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No. 179, 3 May 2019
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2030 Sustainable Development Agenda with Focus on Education Goal - SDG 4

By Kishore Singh

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development must be considered bearing in mind the right to education as an internationally recognized right as well as the right to development. Below is the keynote presentation by Kishore Singh, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, at the Asian High-level Forum on Human Rights on the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

2030 Sustainable Development Agenda with Focus on Education Goal - SDG 4
Keynote Presentation
Kishore Singh
Former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education
Organized by the National Center for Human Rights of Uzbekistan on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan
Samarkand, Uzbekistan, 22-23 November 2018
The adoption of the Sustainable Development Agenda at the United Nations Summit in September 2015 ushered in a new vision centered around three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental. In proclaiming the Agenda, the Heads of the State/Government envisaged “a world of universal respect for human rights.” [1] They reaffirmed their “commitment to international law” and stated that the Agenda is to be implemented “in a manner that is consistent with the rights and obligations of states under international law.”[2] They recognized the need to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies that provide equal access to justice and that are based on respect for human rights (including the right to development), on effective rule of law and good governance at all levels and on transparent, effective and accountable institutions.[3]
Implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda: human rights-based approach
A human rights-based approach is all pervasive in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Human rights standards provide a normative framework that grounds development work within a universal set of values and is an important tool for ensuring that development is pursued in an equitable, just and sustainable manner.
On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is opportune to critically reflect over the implements and the challenges in the implementation of the Agenda with a human rights-based approach. The right to education as an overarching right, indispensable for the exercise of all other human rights and as foundation of human development, deserves a special consideration in such reflections. A human rights-based approach imparts strength and legitimacy to the implementation of the Agenda and provides a firm foundation for action at the national level. It is invaluable for fostering a pattern of development where dignity and human rights become a reality for all and no person is denied universal human rights. The adoption of a human rights perspective to the development agenda implies, among other things, a careful screening of national development policies for the implementation of the Agenda to assess whether political commitments of Governments are linked to their international obligations under human rights law. Aligning development strategies with human rights norms and principles entails overriding consideration to the core principles of non-discrimination and equality of opportunity.  This is crucial to avoid that economic progress continues to leave untouched those who remain marginalized or who are victims of poverty. The human rights-based approach is indispensable for creating inclusive societies and for leaving no one behind. Such an approach makes it imperative that everyone is a beneficiary of development. In this respect, it is pertinent to recall the Declaration on the Right to Development (1996) which provides that “States should undertake, at the national level, all necessary measures for the realization of the right to development and shall ensure, inter alia, equality of opportunity for all in their access to basic resources, education, health services, food, housing, employment and the fair distribution of income” (Article 8 § 1).
The Goal 4 of the Agenda on Education – Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 – to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” must be considered bearing in mind the right to education as an internationally recognized right as well as the right to development and international law. The SDG4 is further elaborated in the Incheon Declaration, adopted at the World Education Forum (May 2015)[4] which underlines the importance of education as a fundamental human right, as a main driver of development and as public good. The Declaration expresses the commitment by the Ministers of Education from all over the world to “ensure the provision of 12 years of free, publicly funded, equitable quality primary and secondary education.” The Incheon Declaration and the Framework for Action at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 2015 is underpinned by a human rights-based approach, inspired by a humanistic vision of education and development.
International law, the right to development and the right to education
As stated in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, international law of human rights has universal applicability. States must ensure this. Recognizing educational dimensions of all development goals, the right to development as a basis for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development[5] must be perceived in its nexus with the right to education. Several conceptual links between the right to education and the right to development are mutually enriching. Education is a “human right in itself and an indispensable means of realizing other human rights”.[6] The right to development is “alpha and omega” of human rights - a core right from which all other rights stem. [7] Both the right to development and the right to education are overarching rights, essential for the exercise of all other human rights. The right to education, like the right to development, is recognized as being pivotal for development and social transformation. The World Conference on Human Rights (1994) reaffirmed, “the right to development [...] as a universal and inalienable right and an integral part of fundamental human rights [...]”[8] Education of which both the individual and society are beneficiaries is a universal and inalienable right which, like the right to development, occupies a central place in the international law of human rights. Like the right to development, the right to education is an individual and a collective right. The fundamental principle of equality of opportunity, enshrined in international human right law, is common to both these rights.
