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LGD 2005 (1) - Tomasevski

 

Not Education for All, Only for Those Who Can Pay: The World Bank’s Model for Financing Primary Education

 

Katarina Tomasevski,
Professor of International Law and International Relations,
Lund University,
Lund, Sweden.
and
Founder,
Right to Education Project,
www.right-to-education.org

tomasev@inet.uni2.dk

Abstract

This paper examines rights-based and non-rights based strategies in education. It is inspired by a paradox in current developments. Current global strategies prioritize poverty reduction but do no include a commitment to free primary education. Thus, those unable to pay the charges (‘user fees’) levied in public primary education, which should be but is not free, are excluded from education. This closes off their pathway out of poverty and defies both international human rights law and the global commitment to poverty reduction. The World Bank’s policy and practice is the focus of this paper. The evolution of its policy in the past decades has led to its formal acknowledgment that primary education should be free. Translating this commitment into practice necessitates investigating whether primary school actually is free. This paper examines the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) of the first 40 heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) to determine whether charges are levied in public primary school and, if so, whether there is any commitment by the government concerned and the World Bank to eliminate them. The paper argues that this analysis should form a part of the debt relief process but this is not the case. The reason is the continuing exclusion of international human rights law from the World Bank’s debt relief and educational finance strategies. The text highlights the roll-back of charges in primary school in a series of African countries as an implicit challenge of the denial of the right to education and a model that could, and should, be mainstreamed.

Keywords: Right to Education, Debt Relief, Education for All (EFA), Fast Track Initiative (FTI), Global Education Strategies, Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC), Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs), Primary Education, User Fees, World Bank


This is a refereed article published on: 5 October 2005

Citation: Tomasevski, K, ‘Not Education for All, Only for Those Who Can Pay: The World Bank’s Model for Financing Primary Education’, 2005 (1) Law, Social Justice & Global Development Journal (LGD). <http://www.go.warwick.ac.uk/elj/lgd/2005_1/tomasevski>


1. Introduction

Providing education for all forms part of global development targets, but the goals and strategies of the Education for All (EFA) campaign1 and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 2 vary and neither fully includes the right to education as defined in international human rights law. This text explores the difference between rights-based and non-rights-based approaches, focussing on free or for-fee education. International human rights law requires primary education to be free, but this requirement does not inform World Bank’s education strategy and its associated debt relief and lending policies. The World Bank describes itself as ‘the world's largest external financier of education’3 and the impact of its approach to education is therefore considerable.

Law is symmetrical, and the right to education entails corresponding government obligations. Children are prioritised; education should be free for them so that it can be all-encompassing and compulsory. This entails guaranteed rather than discretionary budgetary allocations so that the full cost of primary education can be met through public funds. The symmetry in law associates individual entitlements with corresponding governmental obligations, linking empowerment with accountability. That approach is not followed by the World Bank. Although most governments are legally bound to protect and promote the right to education, the World Bank does not recognise that education is a human right. The consequent global dichotomy of rights- and non-rights-based strategies exerts conflicting pressures upon governments. Because access to international development finance, including debt relief, is guided by non-rights-based approaches and decided through extra-legal procedures, the right to education is harmed rather than helped, as is the rule of law on which human rights are based.

It is becoming unlikely that education for all would be attained by 2015, mostly as it has not been achieved through any of the previous, similar pledges. At the turn of the millennium, global strategies converged around the goal of eliminating gender disparities in basic education by the year 2005.4 This first time-bound target was not attained. The British Secretary of State for International Development announced at the beginning of 2005 that, at the meeting to assess MDGs, ‘there will be no escaping the fact that we have collectively failed.5 This text argues that such collective failures cannot be remedied because the promises made have carefully avoided affirming the equal rights of girls and reinforcing the corresponding governmental obligations. A step in this direction is an increasing global convergence on the need for increased public funding so as to ensure universal primary6 education. That it should also be free is, today, accepted in principle by all key international actors in global education strategies, including the World Bank.7 This is an improvement in comparison with the rhetoric of the previous two decades.

A further step, making education free, necessitates ascertaining whether primary education is actually free. There is virtually no internationally comparable information on the costs of nominally free public education which families, or the children themselves, have to bear. Because there is no information on the real costs of supposedly free education, it cannot inform global financing strategies. Also, there is no agreement on the meaning of ‘free’, and, even less so, on the corresponding public responsibility to finance compulsory education. The most important reason is the lack of global consensus that primary education should be a public responsibility because this would entail major changes in financing strategies, starting with the World Bank. To make education free, all direct, indirect and opportunity costs would have to be identified so as to be gradually eliminated through their substitution by public allocations. This requires increased and guaranteed public funding, for which there simply is no commitment as yet.8 Instead, the World Bank’s approach to financing education has marginalised human rights in favour of long-term minimal quantitative targets.

