GENEVA (12 February 2015) - “Free, quality basic education is a fundamental human right for all, and governments must not delegate this responsibility to the private sector,” today said the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to education, Kishore Singh.
The expert’s call comes after African education authorities discussed, among other issues, the possibility of reducing States’ spending on education by promoting the expansion of private education at the Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Ministerial Conference on Education Post-2015 held in Kigali, Rwanda, this week.
“I am deeply concerned that some governments are actively encouraging the growth of private education in basic education,” Mr. Singh said. “Education is not a privilege of the rich and well-to-do; it is an inalienable right of every child. Provision of basic education free of costs is a core obligation of States.”
“Privatisation in education negatively affects the right to education both as entitlement and as empowerment. Moreover, it depletes public investment in education as an essential public service and can lead to abusive practices,” the expert stressed, recalling his 2014 report* to the UN General Assembly.
“Now more than ever, governments should be expanding public educational opportunities for the marginalised groups, especially children from poor families,” the Special Rapporteur stressed.
Mr. Singh noted that, in the context of the UN Post-2015 Development Agenda, “education deserves to be a high priority, receiving a high degree of public investment in recognition of the fact that it benefits both the individual and society.”
“I call upon governments to stand against the idea of privatising basic education and to strengthen their public systems. Free basic education is the cornerstone of the right to education and must not be undermined through privatisation,” he said.
(*) Check the full report (A/69/402): http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Education/SREducation/Pages/AnnualReports.aspx
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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