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New Sustainable Development Goals: UN expert urges Governments to announce plans on education

GENEVA (28 September 2015) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to education, Kishore Singh, today called on all UN Member States to announce without delay their plans to realize the right to education in line with the new Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aims to end poverty by 2030 and universally promote shared economic prosperity, social development and environmental protection.

Welcoming the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals -the successor to the Millennium Development Goals- in New York on Sunday, he noted that “political commitments made by governments to education goals in future development agenda will remain hollow unless governments take real action to expand educational opportunities and restore public confidence in good quality public education.”

“This is all the more important as education is a key instrument to eradicate poverty, and for achieving any of the new development goals,” the human rights expert stressed.

The Special Raporteur emphasized that achieving free, universal secondary education of good quality, to which international community is committed, cannot happen unless governments’ investment in education is significantly enhanced. “This will require new investments, as well as ensuring existing funds are well spent,” he said.

“These goals expand free, universal education to the secondary level, and call for full equality between boys and girls. These commitments require not just financial support, but bold political actions to address the barriers which have kept many children out of school,” Mr. Singh added.

“But I urge governments to refrain from privatizing education to meet these new goals if the education is not free to students, or if it increases inequality in society,” the expert warned. “The rapid rise of private providers, often unregulated and privileging the wealthy, must be replaced by efforts which reduce inequality and expand opportunities of good quality public education without exclusion.”

“Governments must ensure that education of good quality is available from early childhood until late adulthood, equally to all,” Mr. Singh said, commending the Incheon Declaration made at the World Education Forum last May, which provided a detailed roadmap for nations seeking to improve the state of education.

“We must all work to preserve education as a public good and to foster the humanist mission of education,” the human rights expert underscored.

Mr. Kishore Singh (India), the Special Rapporteur on the right to education since August 2010, is a 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 bodies 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 promote better understanding of this right as an internationally recognized right. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Education/SREducation/Pages/SREducationIndex.aspx

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

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For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts: Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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