This paper examines fiscal and education policies generated within the debt relief process at the World Bank. Its Fast Track Initiative (FTI)9 has undermined governmental human rights obligations by a funding model that reinforces discretionary — and inadequate — budgetary allocations for education in highly-indebted poor countries. The common feature of these countries is the insufficient coverage of primary education and, often, direct charges in public schools, which prevent those unable to afford them from starting and completing primary education.

Two issues are prioritised in this text. Firstly, charges in public primary school exclude all those unable to pay them, contradicting the legal requirement whereby education should be free for all primary-school age children so that it can be made all-encompassing and compulsory. Secondly, this human rights rationale supports poverty alleviation. Direct charges in public education hinder the attainment of education for all by excluding the poor,10 closing off their principal pathway out of poverty.

The economic rationale for the right to education is that inability to afford the cost of school deprives children of education and countries of an educated labour force. Governments are obliged to eliminate all financial obstacles so that all children can complete compulsory education.11 International human rights law requires progressive realisation of the right to education and envisages international cooperation as a means to remedy the inability of individual countries to attain at least the global minimum, namely, free and compulsory primary education until children reach the minimum age of employment. Countries that are unable to ensure that minimum are required to elaborate plans and seek international assistance so as to comply with their obligations as rapidly as possible.12 Rather than progressive realisation of the right to education, many developing countries and countries in transition experienced retrogression in this regard. Direct charges in public education were often introduced through cost-sharing, aimed at debt servicing which has been prioritised over human rights obligations.13

2. The Changing Fate of Free Primary Education Within the World Bank in the Past Decades

There was full global consensus behind the right to education when international human rights were first articulated within the International Labour Organisation14 and then, after the Second World War, elaborated within United Nations through a series of international treaties.15 Enrolments rapidly expanded in the 1960s, halted in the aftermath of economic crises in the 1970s, and then decreased in quite a few, especially African, countries due to diminished public funding for education.16 The initial consensus underpinning the right to education was ruptured through a redefined role of the state. The World Bank has questioned whether the state should provide education: ‘Although the state still has a central role in ensuring provision of basic services — education, health, infrastructure — it is not obvious that the state must be the only provider, or a provider at all’.17 The human rights approach would have safeguarded budgetary allocations necessary to ensure free education for all school-age children, but the World Bank’s approach went in the opposite direction. The cost of primary schooling was removed from the public to the private budget, from the government to the family. Charges for public schooling, which should have been free, openly challenged the binding force of international and domestic human rights law.

In 1983, direct charges in public education were imposed in Malawi, following the World Bank’s advice.18 Its lending for education included provisions for cost-sharing, exemplified in a variety of school fees and other financial contributions by families and communities. The World Bank justified its ‘judicious use of modest fees’ by arguing for the accountability of public schools to taxpayers and, more importantly, to parents.19 In 1990, noting that cost-sharing was more appropriate in post-primary education, the World Bank nevertheless hailed the significant sums raised by direct charges in primary education.20 Its 1992 commitment to social expenditure, including primary education, 21 marked a signpost of reversal towards its previous endorsement of publicly-financed primary education. The World Bank’s education strategy affirmed in 1999 that many states recognised education as a human right, but was silent on the corresponding governmental obligation to secure free primary education for all school-age children. Because education is a right guaranteed by international human rights law and national constitutions, it forms a part of the law in most World Bank borrowers’ jurisdictions.22 Indeed, the World Bank’s earlier education strategies had referred to the right to education and the corresponding governmental obligation to make and keep primary education free.23

Further in-house reconsiderations followed after the turn of the millennium. In September 2001, a statement announced that the World Bank opposed user fees for primary education, explaining this by the inevitable economic exclusion of the poor. The text continued: ‘Where governments do levy user fees, the Bank helps governments to reduce the burden on poor people by recommending, and providing finance for, targeted subsidies’. Direct charges in nominally free public school were thus to be opposed only where levied by the central government, exempting those levied by local communities or schools.24 Such charges, however, often result from insufficient funding for education by the central government, which leads to informal charges to parents and other fund-raising initiatives at the school level in supplementing public funding.25

The initial global consensus whereby at least primary education should be free was restored, at least rhetorically, in the first years of the new millennium. The World Bank’s in-house survey, completed in 2002, showed that charges (‘fees’) were much more widespread than had been assumed — charges were imposed in 97 percent of the 79 countries surveyed. Furthermore, direct charges were imposed even where the borrower’s laws, including the constitutional guarantees,26 provided that primary education should be free. The survey then explained the paucity of data thus:

Very few countries compile data on the contributions of fees more generally to the public sector, even when the fees are commonplace, often because these fees may be formally unconstitutional, as in the Middle East and North Africa, or because they may be technically illegal, as in most of the CIS countries.27

The open acknowledgment that direct charges in public education breach the law raises two important issues. The first is whether technically illegal practices form part of World Bank’s lending for education. The World Bank’s efforts to promote the rule of law in borrowing countries are inevitably undermined by its support for public policies in breach the country’s own as well as international law.28 Moreover, accountability necessitates safeguards against arbitrariness in selective resort to the law, ‘whereby parts of law are followed while others are flouted. Thus, school fees in primary education may be charged or teachers’ trade union freedoms denied in breach of international and domestic law, undermining the very notion of the rule of law’29.The second issue is the insufficient knowledge about the real costs of education, especially where the law mandates it to be free while it is not while no systematic data are collected.30