SDG 4 from a right to education perspective
The right to education as an internationally recognized right[9] is a matter of entitlement in terms of universal access. The SDG4 expresses the resolve of governments to ensure that good quality education is available to all without exclusion. Under the Incheon Declaration, governments are committed to provide good quality public education free of costs to everyone at least till secondary level. Higher education should also be made progressively free in line with international human rights conventions.
At the same time, the right to education is a matter of empowerment in imparting knowledge, values, competencies and skills, with a holistic and humanistic vision approach to quality education. States are duty-bound to ensure that education fulfills the essential objectives as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in international human rights conventions as quality imperatives. Entitlement and empowerment as two key dimensions of the right to education are inextricably linked together.  
Lifelong learning and skills development to which governments remain committed under SDG4, should be seen in a broader perspective of a ‘continuum of learning’ and training. These are part of the international framework for the right to education. The Incheon Declaration expresses the commitment of Governments to promote quality lifelong learning opportunities for all, with equitable and increased access to quality technical and vocational education and training (TVET) as well as higher education and research. Such a conceptual approach has its moorings in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which stipulates, in article 26, that “Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.”
State obligations regarding the provision of TVET as part of the right to education are established in international human rights instruments. The right to TVET forms an integral “part of the rights to education and to work.”[10] Norms and principles in this respect are reflected in the UNESCO Convention on Technical and Vocational Education. The importance of education, training and lifelong learning for social development and employment is also recognized by the International Labor Organization Recommendation No. 195 concerning Human Resources Development: Education, Training and Lifelong Learning (2004). TVET as a vehicle for skills development is an integral part of general secondary education, with pathways for its pursuit in technical higher education stream.
A challenging task in the implementation of the SDG4 is to devise an education system which takes fully into account the importance of technical education and training, not only at secondary and higher education levels but beyond in a lifelong learning perspective, with focus on skills development. Acquisition of competencies and skills needed by the modern world is critically important in order to meet the challenges of an increasingly globalized economy and the rising aspirations of youth. Beyond a time-bound goal to be achieved by 2030, lifelong learning is a permanent and steadily growing necessity. Its normative framework remains inadequate in face of challenges of today and tomorrow and requires to be developed further with a view to providing learning opportunities lifelong.
The implementation of the SDG4, guided by the international framework for the right to education in terms of entitlement as well as empowerment, is beset with many limitations and constraints. Universal access to education as a fundamental human right is eclipsed as millions of children are still out of school. Challenges are even more daunting for the Asian region[11], having a large proportion of such children as well as those deprived of education on account of their poverty. The right to education remains far from being universalized right.
Overcoming inequities in education
Marginalization and exclusion and prevailing inequities in education bear evidence to non-fulfillment of the State obligations under international human rights conventions. There is a widespread concern today over the growing inequalities around the world, not only among countries but also within them. The gap between rich and poor all over the world caused by unbridled neo-liberal economy is becoming more pronounced. Unless growing social inequalities are urgently addressed, “the cross-cutting ambition of the Sustainable Development Goals to ‘leave no one behind’ by 2030 will remain ‘an empty slogan’”[12].
The impact of social inequalities on education systems and the right to education is quite serious, resulting in increasing disparities and inequities in education. This calls for radical measures for expanding opportunities for good quality public education, indispensable for creating an inclusive education system. This would be invaluable for bringing about equality of opportunity in education, both in law and in fact. Driven by equity-based policies and guided by a human-rights based approach, this can go a long way in making the education system an equalizing force. The fundamental principle of equality of opportunity in education which is common to almost all United Nations human rights conventions provides a basis for national level action to that end.  
