By DELIA PAUL
The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, Koumbou Boly Barry, has called on UN Member States to fight discrimination to ensure that all children have access to education, fulfilling Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 (quality education). The UN reports that 263 million children around the world are not receiving education, due to a range of factors, including being migrants or refugees, or because of their cultural, linguistic or ethnic background.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres circulated the Special Rapporteur’s report (A/72/498) to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on 23 September. The report reviews the role of equity and inclusion in strengthening the right to education, particularly in the context of achieving the SDGs. The report highlights a number of factors that influence whether or not children have the chance to be educated include poverty, disabilities, living in rural areas, being nomadic and being girls. The report cites studies from around the world indicating the dimensions of the problem and provides examples of national actions that have been effective in promoting equity and inclusion in the educational sphere.
The report calls for governments to identify people and groups in need of specific, targeted support and to review their laws and policies to address those needs. Such action, the report argues, must include collecting and publishing disaggregated data and should encompass all aspects of education from early childhood care to adult literacy programmes.
The report concludes by calling for States to take significant, positive actions to tackle discrimination, inequity and exclusion in education to ensure that the SDGs are met.
Koumbou Boly Barry is from Burkina Faso, and was appointed Special Rapporteur on the right to education in 2016.
Published on IISD on October 26, 2017.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child sets out the rights that must be realized for children to develop their full potential, free from hunger and want, neglect and abuse. It reflects a new vision of the child. Children are neither the property of their parents nor are they helpless objects of charity. They are human beings and are the subject of their own rights. The Convention offers a vision of the child as an individual and as a member of a family and community, with rights and responsibilities appropriate to his or her age and stage of development. By recognizing children's rights in this way, the Convention firmly sets the focus on the whole child.