Paradoxically, knowledge about school fees and other financial contributions has increased with governmental policies to abolish them. The roll-back of direct charges in a series of African countries during the past decade, discussed in Section 4 below, resulted in immediate and huge increases in primary school enrolments. This demonstrated that direct charges had been a huge obstacle to children’s enrolment. It also reinforced the need to close the knowledge gap about free or for-fee education. Debt relief and increased aid for education were expected to facilitate the elimination of direct charges in public primary education in order to ensure – or resume – free primary education. Because direct payments by families, communities and the children themselves had to be replaced by public funds, it is useful to examine whether the debt relief process and the associated World Bank’s Fast Track Initiative has paid attention to legal and anti-poverty facets of educational financing by examining whether primary education was free as it should be.

3. Free or For-Fee Primary Education in the World Bank’s Current Policy and Practice


The HIPC (Heavily Indebted Poor Countries) process was designed, inter alia, to alleviate unsustainable debt and thereby increase funding for education. The required poverty reduction strategy papers (PRSPs) have been described as ‘the principal development planning documents’, aimed to ‘enable and solidify donor and country partnerships around a common development framework’31. They furnish authoritative descriptions of current and planned public finance for education. They are scrutinised by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, which tend to object to the inclusion of ‘uncosted measures therein’, namely ‘weak costing and lack of integration with the budget’32. Also, their assessments prioritise affordability of public policies aimed at poverty reduction, and call for reviews of the public sector ‘in light of its fiscal implications’33.

Table 1 lists the first 40 poor, heavily indebted countries, which have had their PRSPs endorsed by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The PRSPs have been reviewed so as to extract information on direct charges in public primary education and the government’s commitment to their abolition or retention. By May 2005, the number of countries with endorsed PRSP increased by six and additional twelve countries were in the process of preparing them.34

The 40 HIPC countries whose PRSPs35 have been analysed are listed alphabetically in Table 1 and the year in which the PRSP was adopted is noted.36 Indicatively, only three out of 40 countries have claimed universal access to primary education. 37 The table provides references to direct charges in primary education and to the commitments to free or for-fee primary education in the right-hand column. Three options have been chosen, to make (or keep) primary education free by the majority of 26 countries, to continue the charges (four countries), and to retain the charges while providing exemptions (14 countries), especially for girls or the poor.38 Quite a few countries, as will be discussed in Section 4, had made commitments to free primary education before qualifying for debt relief. All have emphasised the need for additional international finance so as to be able to translate this commitment into reality.

Table 1: Free or for-fee: Public primary education in PRSPs

             

Country

Year

Direct charges in public primary school

Yes No

Should these charges be retained?

Yes No Partially

Albania

2002

 

 

 

Armenia

2003

 

 

 

Azerbaijan

2003

 

 

 

Benin

2003

 

 

 

Bolivia

2001

 

 

 

Bosnia & Herzegovina

2004

 

 

 

Burkina Faso

2000

     

√ (girls)

Cambodia

2003

     

√ (the poor)

Cameroon

2003

   

 

Chad

2003

 

   

Djibouti

2004

     

√ (the poor)

Ethiopia

2002

 

   

Gambia

2002

   

 

Ghana

2003

 

   

Georgia

2003

 

 

 

Guinea

2002

     

√ (the poor)

Guyana

2002

 

   

Honduras

2001

 

 

 

Kenya

2004

   

 

Kyrgyzstan

2003

     

√ (the poor)

Madagascar

2003

   

 

Malawi

2002

   

 

Mali

2003

   

 

Mauritania

2001

 

 

 

Mongolia

2003

     

√ (the poor)

Mozambique

2001

     

√ (the poor)

Nepal

2003

     

√ (the poor)

Nicaragua

2001

 

 

 

Niger

2002

 

 

 

Pakistan

2004

     

√ (the poor)

Rwanda

2002

     

Senegal

2002

   

Serbia & Montenegro

2004

 

 

 

Sri Lanka

2003

 

 

 

Tajikistan

2002

     

√ (the poor)

Tanzania

2000

   

 

Uganda

2000

   

 

Vietnam

2002

     

Yemen

2002

     

√ (girls)

Zambia

2002

   

 