Ensuring pivotal role of education for poverty eradication
In such endeavours, prime importance needs to be attached to empowering the role of education in poverty eradication strategies. Poverty is the greatest obstacle to the enjoyment of the right to education. Almost two billion people live in extreme poverty today, accounting for around 36 percent of the population in emerging and developing countries, and poverty in the developed world is on the rise.[13]  Poverty is an affront to human rights. It makes a mockery of the stipulations in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”
Imparting education as a fundamental right to all the children who are victims of poverty along with social protection measures provides invaluable leverage for lifting them out of poverty. This is of foremost importance for eradication of poverty as the very first goal of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
Safeguarding the right to education from forces of privatization
Disparities in education are exacerbated by mushrooming privatization, with a range of entities such as individual proprietors or profit-seeking corporate houses providing education for lucrative purposes.  Privatization is making its intrusion at all levels in education and the phenomenon of education as an attractive business is assuming alarming proportions, with scant control by public authorities.[14]Governments seem to be abdicating their core responsibility for the right to education. Education as a public function of States is being eroded on account of unbridled privatization, driven by business interest. This is detrimental to the concept of education as a public good and social interest in education.
The right to education does not admit any discrimination or exclusion. However, economic situation, social status and capacity to pay fees, etc. are determinant factors as regards access to private educational establishments owned by individual proprietors or enterprises. This flies into the face of prohibited grounds of discrimination in international human rights conventions.[15] The Convention against Discrimination in Education prohibits discrimination based, inter alia, on religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, economic condition or birth, as such discrimination has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing equality of treatment in education. The Convention on the Rights of the Child adds ‘property’ among prohibited grounds of discrimination.[16] By catering to particular social strata, privatization breeds social segregation and aggravates inequities and marginalization in education, of which children from poor households are especially victims. Privatization undermines democratic principles and violates the norms and principles of the right to education as laid down in the international human rights conventions. The right to education is not a privilege of the rich and well-to-do: it is a core obligation of States, and a moral imperative.  The State is both guarantor and regulator of education which is a fundamental human right and a public cause. The stand taken by Michelle Bachelet, while she was the President of Chile before becoming the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is laudable in asserting that education is not a commodity; it is a right.
Fraudulent practices by private providers and hidden corruption in education remain unscathed due to lack of financial regulations, of scrutiny of their operations and of control mechanisms. The phenomenon of privatization in education is a major impediment in creating an inclusive education system as the main objective of SDG4. One can witness its deleterious effects on the right to education in several countries in the Asian region.
It is, therefore, of paramount importance to safeguard the right to education from forces of privatization, preserve education as a public good as well as social interest in education in implementing SDG4. A comprehensive and sound regulatory framework with a system of sanctions is necessary for ensuring that ‘edu-business’ has no place in a country’s education system.[17]
Expanding opportunities of public education of good quality
Expanding opportunities of public education of good quality is a State responsibility under SDG4 in conjunction with the 2030 Education agenda embodied in the Incheon Declaration. Such a responsibility is sanctified by the ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States of America in Brown vs. Board of Education (1954) that “Providing public schools ranks at the very apex of the function of a State”, and that “Education is perhaps the most important function of State and local governments.”[18] Investment in education for this purpose is the best investment a country can make. The growth in the Human Development Index[19] is associated with growth in public spending on education. It is the obligation of States under human rights law to provide maximum possible resources for human rights, à fortiori, for the right to education.
However, the trend towards decreasing investment for education in several developing countries, including in Asia, runs counter to all such imperatives. Financial cuts in the education budget induced by privatization result in weakening the public education system. Privatization works as a dissuasive force and governments devote less resources to education, considering that private education is available. The public education system is shrinking due to decreasing budgetary allocations for education. Quality of education in public schools is degenerating due to scant resources and inadequacy of necessary infrastructural facilities. Teachers are poorly paid and the teaching profession does not remain attractive as it is losing its esteem. This again adversely affects quality education as well-qualified and dedicated teachers are sine qua non for ensuring it.
