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Don’t sideline quality education when preparing children to enjoy the responsibilities of freedom – UN rights expert

GENEVA (17 June 2014) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to education, Kishore Singh, today called on the world’s Governments not to sideline quality education and to ensure that universal human rights values are not forgotten in the rush to provide access to education to every child – boys and girls alike.

“State obligations under the right to education include both access and quality, and we can only ensure high quality education when we take note of student progress with regular assessments throughout the cycle of basic education,” Mr. Singh noted during the presentation of his latest report* to the UN Human Rights Council.

“Students who are pushed forward from grade to grade, without any evaluation of what they have learned, are being failed by their national education system,” the human rights expert warned.

For the Special Rapporteur, these assessments cannot just measure numeracy and literacy. “They must include all aspects of education, including, ‘learning to be, to know, to do, and to live together,’” he said quoting from the 1996 UNESCO Delors Report.

“Human rights must be at the centre of assessment mechanisms, while supporting the United Nations Secretary General’s vision for making global citizenship a part of education,” Mr. Singh highlighted.

The independent expert pointed out that national educational assessment systems are being developed in many countries, and encouraged UN Member states to share their experience to develop human rights-based assessment mechanisms.

“Technical assistance to promote such national human rights-based assessments is vital to ensure all countries are able to benefit from a holistic approach,” he stated.

“I also wish to stress the need for innovative approaches for assessing technical and vocational education and training to better respond to the rising aspirations of youth for employable skills development,” the Special Rapporteur concluded.

(*) Check the Special Rapporteur’s report: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session26/Pages/ListReports.aspx

Kishore Singh is the Special Rapporteur on the right to education since August 2010. He is an Indian professor specialized in international law, who has worked for many years with UNESCO for the promotion of the right to education, and advised a number of international, regional and national entities on right to education issues. Throughout his career, Mr. Singh has supported the development of the right to education in its various dimensions and worked to better understanding this right as an internationally recognized right. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Education/SREducation/Pages/SREducationIndex.aspx

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