Sources: Albania - National Strategy for Socio-Economic Development of (February 2002); Armenia – Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (November 2003); Azerbaijan - State Programme on Poverty Reduction and Economic Development 2003-2005 (May 2003); Benin - Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper 2003-2005 (March 2003); Bolivia - Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (March 2001); Bosnia and Herzegovina – Mid-Term Development Strategy of Bosnia and Herzegovina [PRSP] (March 2004); Burkina Faso - Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (May 2000); Cambodia - National Poverty Reduction Strategy 2003-2005 (January 2003); Cameroon – Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (April 2003); Chad – National Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (June 2003); Djibouti – Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (March 2004); Ethiopia - Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction Program (October 2002); Gambia – Strategy for Poverty Alleviation [SPA II] (April 2002); Ghana - Poverty Reduction Strategy 2003-2005: An Agenda for Growth and Prosperity (March 2003); Georgia – Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Program [Draft] (June 2003); Guinea – Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (January 2002); Guyana - Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (May 2002); Honduras - Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (September 2001); Kyrgyzstan - Expanding the Country’s Capacities: National Poverty Reduction Strategy 2003-2005 (January 2003); Malawi - Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper: Final Draft (August 2002); Madagascar – Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (October 2003); Mali - Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper: Final PRSP (February 2003); Mauritania - Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (December 2000); Mongolia – Economic Growth Support and Poverty Reduction Strategy (July 2003); Mozambique - Action Plan for the Reduction of Absolute Poverty 2001-2005 (October 2001); Nepal – Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper 2002-2007 (May 2003); Nicaragua - A Strengthened Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy (September 2001); Niger - Full Poverty Reduction Strategy Prepared by the Government of Niger (January 2002); Pakistan – Accelerating Economic Growth and Reducing Poverty: The Road Ahead [Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper] (December 2003); Rwanda - Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (2001); Senegal - Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (November 2002); Serbia and Montenegro – Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (June 2004); Sri Lanka - Regaining Sri Lanka: Vision and Strategy for Accelerated Development (February 2003); Tajikistan - Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (October 2002); Tanzania - Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (October 2000); Uganda – Uganda’s Poverty Eradication Action Plan (March 2000); Vietnam - The Comprehensive Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy (June 2002); Yemen - Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper 2003-2005 (July 2002); Zambia – Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper 2002-2004 (March 2002). Full texts of all these documents are available on World Bank’s website (http://www.worldbank.org/hipc).

The varied analyses of the PRSPs and the literature they have triggered is beyond the scope of this paper, but it is important to note that governmental human rights obligations have not been analysed in the PRSP process,39 nor has a scrutiny of PRSPs based on the human rights yardstick been carried out.40 As a tentative step in that direction, the Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (PSIA), has thus far been ‘limited’.41 Gender analysis would have been particularly beneficial because of proven negative effects of direct charges on the girls’ enrolment in and completion of education.42 The frequency of commitments to eliminate direct charges for girls, even if those for boys are retained, is shown in Table 1. The global commitment to the elimination of gender disparity in education reinforces the need to eliminate financial obstacles so as to design, in the words of the World Bank education policies that are poverty-focussed, such as eliminating user fees for primary education.43 Nevertheless, the elimination of direct charges has not been integrated in the HIPC process, nor indeed in the World Bank’s Fast Track Initiative.

The Fast-Track Initiative (FTI) was launched in April 2002 and initially encompassed 18 prospective candidate countries.44 These are included in Table 1 because all are, by no coincidence, party to the debt relief process. The FTI is in World Bank’s own words, ‘embedded in the PRSP’45. These selected countries were planned to be ‘fast-tracked’ towards the completion of primary schooling in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).46 At the end of 2002, at a joint meeting of the World Bank, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the European Union, seven countries were selected (Burkina Faso, Guinea, Guyana, Honduras, Mauritania, Nicaragua, and Niger) for the first phase of ‘fast-tracking’.47 By the end of 2004, the seven were supplemented by five additional countries (Gambia, Ghana, Mozambique, Vietnam and Yemen), bringing the number to 12, and in May 2005, the number increased to 14 (with the addition of Ethiopia and Moldova) of the originally anticipated 18.48 The door was opened for a range of additional countries, not involved in debt relief, to join FTA but, since not a single one of the 12 originally fast-tracked countries obtained the educational funding it needed, the FTI's prospects became uncertain two years after it had been established.49 Its meeting in November 2004 emphasised the FTI's commitment to ‘promoting increased and more efficient financing for primary education’ as well as to ensuring ‘integration of education policies and programs within country-wide macro-economic and development strategies such as Poverty Reduction Strategies’.50 Regarding funding, the FTI's own financing gap remained acute with over one-third of the estimate unmet, while it ‘had the unintended effect of creating a parallel planning process’51.

The FTI has been hailed as the first focussed financing framework for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in education and, at least partly, for the Education for All (EFA) commitments.52 However, its association with debt relief raised questions about the conflict of interests inherent in the fact that the World Bank is a creditor.53 Furthermore, the FTI’s one-size-fits-all policy framework is at odds with international human rights law.54 That framework was developed by extracting key education policies pursued by those countries which were assessed by the World Bank as having been successful in meeting the minimum quantitative targets.55 These had initially been benchmarks, required for national education policies to be assessed as ‘sound’ or ‘credible’. 56 That requirement was softened and ‘benchmarks [should] be applied flexibly on the basis of country circumstances’ as ‘best practice rather than an obligatory pathway’.57 However, at the same time, one of the conditions set for Niger was ‘limiting grade 6 repetition rate to 15 percent or less’,58 raising the question whether it was only rhetoric that was actually softened.