Values-Crisis: policy and programmatic responses
The spirit of SDG4 also requires a holistic and humanistic view of quality, with a focus on the essential objectives of education enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and laid down in international human rights conventions aimed at human rights-based values in education. However, materialistic pursuits have become commonplace today. This is casting its spell on the education system. Education is being bereft of its humanistic mission. Uprooted of human values, children and adults lack respect for parents and teachers. Such a ‘values-crisis’ is manifested in growing incidences of violence in schools and in society. Vocation of schools as bedrock of human values and of Universities as seat of learning for the pursuit of ideals of humanity are being scuttled in a globalized world as these are being drawn into stronghold of a materialistic values system. Moral and ethical values are on decline and a materialistic pursuits-based corporate culture driven by business interests and privatization in education is thriving. Private entrepreneurs or enterprises running private schools propagate materialist values and establish a learning system devoid of cultural diversity, as they cater to particular social strata and to their own interest or business interest of the corporate sector. They breed from early childhood discriminatory attitudes of segregate attitude, disrespectful of cultural diversity.
Promoting educational programmes centered on “learning to live together”[20] can enable to counter these trends as they can develop in children and adults the attitudes and behavior patterns enthused with the spirit of mutual respect and solidarity and they become respectful of one another’s ways and culture. An approach giving primacy to values education and its humanistic mission with focus on morals and ethics needs to be widely embraced worldwide. Need for a “new global ethics for our common humanity”[21] recognized in formulating the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda seems to have become a dire necessity. Education firmly rooted in the values can go a long way in developing in every child capacity of a human rights-friendly response to the challenges that accompany a period of fundamental change driven by globalization, new technologies and related phenomena.[22] Call given to the public authorities nearly two decades ago to “help protect and enhance societal values…and the reinforcement of humanistic perspectives,” “inspired by love for humanity and guided by wisdom”[23] is even more relevant today.
Emerging concerns with ‘values-crisis’ are a welcome development. The European Union has expressed concern with erosion of human values in education. The Paris Declaration by the Ministers responsible for education in the European Union expresses their “special duty to ensure that the humanist and civic values we share are safeguarded and passed on to future generations.”[24] The Continental Education Strategy for Africa also places emphasis on ‘African core values’.
The Asian region is rich in cultural diversity, traditions of education and philosophical values which can be an asset in regenerating the values education. The region can pioneer educational approaches in the spirit of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, which acknowledges the need to preserve “the natural and cultural diversity of the world.”[25]  
Imparting human values must in fact permeate the entire education system. In a broader perspective, fostering values education and preserving education as a public good should become an international drive.
Mobilizing the means required to implement SDG4
The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda contains commitments to mobilize the means required to implement it, based on a spirit of strengthened global solidarity and focused “in particular on the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable and with the participation of all countries, all stakeholders and all people.” [26]
The international principle of solidarity underlying the Agenda is important as regards international cooperation and development assistance for overcoming obstacles encountered by developing countries in the implementation of SDG4. In this respect, all non-State actors also have an important role and responsibility in taking up the cause of the implementation of SDG4, using human rights as a binding legal framework with a focus on core human rights obligations.
It is always necessary to bear in mind that human rights are inherent in the human person, and should be availed of as rights and as entitlements. Human rights are not a matter of provision of services under contractual arrangements and subject to payment and market forces, and should not be compromised in arrangements bringing on board multi-stakeholders and provision of education through public-private partnerships. Multi-stake partnerships do not change the nature of the right to education or the State obligations for the SDG4.
Human rights are universal and their universality distinguishes them from civil rights which are country specific but which should be in conformity with human rights law. Under the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, provision of services must be a matter of human rights-based entitlements.
Enforcement of the right to education in implementing SDG4
Everyone has the right to receive education of good quality under SDG4, and must be able to claim this right in case of failure of governments to ensure it. SDG4 is not merely an aspiration but is a legally enforceable right and justiciable in national legal systems. The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda is underpinned by concept of ‘justice and equity’ and a judicial system in a country has an essential role in protecting and enforcing the right to education under SDG4. Protection and promotion are two pillars of the human rights system on which national legal systems should be grounded.
