The UN asks Ghana to explain itself on privatisation in education
Press release, 23/10/2014
(Geneva, Accra) - In a list of issues released last week, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) formally asked the Ghanaian Government to explain itself on the growing privatisation in education in the country and the effect it has on the realisation of the right to education for all.
This is a victory for civil society organisations in Ghana that have been researching the detrimental impacts of the mushrooming of private schools. Sylvain Aubry, researcher at the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR) reacted:
“‘Low-cost’ private schools are schools that claim to be affordable and serve poor people. However, research in several countries has shown that they are not affordable. In Ghana, most families have to make sacrifices to send their children to these schools, and in some cases would have to spend up to 40% of their income to send just one child to the school.”
The Committee on the Rights of the Child, the UN body made up of international experts responsible for monitoring implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. As part of its review of the implementation of the Convention by Ghana, it has raised a number of issues, which the Government has to respond to in writing by 24th March 2015.
The CRC required the Government to explain itself on some issues that were raised in a report on privatisation in education in Ghana published by the Ghana Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) and the GI-ESCR in August this year. In particular the CRC asked Ghana “to provide detailed information on the reasons behind the increase in private education and the low quality of public education, including lack of teachers and teacher absenteeism, in the State party, limiting access to quality education for children who cannot afford private school tuitions”. It also asked Ghana to provide disaggregated data on children attending private schools.
Leslie Tettey, the national coordinator of the GNECC, welcomed this important development:
“Access to quality education should not be determined by one’s ability to pay for it. Rapid growth of private schools, including low-cost private schools, will foster social segregation, to the detriment of the most marginalised people. Education is a public good, and not a commodity. Private schools can complement public education but should not replace it”.
This is the second time in a few months that the CRC questions the impact of privatisation in education on the right to education, following recommendations made to Morocco last month to assess the effect of privatisation on the right to education. The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, Mr Singh, is also expected to highlight this issue on Monday in New-York in his presentation to the UN General Assembly. This reflects the rise of privatisation around the world and the threats it poses for the realisation of the right to education.
The GNECC and the GI-ESCR now hope that the Government will respond accurately and transparently to the questions that have been submitted to them and look forward to a fuller examination of privatisation of education in Ghana during the formal review of the State in June 2015.
Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Sylvain Aubry on +212 6 22 37 86 37 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition: Leslie Tettey, +233 726 30 85 85 / email@example.com
The Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR) is an international non-governmental human rights organization which seeks to advance the realization of economic, social and cultural rights throughout the world, tackling the endemic problem of global poverty through a human rights lens. See http://www.globalinitiative-escr.org/
The Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition isa network of civil society organizations, professional groupings, educational/research institutions and other practitioners interested in promoting quality basic education for all. Formed in 1999, the coalition has steadily grown over the years with a current membership of over 200 organizations. See http://gneccgh.org/