4. The Missing Human Rights Rationale Against Educational Exclusion of Poor Children

Primary education ought to be free for children because they cannot pay for themselves nor should they. Although education constitutes one of the few accepted duties for children because it is compulsory,59 the a key correlated right of childhood is freedom from adult responsibilities. This is reflected in the global prohibition of child labour and the concordance between the school-leaving age and the minimum age for employment.60 The rule whereby education should be free so as to be compulsory has formed part of international human rights law from the very beginning. This does not imply that education is free for the parents, community, society or the state much as no other human right is cost-free. The global consensus about services that the government should provide for the whole population, free at the point of use, is reflected in international human rights law, which defines human rights and the corresponding government obligations.

Public funding for education necessitates acceptance of government powers to raise revenue through taxation and to prioritise the right to education, especially for children, in the budgetary allocations.61 That primary school should be free of financial costs for the child has generated consensus but not its corollary, that primary education should be publicly financed. Parents are expected to finance education of their children, and they are primarily responsible to do so. However, for parentless children and those whose parents are too poor to afford the cost of school, governments should act in loco parentis. The law cannot oblige governments to do the impossible, 62 but should insist on their doing everything they can within their remit. Poverty-based exclusion from education highlights the essence of governmental human rights obligation to be the provider of last resort,63 and the importance of international cooperation in facilitating, rather than hindering, the universalisation of education.

Direct charges are levied under different names and in various forms,64 but whatever name they bear, their effect is to undermine the explicit requirement of human rights law that primary education should be free. Moreover, they impose upon the parents the obligation to fully finance the education of their children and often force the children themselves to earn the cost of their schooling. The duty to financially contribute to the cost of primary education is spread among the whole population where education is financed by the state out of general taxation. Taxation exempts the poorest. Where charges are levied in primary school, those who are too poor to afford the cost are often not exempt. If there are exemptions, they tend be too cumbersome or too expensive. In Zambia, ‘reducing cost barriers for the ultra-poor’ through bursaries, as planned by the World Bank,65 has raised questions as to which children will be classified as ‘ultra-poor’ to merit bursaries, and whether the administrative costs of collecting school fees (necessarily minuscule) and administrating bursaries (also minuscule) would not exceed the ostensible savings. This provides an illustration as to why primary education was designed to be free.

5. The Rolling-Back of Direct Charges: Back to Free Education

Commitments to free primary education re-entered global education strategies at the turn of the millennium after three decades of discord. They followed initiatives of individual governments. Malawi led the way in 199466 and Uganda followed in 1997.67 Tanzania made big strides towards abolishing direct charges in 2001, while Zambia announced a similar pledge in 2002, and Kenya formally made primary education free in 2003.68

This roll-back exposed and opposed the denial of the right to education to poor countries, communities, families and children stemming from the absence of remedies for poverty-based exclusion from education. Such remedies are available in few countrie 69 and not at all internationally. It is useful to recall that year 2003 marked 20th anniversary of the United Nations’ Children Fund (UNICEF)’s first report on the impact of the world recession on children,70 which was followed by its well-known report Adjustment with a Human Face. 71 The Committee on the Rights of the Child has often referred to children as ‘the victims of economic reform’72, reminding governments that children’s rights require the maximum extent of available resources to be deployed towards their realisation. The failure to do so is detrimental for the right to education. Indeed, the 2001 EFA Monitoring Report singled out ‘those who can afford the costs of schooling’73 as being excluded from education.

Open acknowledgments of the reality gap are often found in government reports under human rights treaties.74 Many refer to the governments’ inability — rather than unwillingness — to introduce or restore free education for all children of compulsory school age, which often resulted from creditors’ strategies for debt repayment.75

Human rights necessitate the broadening the rule of law to global finance and education strategies, especially to eliminate financial obstacles, because these can jeopardise or annihilate individual entitlements. Domestically, solidarity is enforced through the duty to pay tax from which education is generally financed. Internationally, the universality of the right to education is premised on international cooperation to equalise opportunities for the enjoyment of the right to education by supplementing insufficient resources of poor countries.

Many, if not all, individual rights are beyond the reach of those who have been deprived of education, especially those which are essential for poverty eradication. Education operates as multiplier, enhancing the enjoyment of all individual rights and freedoms where the right to education is effectively guaranteed, while depriving people of the enjoyment of many rights and freedoms where it is denied. Without education, people are impeded from access to employment. Lower educational accomplishment routinely prejudices career advancement. Lower salaries negatively affect old-age security. Denial of the right to education triggers exclusion from the labour market and marginalisation into the informal sector, accompanied by the exclusion from social security schemes because of the prior exclusion from the labour market. Where poverty results from the denial of rights, the remedy is the affirmation and enforcement of all human rights, including the right to education.

