Education and HR

Education and Human Rights

The Millennium Development Goals and Education

Education as a Human Right

Education as a Tool to promote Human Rights

Implementing Human Rights Education

Human Rights Education and Training

Education: a Service to be traded through GATS at the WTO?

The Millennium Development Goals and Education

It is hoped that the education component of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) “to ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling”, the World Declaration on Education for All (UNESCO) and also and the statement article 26 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that “everyone has a right to education” needs to become a reality for nomadic populations everywhere as currently educational facilities for nomad children are sparse and literacy rates are at under 10%. The fact that they move and live in remote areas, far away from the centres of power, makes it very difficult for their voices to be heard and this adds to their emargination.

However, the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) could have enormous consequences on the delivery of education, inclusive of distant learning. Services have been defined as financial, insurance, medical, environmental, phone, postal, train or educational and the service industry is big business. At the moment much of the service sector is part of government departments and are regulated by the state. Through targeted lobbying mainly by Western Corporations, Governments are under pressure to reorganise their service sectors and de-regulate them. Companies are there to make profits and the right of free education for all is not about profits, therefore there are two diametrically opposed directions here which do not bode well for the millions who are finally to have access to free education as part of a government agenda.

With many governments currently seeking private partnerships in the area of education, there might be a possibility for these governments to have less impact on national education policies. It would be beneficial for governments, NGOs and specialist civil society actors to work on this together and ensure that governments retain their rightful role in designing and controlling education policies and to be able to enforce legislation in case that the services delivered are sub-standard. It has already happened in the UK when the services for marking A level exam papers by a private company resulted in a complete disaster.

Education as a Human Right

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that ‘Everyone has the Right to Education’.

It is hoped that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the UNESCO World Declaration on Education for All, and the statement within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that ‘Everyone has a right to education’, will become a reality for populations everywhere.

In order to achieve this, a multi-pronged approach is required with governments, specialised agencies like UNESCO and UNICEF, international and local NGOs working in meaningful partnership with civil society (including religious institutions, industry and trade, education, and communities). Any action arising from these dialogues must be an outcome of participative and shared decisions with the populations for whom the education methods and systems are being initiated and established, and this must be an evolving, not a fixed, process.

Education as a Tool to promote Human Rights

Education is not only a Human Right in itself, but can be (and is) used as a tool to promote people’s awareness of their Human Rights and how to protect them

‘Human Rights’ is a term individuals have heard often mentioned, but most people are still not aware of what they are, what they entail, how they can be promoted, never mind where they can find information and how they can get protection through the international legal framework. But most importantly, there is not enough awareness about how Human Rights are applied in everyday live.

Many communities who are the most affected by poverty are also the ones that are least informed about their Human Rights.

Human Rights education enhances knowledge about what Human Rights are and the mechanisms for their protection. However, people should also learn about Human Rights by seeing Human Rights standards implemented in practice, whether at home, in school, within the community or the workplace. Human Rights education should be a comprehensive, life-long process that starts with the reflection of Human Rights values in the daily life and experience of children, as well as part of the aim of education

It is especially relevant to children living in situations of conflict and emergency that programmes be conducted in ways that promote mutual understanding, peace and tolerance, and that prevent violence and conflict.

Any educational options need to include also adult classes on Human Rights education. This is especially important for minorities and those living in remote areas, e.g. nomadic pastoralists, to learn to place themselves in a bigger context, to understand their needs, articulate these and claim their rights.

Implementing Human Rights Education

The final document agreed to at the World Conference on Human Rights (Vienna, 1993)

was endorsed through resolution 48/121

by the UN General Assembly and in its resolution 49/184

the decade 1995-2004 was proclaimed thehttp://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu6/1/edudec.htm

Much work has gone into promoting Human Rights and Human Rights education,and the training of school teachers is a first requirement in order for promoting Human Rights and Human Rights education,education to be implemented into school curricula.

Some examples: Amnesty in the UK is offering such a course (August 2006) targeted at primary school teachers and principals. Recommendations for Teacher Training are also put forward by the University of Minnesota

Education about international humanitarian law in secondary school also constitutes an important, but all too often neglected, dimension, but again, teachers need to be trained first.

Human Rights Education and Training

Human rights can only be achieved through an informed and continued demand by people for their protection. Human rights education promotes values, beliefs and attitudes that encourage all individuals to uphold their own rights and those of others. It develops an understanding of everyone’s common responsibility to make human rights a reality in each community.
Human rights education constitutes an essential contribution to the long-term prevention of human rights abuses and represents an important investment in the endeavour to achieve a just society in which all human rights of all persons are valued and respected.

This is an area that the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is giving much attention to with much material , a resource index and an extensive database is being compiled to this end.

Education: A Service to be traded through the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) at the WHO?

The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) is a treaty of the World Trade Organisation that came into force in 1995. Despite the huge impact it has on the way services such education or health are organised and run, there is little public awareness of GATS and how it affects education – including its negative affect on the poorest nations.

The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) could have enormous consequences on the delivery of education, inclusive of distant learning. Services have been defined as financial, insurance, medical, environmental, phone, postal, train or educational and the service industry is big business. At the moment much of the service sector is part of government departments and are regulated by the state. Through targeted lobbying mainly by Western Corporations, Governments are under pressure to reorganise their service sectors and de-regulate them. Companies are there to make profits and the right of free education for all is not about profits, therefore there are two diametrically opposed directions here which do not bode well for the millions who are finally to have access to free education as part of a government agenda.

The Trans-national corporations (TNCs) are mostly Western based and their services need to be paid for. The poorest nations will loose out as they will not have the purchasing power to make offers. The poorest people will lose out as they will not be able to pay for the services. The irreversibility of GATS will also make it impossible that once governments have signed up for services they can not get out of that agreement anymore. Unfortunately, neither the press nor governments inform their citizenship of what is at stake and inform people of what e.g. ‘private healthcare’ would mean. Many have not even heard of GATS and therefore have no information nor any opinion. It’s mainly up to NGOs and individuals everywhere to find out and take an informed stance. GATS will make the middle classes poorer, while the poorest will not be able to afford the services, and therefore their situation will get even worse.

With many governments currently seeking private partnerships in the area of education, there might be a possibility for these governments to have less impact on national education policies. It would be beneficial for governments, NGOs and specialist civil society actors to work on this together and ensure that governments retain their rightful role in designing and controlling education policies that include human rights education for all, especially as the powerful private sectors are not signatories to any human rights instruments. In order to deliver human rights education HRE Training is also a required.
It is also paramount for nations to safe-guard their very important heritages which spring from their own unique environment, peoples, animals and vegetation, and that share a unique blend of qualities which has created those cultural differences and which are not replicable elsewhere. It will also be those cultural qualities made up of traditional knowledge, the arts, the foods, the spirituality which are a nation’s strength, and that will be increasingly important to their future and are that nation’s greatest gift to humanity.
Further reading:

Education is a Right, not a Commodity and more from EI on GATS

Globalisation and Education Britain’s leading independent think-tank on international development and humanitarian issues: ODI
Canadian Association of University Teachers more aricles from ODI

GATS and Global Trade Campaign – The General Agreement on Trade in Services: What’s at Stake for Post-Secondary Education?

For Primary Education 20 countries committed themselves to GATS (2003) by G Rikowski

Oxfam Report (page 5 and 6) on Education and GATS

Powered by WordPress | Designed by: seo company | Thanks to seo services, seo company and seo company