Quasi-judicial mechanisms such as administrative tribunals, national human rights institutions including ombudspersons or human rights commissions have also an important role in examining cases of its violations, carry out inquiries and investigations, and recommend the adoption of appropriate measures to local, regional or national authorities. Such mechanisms are important for placing political and legal pressure upon the authorities responsible for implementing SDG4.
Human rights framework: rights, duties and responsibilities
Monitoring the implementation of SDG4 should, in all situations, take into account the core responsibility of governments but it also involves social responsibility of all other stakeholders in education, where public interest remains inviolable. Social responsibility of enterprises and the corporate sector is a widely recognized phenomenon and must be reinforced with greater accountability. Social responsibility in education should be overriding consideration with respect to voluntary and collaborative relationships between various parties, both public and non-public, in which all participants agree “to work together to achieve a common purpose (….).”[27] The euphoria for multi-stakeholder partnerships carries potential risks for education to be unduly shaped by corporate interests and can pave way for its commercialization. Public policy must ensure that multi-stakeholders and all public-private partnerships are harnessed to broader public interest, with “strong public institutions” and a “sound regulatory framework.”[28]
In this respect, it is pertinent to bear in mind that the human rights framework carries duties and responsibilities of developing and developed countries as well as of multi-stakeholders. The concept of rights and duties is also enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 29). Besides, its importance is recognized in the United Nations General Assembly in the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.[29] Perception of human rights by the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), which recognizes the interdependence of rights and duties,[30] is also a pertinent consideration.
National structures for implementation of SDG4 and indicators

National structures for implementation are putting in place some countries in the course of implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Agenda. These should give special consideration to SDG4 as it concerns all dimensions of sustainable development. Education for sustainable development is of overriding importance for implementing SDG4. Promoting principles, values and practices of sustainable development into all aspects of education and learning was the objective of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014). Its continued pursuit is of abiding importance for implementing SDG4.
Existing mechanisms, notably National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) have an important role in examining and assessing the progress made. They can take up with concerned authorities matters related to the gaps, impediments and shortcomings and prevalent inequities in the implementation of the SDG4, bearing in mind that the right to education is also a collective right of which the society as a whole is beneficiary. Such an approach is also crucial as regards endeavor of civil society partners with whom Governments should maintain a dialogue for their continuous engagement for promoting the right to education as being central to the development agenda.
Based on indicators and benchmark that must be reached within an agreed time frame, governments should be required to annually report on progress as well as shortcomings in the implementation of SDG4, with strategies to overcome these. Marginalization and exclusion and prevailing inequities can be measured by quantitative indicators which are also important in showing budgetary allocations and scale of investment in education.
The indicators for the implementation of the SDG4 must capture the phenomenon of prevalence of private schools and educational institutions in a country and scale of their operations vis-à-vis public education establishments. Advocacy for putting an end to privatization in education and its commercialization and expanding the public education system with the focus on enhanced affirmative action and promotional measures necessary for making the education system inclusive and equitable can be most valuable in ensuring that the SDG4 remains on the right track.
Role of the Parliamentarians
Parliamentarians as public figures have a crucial role in taking up the cause of education as a high national priority and accordingly to ensure that this strategic area benefits from maximum possible national investment. They are custodian of national legislation which can serve as a basis for devising a legal framework, policies and strategies for the education system. They also have an important voice in ensuring that quality and equity remain forefront in implementing SDG4.
Concluding Observations
Full implementation of SDG4 as also of all other SDGs in a faithful spirit respectful of human rights can be a transformative process for building a better world for today and tomorrow. Actions of governments, of all public entities, partners and stakeholders in education should be inspired by social justice and equity which are two core principles of the United Nations system for peace and development. These principles also underpin the vision of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. They are of paramount importance in all national endeavours for translating the right to education and SDG4 from an ideal into a living reality for all.

[1] Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, A/ RES. 70/1, 25 September 2015, para. 8.
