UN rights expert: African states must provide public education

UN rights expert: African states must provide public education

[JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education [official website] Kishore Singh [official profile] expressed concern [UN report, PDF] on Thursday about the basic human right to education after African education authorities discussed the possibility of delegating basic education to the private sector in an effort to reduce state spending on education. “Free, quality basic education is a fundamental human right for all, and governments must not delegate this responsibility to the private sector,” Singh stated in the report. “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.” The report indicates that privatization of education increases marginalization and exclusion in education, creating societal inequalities. The report also states that privatization of education exacerbates discrimination against girls because families are more inclined to educate boys over girls. Singh is calling for states to adhere to their responsibility to provide basic education.

The right to education has been a contentious issue in countries around the globe. In the last six months the UN has gained new found attention with its strong efforts to perpetuate the education of males on female equality and human rights [JURIST op-ed]. Earlier this month the UN reported that girls have been attacked [JURIST report] in at least 70 countries for seeking education. This past September UN Women officially launched the HeForShe campaign with actress and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson at the helm. The Supreme Court of India [official website] in 2012 upheld a right to education law [JURIST report] that requires most schools to reserve one-quarter of its class seats for poor, underprivileged children. The ruling came after a number of private schools and organizations, including the Society of Unaided Private Schools of Rajasthan and the Independent Schools Federation of India, challenged the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RCFCE) arguing it violates their autonomy and will drain their resources. The RCFCE allows any child between the ages of 6-14 to demand free admittance to primary school.