UNHRC Calls for More Regulation of Private Education Providers


The United Nations’ Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has passed a resolution that calls on governments across the world to monitor and regulate private education more heavily.

The landmark resolution by the UNHRC was welcomed by eight international civil society organizations and aims to establish minimum standards by which education providers must abide by to grant all children the right to an education.

Through its resolution, the UNHRC wants its members states — especially in countries with repressive regimes or dictatorships — to monitor and control private education providers. The organizations acknowledge the “wide-ranging impact of the commercialization of education on the enjoyment of the right to education”.

This resolution marks the first time that the 47 members of the Human Rights Council have responded to the privatization and commercialization of education trend, RighttoEducation.org reports. The UNHRC wants to put in a place:

“[A] regulatory framework guided by international human rights obligations for education providers that establishes, inter alia,  minimum norms and standards for the creation and operation of educational institutions.”

Sylvain Aubry of the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights says the privatization of education leads to the socio-economic segregation of poor students and violates the UN States’ obligations as private schools — unregulated as they are — can charge parents exorbitant tuition fees.

Similarly Camilla Croso of the Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education (CLADE) says:

“The rapid, unregulated growth of private providers of education is already creating – and enabling – violations of the right to education, threatening to erase the last 50 years of progress in access to education.” She added: “This resolution shows that states have realized that they must act now to regulate such providers – before it is too late.”

According to Alex Newman at The New American, this deeply controversial document wants to safeguard education from the perils of commercialization.

“So what the UN pseudo-human rights bureaucracy is really saying is governments must prevent parents from choosing better alternatives.”

Although there’s already sufficient evidence on the effectiveness of private and government education, the UNHRC calls on governments to use tax funds to finance awareness-raising initiatives and research. Newman notes:

“[A] mountain of research on the topic is already available, and it shows that government-run schools exist to serve government — and that private schools, homeschooling, and other alternatives are drastically superior to “public” education, generally at a fraction of the cost.”

In Uganda, Angela Nabwowe, Manager for the Initiative for Social and Economic Rights program, highlights how many government-run schools are in bad shape, especially those in remote rural areas:

“The law provides for the set-up of private schools. They should supplement and not replace public schools. Parents are forced to take their children to private schools because the public schools lack the necessary facilities for quality education,” Nabwowe says.