The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), the UN Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) have addressed the issue of the role of private actors in education at least 29 times in 16 States in the last three years.
These statements clearly reflect the trend of the growth of unregulated private providers of education that the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and other organisations have been researching. It also demonstrates the growing concerns raised by human rights experts regarding the impact this trend has on the right to education as protected under the four treaties monitored by these committees.
The committees have made at least ten types of recommendations focusing on monitoring, regulating, and addressing the impacts:
“Assess and address the consequences of the rapid development of private education in the State party and its impact on the full realization of children’s right to education” (CRC, Ghana)
“Ensure that teachers from the public sector contribute to the improvement of education […] rather than being used by the private sector” (CRC, Morocco)
“Take all possible means to eliminate the disparities that exist between private and public schools” (CESCR, Chile) or “ensure that the significant increase in private education does not lead to growing inequality in access to good-quality education” (CESCR, Morocco)
“Strengthen regulations and expand monitoring and oversight mechanisms for private education institutions” (CESCR, Uganda), or “regulate and monitor the quality of education provided by private informal schools in line with the Convention” (CRC, Kenya), or ““Ensure that all schools, including the low-cost private schools, are registered and monitor their compliance with the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 and the relevant guidelines” (CESCR, Philippines), or “Establish a clear regulatory framework, under which all private education providers are obliged to report regularly to designated public authorities on their financial operations, in line with prescriptive regulations, covering matters such as school fees and salaries, and to declare, in a fully transparent manner, that they are not engaged in for-profit education as recommended by the Special Rapporteur on the right to education” (CRC, Brazil)
“Strengthen its public education sector, through including increasing the budget allocated to primary and secondary education” (CESCR, Philippines), “assum[e] primary responsibility for the provision of quality education to all children” (CESCR, Uganda), and “increase its investment in public education to match the increasing enrolment, and ensure the quality thereof, to avoid forcing parents to resort to private schools” (ACHPR, Uganda)
“Phase-out the transfer of public funds to the private education sector and review its policies with regard to fiscal and tax incentives for enrolment in private education institutions in order to ensure access to free quality education at all levels, in particular nurseries and pre-schools, for all children by strictly prioritizing the public education sector in the distribution of public funds” (CRC, Brazil) and “Review the Education Service Contracting scheme” (CESCR, Philippines)“Stop the purchase of standardized teaching and school management systems by municipalities from private companies.” (CRC, Brazil)“Prioritize free primary quality education at public schools over private schools and informal low cost schools” (CRC, Kenya)
“Ensure, in all free, semi-private and private schools, that education contributes to the development of the fullest potential of every child, the development of respect for human rights, the preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society and the development of respect for the natural environment” (CRC, Chile)
“Ensure that its international development cooperation supports the recipient States in guaranteeing the right to free compulsory primary education for all, by prioritizing free and quality primary education in public schools, refraining from funding for- profit private schools” (CRC, United Kingdom)