Privatisation and the Right to
1. Develop an understanding of the right to education
2. Become familiar with key State obligations concerning the
right to education that may be affected by privatisation
3. Gain and understanding of education privatisation,
including the forms and processes that may impact the
right to education
4. Practically apply the right to education to scenarios and
consider the implications
5. Explore strategies for applying a human rights based
approach to education privatisation
Right to Education Project
What Are Human Rights?
Rights are inherent to all human beings and are
protected through internationally agreed legal
standards that States have committed to upholding
through treaties.
Human rights are:
 Universal
 Indivisible
 Inter-related & Inter-dependent
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Equality & Non-Discrimination
Non-discrimination prohibits any distinction, exclusion
or limitation based on the listed grounds
States guarantee these rights without
discrimination of any kind on the grounds of
race, colour, sex, language, religion, political
or other opinion, national or social origin,
property, birth or other status.
Right to Education Project
The Right to Education in Law
Main International Human Rights Treaties Containing
Provisions on the Right to Education
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education
Right to Education Project
What is the Right to Education?
• Free & compulsory primary education
• Available & accessible secondary & technical/
vocational education that is progressively free
• Equally accessible higher education based on capacity
and progressively made free
• Fundamental education for those who could not
access or complete primary education
• System of schools with continuously improved
conditions & enhanced educational access for
individuals from disadvantaged groups
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What Are the Aims of Education?
• The full development of the child’s personality, talents and
mental and physical abilities
• The development of respect for human rights and fundamental
• The development of respect for the child’s parents, cultural
identity, language and values, as well as respect for the values of
the child’s country and other civilisations
• The development of the child’s responsibilities in a free society,
including understanding, peace, tolerance, equality, and
friendship among all persons and groups
• The development of respect for the natural environment
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The 4 As
Education should be free with adequate
infrastructure, trained teachers &
The education system should be
accessible to all without
discrimination and positive steps must
be taken to include the most
The content of education must be
relevant, non-discriminatory, culturally
appropriate & of good quality; schools
must be safe & teachers should be
professionally trained
Education must evolve with the
changing needs of society & it must be
adapted to the local context
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Educational Freedoms
The liberty to establish and
direct educational
institutions, subject to the
requirement that these
must conform to minimum
standards laid down by the
The liberty of parents to
choose schools other than
public schools for their
children, according to their
religious and moral
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Private Education
Education that is provided by non-State actors, including
companies, religious institutions, NGOs, trusts or private
A process of transferring education assets, management,
functions or responsibilities previously owned or carried
out by the State to private actors
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Human Rights Concerns
Interests of
the Child
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How Is Education Privatised?
From PERI:
1. For Profit Schools
2. Public-Private Partnerships
3. Low Fee Schools
4. Private Tutoring
5. Philanthropy Schools
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The Nature of State Obligations
• To not
interfere with
the exercise
of rights
• To ensure
others do not
regulation &
• To take
action to
facilitate the
enjoyment of
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Progressive Realisation
the full
of the right
Take Steps - Deliberate, concrete &
progressive to the maximum available
Minimum Core Obligations – Ensure the
minimum essential levels of rights
No Backwards Steps (Retrogression)
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Free Education
Primary education shall be compulsory
and available free to all
Secondary education should be available &
accessible & made progressively free
Higher education should be accessible and
made progressively free
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Equality & Non-Discrimination
Non-discrimination prohibits any distinction, exclusion
or limitation based on the listed grounds
DISCRIMINATION includes any distinction,
exclusion, limitation or preference that has the
purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing
equality of treatment in education
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Monitoring & Regulation
The State must establish minimum standards for
private providers
These minimum standards must comply with
human rights law
The State must maintain a transparent & effective
system to monitor these standards
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Education Financing
Minimum core obligations
& progressive steps to
fully realise the right to
Informal alternatives &
private sector to fill
education gaps
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Continuous Improvements to Quality
States must continuously improve the material conditions of
 Trained and qualified teachers paid competitive salaries &
continuing education
 Access to appropriate learning materials
 Relevant and culturally appropriate curricula and childcentred teaching methods
 Non-discrimination in education delivery
 Adequate school infrastructure and safe environment
Right to Education Project
Participation & Transparency
Privatisation programmes should be open
and transparent and should include the
participation of the affected community.
States should take care to avoid creating
imbalances of power between private actors
and communities through experimental
privatisation programmes.
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Effective Remedies
The right to an effective remedy forms part of the
human rights framework, and States must ensure
that effective remedies are available in order to
address violations that may occur pertaining to
private education or privatised services.
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Gathering Evidence
• Look for existing data / evidence & apply human rights
• Gather new data / evidence from the field
• Influence other actors (e.g., academia) to carry out
research on key privatisation topics or areas of
• Analyse existing government policy documents
regarding privatisation against human rights standards
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Gathering Evidence: Example
Example: Accountability for Quality Teaching
Human rights
Salaries of public
National requirements for public
Right to work - Fair
school teachers;
teacher pay scales and minimum
wages and equal
Salaries of private
qualifications; National requirements remuneration for
school teachers;
for private teacher pay scales and
work of equal value
Highest qualification
minimum qualifications; National
level attained by public requirements for continuing
Right to education –
school teachers;
education for public school teachers; Minimum teacher
Highest qualification
National requirements for private
level attained by
school teachers; Individual school
adequate teacher
private school
policies on salary, qualifications, and training, domestically
teachers; Completion
continuing education; Availability of competitive teacher
of continuing
teacher training providers and
education; etc.
placements; etc.
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• Send requests for information to the government
(usually a formal process)
• Set up a meeting with key ministry officials to inquire
about privatisation policies & represent civil society
concerns as a coalition
• Organise public meetings on education privatisation &
invite government officials, parents, teachers,
community leaders, etc.
• Organise a workshop to share information on
privatisation with key stakeholders
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Developing a Campaign
What is the change that you want to
Who are the decision-makers on this
issue? Who else can influence the
What is the message aimed at your
What tactics will you use to bring
about changes, e.g., direct lobbying,
media, etc.?
Right to Education Project
• Right to Education Project (RTE) – www.right-toeducation.org
• Privatisation in Education Research Initiative
(PERI) – www.periglobal.org
• Global Campaign for Education (GCE) –
• Education International (EI) – www.ei-ie.org
• Save the Children – www.savethechildren.org
Right to Education Project