Education Not about “Profitable Returns” at World Human Rights Forum

December 1, 2014
by Tony Baker, Education for All Campaign Manager

At the World Human Rights Forum in Marrakech, civil society issued a joint statement to the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the African Union Commission (AUC), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in response to their recent report that called for “a liberal and attractive regulatory framework that is conducive to profitable returns on investment” in education.

MDG Report 2014: Assessing Progress in Africa Toward the Millennium Development Goals, released in November, discusses progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Africa and makes recommendations on how to accelerate efforts toward them. The report is also significant for shaping the post-2015 development agenda, particularly in Africa.

On Friday at the World Human Rights Forum in Marrakech, civil society expressed its concerns about how the report and its institutional authors emphasize private sector involvement in education. The report calls for, among other things, the establishment of “a liberal and attractive regulatory framework that is conducive to profitable returns on investment” in education.

In response, civil society issued a statement supported by more than 60 organizations, many of which are based in Africa, highlighting the danger that such an approach poses. The encouragement of private sector profiteering of education, as pointed out by the civil society statement, not only threatens the progress that has been made by the elimination of school fees but also represents a potential violation of international law, which places the provision of education as a government obligation. The emphasis on privatization undermines the importance of public investment in education and the nature of education as a public good. Moreover, fee-charging, profit-driven education models are known to have discriminatory effects that reinforce segregation and inequalities.

Civil society is demanding that the AfDB, ECA, AUC, and UNDP withdraw the report and make recommendations that are appropriately aligned with UN human rights obligations.

The statement was submitted by the African Network Campaign on Education for All (ANCEFA), Education International (EI) ActionAid, and the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR) and was signed by:

  1. African Resources Watch (AFREWATCH)
  2. Alliance2015
  3. Alphabétisation et Développement (Alpha Dev)
  4. Arab Campaign for Education for All (ACEA)
  5. Argentinian Campaign for the Right to Education (CADE
  6. Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE)
  7. ASO-EPT Niger
  8. Association Nationale pour l’Alphébétisation, Senegal (ANAFA)
  9. ATTAC/CADTM Maroc
  10. Basic Education Network Ethiopia
  11. Botswana Coalition for Education for All
  12. Buliisa Initiative for Rural Development organisation (BIRUDO)
  13. Burundi Coalition for Education For All
  14. Cameroon Education for All Network (CEFAN)
  15. Carrefour de la famille marocaine
  16. Centre du Commerce International pour le Développement, CECIDE, Guinée (CECIDE)
  17. Centre for Social Impact Studies (CeSIS)
  18. Centre national de coopération au développement, CNCD-11.11.11, Belgium
  19. Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All
  20. Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All (CSACEFA)
  21. Civil Society Education Coalition, Malawi (CSEC),
  22. Coalition des Organisations en Synergie pour la Défense de l’Education Publique, Senegal (COSYDEP)
  23. Coalition des organisations Mauritaniennes pour l’Education (COMEDUC)
  24. Coalition Marocaine pour l’Education Pour tous (CMEPT)
  25. Coalition National EPT-Burkina-Faso
  26. Coalition Pour l’Education Pour Tous Bafashebique, Burundi
  27. Collectif National de l’Education Alternative et Populaire, Senegal (CNEAP)
  28. Committee for Peace and Development Advocacy (COPDA) – Liberia
  29. Confédération des syndicats autonomes, Senegal (CSA)
  30. Conseil Régional des Organisations Non Gouvernementales de Développement
  31. Consulenti, orientatori, formatori in rete, Italia (Cofir)
  32. Education Coalition of South Africa, South Africa(ECSA)
  33. Education For All Network, The Gambia
  34. Equal Education Law Centre, South Africa (EELC)
  35. EqualEducation, South Africa
  36. Fédération Nationale des Associations de Parents d’Elèves au Maroc (FNAPEM)
  37. Fédération Nationale des Associations de Parents d’Eleves et d’Edudiants, Senegal (FENAPES)
  38. Forum for Education NGO’s in Uganda (FENU)
  39. Foundation For Environmental Right, Advocacy & Development, Nigeria (FENRAD)
  40. Foundation for the Conservation of the Earth (FOCONE)
  41. Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC)
  42. Global Campaign for Education (GCE)
  43. Global Network for Good Governance(GNGG Cameroon)
  44. Global Rights, Nigeria
  45. Groupe Pivot Education de Base, Mali
  46. IBIS
  47. Inclusive Development International
  48. Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER)
  49. Jamaa Resource Initiatives, Kenya
  50. Kosovo Civil Society Consortium for Sustainable Development (KOSID)
  51. Lumière Synergie pour le Développement
  52. Maison des Mines du Kivu (MMKi)
  53. Mouvement Anfass Démocratique, Morocco
  54. Organisation Démocratique de l’Enseignement, Morocco (ODT)
  55. Oxfam
  56. Peace Point Action (PPA)
  58. Privatisation in Education Research Initiative (PERI)
  59. Public Interest Law Center, Chad (PILC)
  61. Right to Education Forum, India
  62. Right to Education Project (RTE)
  63. Section27, South Africa
  64. Syndicat Unique et Démocratique du Sénégal (SUDES)
  65. Tanzania Education Network/Mtandao wa Elimu Tanzania (TEN/MET)
  66. Wacam, Ghana
  67. Zambia National Education Coalition

For more information and the complete press statement, visit here


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