Report on Sustainable Development Goal 4 and the growth of private actors in education

10 April 2019
Special Rapporteur on the right to education
To the Human Rights Council’s 41st session


In the report, the Special Rapporteur examines the implementation of the right to education and Sustainable Development Goal 4 in the context of the growth of private actors in education.

She outlines the Abidjan Principles on the human rights obligations of States: to provide public education and to regulate private involvement in education. She recommends full implementation of these principles.

She recalls that international human rights law requires States to provide free, quality, public education. Depending on their nature and aims, private actors may contribute to the realization of the right to education and offer educational alternatives, thus enhancing, for example, respect for cultural diversity. However, the persistent underfunding of public education and the rapid and unregulated growth of private, in particular commercial, actors in education, threaten the implementation of the right to education for all and Sustainable Development Goal 4.

The report contains observations and recommendations on the obligation of States to fund and provide public education, with some concrete suggestions and solutions. It draws on the Abidjan Principles, in particular with regard to the obligation to regulate private actors involved in education, public-private partnerships and the role of donors and civil society.

Learn more about the Abidjan Principles and the issue of the privatisation of education.