Endnotes

1 During the early post-war decades, global education strategies promoted universal primary education in line with the requirements of international human rights law. Education for All (EFA) emerged in 1990 through the Jomtien Conference, United Nations (199)), ‘Final Report of the World Conference on Education for All: Meeting Basic Learning Needs’, Jomtien, Thailand, 5-9 March 1990, Inter-Agency Commission (UNDP, UNESCO, UNICEF, World Bank) for the World Conference on Education for All, New York. The Jomtien Conference was convened against the diminishing coverage of primary education in the 1980s, especially in Africa, and the reduced governments’ capacity to halt further retrogression. The 1990 Jomtien Declaration did not include a requirement for primary education to be free and compulsory. It stated that providing basic education for all was ‘the unique obligation’ of national, regional and local authorities and immediately added that the authorities could not be expected to carry out that obligation alone, hence partnerships would be necessary with families, religious groups, local communities, non-governmental organisations as well as the private sector. Also, the documents generated at Jomtien Conference used terms such as ‘access to education’ or ‘meeting learning needs’ instead of the right to education. Since the Jomtien Declaration was adopted less than one year after the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which had been adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 20 November 1989 by its Resolution 44/25, two divergent approaches impeded a uniform, rights-based global education strategy. The Fourth Global Meeting of the International Consultative Forum on Education for All took place in Dakar on 26-28 April 2000 and adopted the Framework for Action (World Education Forum (2000) ‘The Dakar Framework for Action - Education for All: Meeting Our Collective Commitments’, Text adopted by the World Education Forum, Dakar, Senegal, 26-28 April 2000, para 3, available at http://www2.unesco.org/wef/en-conf/dakframeng.shtm.) It was based on the acknowledgment that the commitments made at Jomtien in 1990 had not been met. The World Bank’s statement at the World Education Forum referred to free primary education as a long-term plan for the year 2015. The World Bank’s president at the time, James Wolfenson, supported the ‘call that by the year 2015 free education be a right for all children up to age 15’ (Wolfenson, J D (2000) ‘A Time for Action: Placing Education at the Core of Development’, Presentation at the World Education Forum, Dakar, 27 April 2000,aavailable at http://www2unecso.org/wef/en-news/coverage_speech_wolfen.shtm).

2 There is a difference between the EFA and the MDGs. The Dakar Framework affirmed that ‘education is a fundamental right’ and that education for all by 2015 meant ‘free and compulsory education of good quality.’ (World Education Forum (2000) ‘The Dakar Framework for Action - Education for All: Meeting Our Collective Commitments’, Text adopted by the World Education Forum, Dakar, Senegal, 26-28 April 2000). The education-related Millennium Development Goal was formulated as follows: ‘Ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling’ (United Nations (2000), ‘United Nations Millennium Declaration’, General Assembly Resolution 55/2, 18 September 2000, para 19, full text and further information available at http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/. The 2003/4 EFA Global Monitoring Report commented: ‘The MDG targets for education, however, are cautiously phrased – they omit the mention of ‘free and compulsory’ primary schooling.’ (EFA (2003). ‘Gender and Education for All: The Leap to Equality: EFA Global Monitoring Report 2003/4’, (Paris: UNESCO), p. 27).

3 The full description is available at http://www1.worldbank.org/education.

4 The EFA strategy included a commitment to eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005. (World Education Forum (2000) ‘The Dakar Framework for Action - Education for All: Meeting Our Collective Commitments’, Text adopted by the World Education Forum, Dakar, Senegal, 26-28 April 2000, para. 3, available at http://www2.unesco.org/wef/en-conf/dakframeng.shtm.) That commitment was reinforced as one of the MDGs. An overview of all globally agreed targets regarding gender equality has been done by the United Nations Fund for Women (UNIFEM ), see UNIFEM (2003) Progress of the World’s Women 2002: Gender Equality and the Millennium Development Goals (United Nations: New York), pp. 4-5.

5 Department for International Development (2005). Girls' Education: Towards a Better Future for All, (London: DFID)DFID, p iii.

6 The MDGs use the term ‘primary’ education rather than ‘basic’ education which was forged at the Jomtien Conference in 1990. Primary schooling may be merely three years long with children finishing school at the age of 11. International human rights law requires longer free and compulsory education so that children reach at least the minimum age of employment, for which the global minimum is 14 years of age. The duration of schooling is also important for poverty reduction because research shows that it is secondary rather than primary education that contributes to poverty alleviation. The OECD has found that the foundation necessary to enable individuals Ato build up their human capita is upper-secondary education. (OECD (1998) Human Capital Investment: An International Comparison (Paris: OECD), p 93.) The government of South Korea has emphasised that secondary education had a ‘crucial relationship with economic growth’. (Ministry of Education (1996) ‘The Development of Education: National Report of the Republic of Korea’, Seoul, September 1996, p 1) The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has found that young people have to complete secondary education to achieve an 80 percent probability of avoiding poverty, and its subsequent research has confirmed that between 72 and 96 percent of families where the parents have less than nine years of education live in poverty. (Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (1997) The Equity Gap: Latin America, the Caribbean and the Social Summit, Santiago de Chile: ECLAC, p. 116; ECLAC (2000) Equidad, desarrollo y ciudadanía (Equity, Development and Citizenship), Santiago de Chile: ECLAC, p. 72.) Critiques of World Bank’s assertions that primary education yields poverty-reducing outcomes have been countered by findings that ‘primary schooling is manifestly not sufficient to enable poor households to help themselves to escape poverty’ (Curtin, T R C and Nelson, E A S (1999) ‘Economic and Health Efficiency of Education Funding Policy’, Social Science & Medicine 48, p. 1603).