[2] Ibid., para. 18.
[3] Ibid., para. 35.
[5] A/HRC/33/14, 29 September 2016.
[6] General Comment 13 on the right to education (Article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights), adopted by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights at its twenty-first session in 1999. E/C. 12/1999/10, 2 December 1999 (para. 1).
[7] Mohammed Bedjaoui, “The Right to Development”, in International Law: Achievements and Prospects, Mohammed Bedjaoui (General Editor) (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers; UNESCO, 1991), para. 14, p. 1182.
[8] Vienna Declaration and Programmme of Action, June 1993, Part I, para. 10, and Part II, para. 72. Available from
[9] Established under various international human rights conventions, notably, UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the right to education lays dawn obligations for States to respect, fulfill and safeguard it.
[10] The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights establishes the right to technical and vocational education and training as part of the rights to education and to work. General Comment 13 on the right to education (Article 13 of the ICESCR), adopted by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights at its twenty-first session in 1999. E/C.12/1999/10, 2 December 1999 (para. 15) .
[11] This is paradoxical as the Asian region played a pioneering role in setting the global education agenda at Jomtien (Thailand) in 1990. The region also provided the forum for shaping the 2030 Education Agenda.  Moreover, the flagship project at UNESCO on Education for sustainable development emanated from the region.
[12] The World Social Science Report 2016: “Challenging Inequalities: Pathways to a Just World”, prepared by the International Social Science Council (ISSC) and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and co-published with UNESCO. The report gave the warning that concentration of economic and political power in the hands of a small number of people can threaten growth, social cohesion and the health of democracies.
[14] See “State responsibility for regulating private providers of education and preserving education as a public good”, Report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education (A/69/402, 24 September 2014) and “Regulating private providers in education and safeguarding education as a public good”, Report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education (A/HRC/29/30, 10 June 2015).
[15] See General Comment No. 24 on State obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the context of business activities, E/C.12/GC/24, 10 August 2017.
[16] The Convention on the Rights of the Child states that “State Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status” (Article 2 §1).
[17] Private Education Act No. 21 (2009) of Singapore provides a laudable example of how States can effectively regulate and control privatization in education with broader public interest where acting ‘fraudulently or dishonestly’ or ‘misleading’ the public is punishable by law.
[18] Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483, 74 S.Ct.686, 98 L.Ed.873 (1954), as cited in Education Law, Education Series, Chapter 4, ‘Students Rights’, Law Journal Press, New York, 2002.
[19] Human Development Report 2013: The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World (UNDP, New York), p. 78.
[20] The Report by the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-First Century to UNESCO: “Learning: the Treasure within” (1996). Available at:
[21] “A New Global Partnership”, the Report of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, available at:
[22] Committee on Rights of the Child, General Comment No. 1 on Article 29, CRC/GC/2001/1, 17 April 2001, para.3. Convention assigns to education the aim of developing “respect for human rights, for the child’s parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values, for the national values of the country in which the child is living, the country from which he or she may originate, and for civilizations different from his or her own” (Article  29).
[23] Articles 1 (e) and 6 (d) of the World Declaration on Higher Education for the Twenty-First Century: Vision and Action, adopted at UNESCO in 1998.
[24] Paris Declaration on Promoting citizenship and the common values of freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination through education, 17 March 2015.
[25] “Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, Opt. Cit.
[26] Ibid.
[27] The Resolution adopted by General Assembly: Towards global partnerships: a principle-based approach to enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and all relevant partners (A/RES/68/234, 7 February 2014).
[28] Recommendation of the Council on Principles for Public Governance of Public-Private Partnerships (OECD, May 2012).
[29] The Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 53/144 of 9 December 1998.
[30] The ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, adopted on 18 November 2012 states that “The enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms must be balanced with the performance of corresponding duties as every person has responsibilities to all other individuals, the community and the society where one lives”  (article 6).

Author: Kishore Singh is former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education. 

* The views contained in this article are attributable to the author and do not represent the institutional views of the South Centre or its Member States.

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