the optimal use of the resources available nationally and internationally. The Rapporteur will pay attention to legal and institutional mechanisms that ensure the provision of adequate resources to the education system. He also intends to look at innovative forms of financing education and assess which obligations may arise from the human rights normative framework to guide State action in these areas.

  • Justiciability of the right to education

Various national and international courts have been active in protecting different dimensions of the right to education. The Rapporteur intends to examine closely measures adopted to strengthen legal frameworks and enforcement mechanisms - judicial and quasi-judicial – protecting the right to education.

  • Ensuring education meets reasonable quality standards

Fulfilling the right to education requires much more then ensuring children are enrolled in schools. Shortage of qualified teachers and learning materials are a crucial reason for the continuing poor standards of education. The Special Rapporteur intends to pay attention to the development and implementation of norms for quality education - both for public and private schools - with a focus on improving the conditions of the teaching profession.

  • Regulating private education

Private, religious or community institutions provide a significant portion of education systems around the world. The Special Rapporteur intends to pay particular attention to standards and mechanisms that, respecting the freedom to establish educational institutions, ensure all non-public educational entities comply with the goals and standards provided by human rights law.

  • School respect for human rights

We must continuously verify if human rights are respected inside the gates of our schools today. Ensuring non-discrimination, participation, freedom of expression, transparency and accountability are all important components of a safe learning environment. The Rapporteur will pay particular attention to the standards and mechanisms that ensure all educational entities comply with the standards provided by human rights law.

  • Freedom from violence and the right to education.
The same way schools play a key role in the prevention of violence, violence can undermine education with both teachers and students suffering its consequences. The Rapporteur intends to address this emerging concern in direct collaboration with the Special Representative of the Secretary General on violence against children.