7 John Daniel, the UNESCO Assistant General for Education at the time, noted in his editorial entitled ‘The Price of School Fees’ in the summer of 2004 that ‘in the 1990s some of our partners flirted with the idea of creating a market and charging fees for primary education’, adding that ‘UNESCO believes that it is better to uphold the principle of free primary education and to address energetically the quality challenge posed by an enrolment surge than to ration access to school through fees’, to conclude that ‘the unity of view on this issue between UNESCO and the World Bank is most encouraging’ (Daniel, John (2004) ‘Editorial’, Education Today, July - September 2004, available at http://www.unesco.org/education).

8 The Global Campaign for Education, a key non-governmental actor within global education strategies, pointed out in September 2003 that international aid for education amounted to an annual USD 1.45 billion, while closing the financing gap for the education strategies of poor and highly indebted countries that were accepted as sound by the creditors and donors would require increasing aid by an annual US$ 4 billion. (Global campaign for Education (2003) Education for All Fast Track: The No-Progress Report, Global Campaign for Education Briefing Paper, 11 September 2003 (Brussels: Global Campaign for Education)).

9 The FTI is described as ‘a global partnership between donor and developing countries’ aimed at accelerated progress towards universal primary education by 2015. It encompasses ‘all major donors for education’ and thereby amplifies World Bank's approach to education with respect to all poor countries with a ‘serious commitment’ to achieve the education-related MDG goal, evidenced in their ‘sound national education plans.’ (The full description is available at http://www1.worldbank.org/education/efafti).

10 Oxfam articulated its findings in 2001 thus: ‘Success in achieving universal basic education depends on education becoming affordable to the poor, and this requires the abolition of education charges’. (Oxfam (2001) ‘Education Charges: A Tax on Human Development’, Briefing Paper No. 3, p. 15).

11 The UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education stipulates that primary education should be free and compulsory, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights says that ‘primary education shall be compulsory and available free for all,’ while the Convention on the Rights of the Child defines as a governmental obligation to ‘make primary education compulsory and available free for all,’ urging governments to progressively achieve every child’s right to education on the basis of equal opportunity.’ UNICEF’s interpretation has been that the Convention on the Rights of the Child ‘countenances fees for private institutions, state kindergartens, secondary schools and universities.’ (Unicef (2001) A Decade of Transition, The MONEE Project CEE/CIS/Baltics, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Florence, p. 81).

12 The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights obliges each party which has not yet been able to secure compulsory education free of charge for all to develop and adopt a detailed plan of action for its progressive implementation. In interpreting this obligation, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights pointed out in 1999 that ‘where a State party is clearly lacking in the financial resources and/or expertise required to ‘work out and adopt’ a detailed plan, the international community has a clear obligation to assist. (Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1999) ‘General Comment 11: Plans of Action for Primary Education’, UN Doc. E/C.12/1999/4, para 9) The Dakar Framework for Action contains a similar provision and, in addition, it acknowledges that ‘many countries currently lack resources to achieve education for all’, adding that ‘that no countries seriously committed to education for all with be thwarted in their achievement of this goal by a lack of resources’. (World Education Forum (2000) ‘The Dakar Framework for Action - Education for All: Meeting Our Collective Commitments’, Text adopted by the World Education Forum, Dakar, Senegal, 26-28 April 2000, para 3, available at http://www2.unesco.org/wef/en-conf/dakframeng.shtm).

13 One legal challenge against prioritising debt repayment over budgetary allocations for education highlighted conflicting pressures upon governments. A group of senators in the Philippines claimed in 1991 that such budgetary allocations were unconstitutional. Although education should have been accorded the highest priority, Peso 86 billion was earmarked for debt servicing compared to Peso 27 billion for education. Because the Constitution of the Philippines obliges the government to assign the highest budgetary priority to education, the Court had to rule whether debt servicing, exceeding three times budgetary allocations for education, was unconstitutional. The Court did not find so. It held that the highest priority had been bestowed upon education, but debt servicing had been prioritised over education because it was necessary to safeguard the creditworthiness of the country and, thus, the survival of its economy. (Guingona, Jr v Carague, Supreme Court of the Philippines, GR No 94571, 22 April 1991).

