Open Letter: Call on World Education Leaders to Use Multi-billion Dollars Funding to Support Public Education

As Ministers of education and other leading stakeholders in education meet on 28-29 July 2021 at the Global Education Summit, 37 CSOs call on governments to make robust funding commitments for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and urge GPE and its partners to use the money raised during the summit in support of free public education and to ensure that no funding is used to support commercial actors, in accordance with human rights requirements.

GPE is the main multilateral funding body solely dedicated to transforming education in lower-income countries. It plays a critical role in the strengthening of education systems of dozens of countries. World education leaders are meeting at the Global Education Summit with a target to raise at least 5 billion US Dollars for 2021–2025, in order to fund developing countries’ education plans.  

The signing organisations strongly support the full replenishment of the GPE by donors, and call on States to commit to maintain or increase the current share of the national budget allocated to education (aiming at least 6% of GDP). In addition, while increased funding will be crucially important, how the money will be spent is equally critical. A new policy brief published today that reviews seven case studies in developing countries, from Namibia to Brazil, through Vietnam, shows that well-organised public education systems are possible everywhere, with political will and use of locally relevant practices. Yet as noted in a recent report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education, the COVID-19 crisis has exposed previous failures to invest adequately in public education, exacerbated pre-existing inequalities, and  has raised concerns about the unsustainable nature of large-scale private involvement in education. The risk is particularly high for the most marginalised, including girls, children with disabilities, and impoverished people who depend on fully funded good quality, free public systems for their education.

GPE Member States, which are all parties to one or more treaties protecting the right to education, can also seek guidance in the Abidjan Principles, which were adopted in 2019 and are the reference text to implement the right to education in the current context. In a new July 2021 resolution, the United Nations Human Rights Council asked States to invest the maximum of available resources in public education, and called on UN agencies to work with the GPE and civil society to provide technical support to States to realise the right to education in the COVID-19 and post-COVID context. The Council also recognised for the second time the Abidjan Principles, which recalls that “international assistance and cooperation, where provided, must reinforce the building of free, quality, public education systems”. 

The signing organisations urge States and education stakeholders participating at the GPE Summit to ensure that GPE’s funding and technical engagement are aligned with the right to education, in particular by fulfilling the right to free, quality, inclusive public education, and specifically to: 

  1. Reinforce GPE’s support to free public education as part of its process to strengthen the operationalisation of its programmes, in particular  by ensuring that the partnership compacts to be supported by GPE’s system transformation grants explicitly focus on strengthening public education systems, developing GPE’s secretariat capacities to work on human rights with a dedicated and adequately trained and resourced staff person, and ensuring that the Partnership Compact and the Local Education Group be truly inclusive and have the necessary capacity and expertise to integrate human rights into their work;   
  2. Maintain and reinforce the commitment that no public funding goes to commercial providers of, and actors in, education; and,
  3. In line with the latest UN Human Rights Council Resolution and recent efforts undertaken by the GPE, work with UNESCO, including the IIEP, and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as other relevant international and national institutions and civil society, to strengthen the operationalisation of human rights in its activities and Member States’ educational planning and practice.

Contacts

  • Sylvain Aubry, Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR), sylvain@gi-escr.org
  • Stella Aswani, Hakijamii, Economic and Social Rights Centre media@hakijamii.com
  • Drissa BAMBA, PCA du Mouvement Ivoirien des Droits Humains (MIDH), siege–midh@yahoo.fr
  • KONE Ladji, Directeur Exécutif de l’Organisation pour la Démocratie le Développement Economique et Social (ODDES) hac_abidjan@yahoo.fr; infos@oddes.org

Signatures

  1. ActionAid
  2. Africa Network Campaign on Education For All (ANCEFA)
  3. Alliance Globale pour l’Education et le Développement – Niger
  4. Arab Campaign for Education for all (ACEA)
  5. Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE)
  6. Brazilian Campaign for the Right to Education
  7. Cameroon Education For All Network (CEFAN)
  8. Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE), Bangladesh
  9. Coalition Education (France)
  10. Coalition Marocaine de l’éduction pour Tous
  11. Coalition nationale de Madagascar pour EPT (CONAMEPT)
  12. Coalition Nationale de l’Education Pour Tous en République Démocratique du Congo “CONEPT RDC”
  13. CEPO ONG-RDC
  14. COTAE
  15. East African Centre for Human Rights (EACHRights)
  16. Education For All Sierra Leone Coalition (EFA-SL)
  17. Fédération des Syndicats nationaux des Travailleurs de l’Education et de la Recherche (F-SYNTER)
  18. Global Campaign for Education-US
  19. Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR)
  20. Government Teachers’ Union – Ile Maurice
  21. Hakijamii – Economic and Social Rights Centre
  22. Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER)
  23. Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education (CLADE)
  24. National Campaign for Education Nepal (NCE Nepal)
  1. Moltaka Al Osra Al Maghrebia (Maroc)
  2. Mouvement Ivoirien des Droits Humains (MIDH)
  3. OMEP – Organisation Mondiale pour l’Éducation Préscolaire/World Organisation for Early Childhood Education
  4. ONG Benin-Alafia (ONG-BEA) /République du Bénin
  5. Organisation pour la Démocratie le Développement Economique et Social (ODDES) – Côte d’Ivoire
  6. Oxfam
  7. Right to Education Forum (India)
  8. Right to Education Initiative (RTE)
  9. Solidarité Laïque Tunisie
  10. Syndicat National Autonome de l’Enseignement Secondaire (SNAES/Cameroun)
  11. Syndicat National des Agents de la Formation et de l’Education du Niger
  12. Solidare-UNAFETPCI (Union Nationale des Formateurs de l’Enseignement Technique et Professionnel de Côte d’Ivoire)
  13. Young Men Action for Education – ONG – RD Congo