Education has become a traded service

by KATARINA TOMAŠEVSKI, Professor of International Law and International Relations at Lund University, Sweden, and founder of the Right to Education Project, published on Right to Education on April 5, 2004.
(Excerpt): … When the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights was drafting its general comment on the right to education, it had to conclude that it had received not a single one of detailed plans of action, although almost half the countries reporting to the Committee had to acknowledge that education was neither free, nor compulsory, nor all-encompassing. So indeed, the right to education is neglected and there are too many reasons for this. The first reason for this is [that] requiring governments to adopt detailed plans of action to put primary education into practice without providing them with any assistance is simply not a feasible proposal. So the reason why there are no plans of action is that the government would have to invest its resources to create a plan of action which would remain unfunded. There are plans of action, not for the right to education but for the accomplishment of primary education under poverty reduction strategy papers, which means institutions which do not follow the right to education approach, such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, get from heavily indebted countries their poverty reduction strategy papers which have to include allocation for primary education and primary health care. But this is not the right place. There is no guarantee that education should be free; if it is not free then it can’t be compulsory, and if it is neither free nor compulsory, it is not all-encompassing. So what happens is that we get most action and funding for education completely outside United Nations human rights bodies … (Read the whole interview on this page).

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