14 The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention No 10 laid down in 1921 the prohibition of employment which prejudices children’s school attendance, setting the minimum age at 14. The ILO Convention 138 strengthened in 1973 the correspondence between school-leaving age and the minimum age for employment, raising it to 15. (International Labour Office (1996) ‘Child Labour: Targeting the Intolerable, International Labour Conference’, 86th session, 1998, Report VI (1), ILO, pp. 23-29). The global consensus behind the elimination of the worst forms of child labour, and the linkage between child labour and compulsory education was reflected in the 1998 ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work which applies world-wide, regardless of the adherence to specific human rights treaties. (International Labour Office (2002) ‘A Future without Child Labour. Global Report under the Follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work’, International Labour Conference, 90th Session, Report I (B), ILO, 2002).

15 The initial global consensus regarding the right to free and compulsory education for children, its historical underpinning in the elimination of child labour, and the ideological and political conflicts about the role of the state in education are described in Tomasevski, K(2003) Education Denied: Costs and Remedies (London: Zed Books) pp. 22-65.

16 The situation in the least developed countries in the 1980s was described as follows: ‘Public expenditure on education has sunk far below the levels needed to cover recurrent costs. For instance, in the United Republic of Tanzania in 1987 recurrent expenditures on education accounted for 12 per cent of total government recurrent expenditure - down from 16 per cent in 1983. In Somalia, only 6.3 per cent of total government expenditures were allocated for education in 1984 as compared to 11.1 per cent in 1976. In Malawi, education=s share of the recurrent budget had to be cut back from 12.7 per cent in 1979 to 9.3 per cent in 1987. In Nepal, total educational expenditure declined from 15.7 per cent of total government expenditure in 1982 to 10.8 per cent in 1985. Most critical is the fact that there are no signs of any reverse in this general decline in budgetary allocations for education. The education system in thus inevitably being pushed to the brink of collapse in most LDCs (the least developed countries)’ (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) (1990) The Least Developed Countries. 1989 Report, Prepared by the UNCTAD Secretariat, United Nations, New York, Doc. TD/B/1248, p. 56.

17 World Bank (1997) The State in a Changing World: World Development Report 1997 (Oxford: Oxford University Press), p. 27.

18 Tomasevski, K (2003) Education Denied: Costs and Remedies (London: Zed Books), pp. 73-73.

19 World Bank (1988) Education in Sub-Saharan Africa: Policies for Adjustment, Revitalization and Expansion (Washington, DC: World Bank), p. 53.

20 World Bank (1990) Primary Education (Washington, DC: World Bank), p. 44-45.

21 The World Bank’s adjustment lending policy, the Operational Directive 8.60, 21 December 1992, specifies that explicit conditionality may be appropriate to enhance the poverty orientation of social expenditures and to sustain their levels.

22 Kathleen Florestal and Robb Cooper have emphasised potential conflicts within the law, noting the need to ascertain ‘specific requirements concerning basic education, set out in constitutional acts or human rights charters’ (Florestal, K and Cooper, R (1997) Decentralization of Education. Legal Issues (Washington DC:World Bank), p. 15.

23 The World Bank’ s endorsement of free primary education had been included in its education sector policy paper in 1980 but not in its 1999 education strategy (World Bank (1980) Education Sector Policy Paper (Washington DC: World Bank) and World Bank (1999) Education Sector Strategy (Washington DC: World Bank).

24 The World Bank and user fees in health, education and water, see: World Bank Issue Brief, September 2001, available at: http://www.worldbank.org

25 Perkins, G and Yemtsov, R (2001) ‘Armenia: Restructuring to Sustain Universal General Education’, World Bank Technical Paper No. 498, March 2001, p. 11.

26 My review of all written constitutions in 2001 showed that the right to education was guaranteed in 142 countries while 44 had no such constitutional guarantee. (Commission on Human Rights(2001) ‘Annual Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, UN Doc. E/CN.4/2001/52, paras66-67) . A similar review carried out within the World Bank in 2003 showed that 116 constitutions guaranteed the right to education and 95 stipulated free education. (Gauri, V (2003) ‘ Rights and Economics: Claims to Health Care and Education in Developing Countries’, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 3006, March 2003, p. 1).

27 Kattan, R B and Burnett, N (2004) ‘User Fees in Primary Education’, World Bank, July 2004, http://www.worldbank.org/education/pdf/EFAcase_userfees.

28 The World Bank’s legal counsel at the time, Ibrahim Shihata, described in 1997 the remit of its Inspection Panel as confined to ‘the Bank’s failure to meet its standards, which are only required by itself and not by any binding rule of law.’ He ‘affirmed the full exemption of the World Bank from any judicial scrutiny because it enjoys legal immunity before domestic courts and no international litigation has ever been attempted. A unique situation thus persists where the World Bank is apparently bound only by those rules which it has created for itself, which is a considerable challenge for all advocates of the rule of law’. (Commission on Human Rights (2001) Annual Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, UN Doc. E/CN.4/2001/52, para 40).

29 Commission on Human Rights (2003). ‘The Right to Education’, Annual report submitted by Katarina Tomasevski, Special Rapporteur, UN Doc. E/CN.4/2003/9, para 5.

30 A study commissioned by United Kingdom’ Department for International Development (DFID) revealed in 2002 that in the six countries surveyed (Bangladesh, Kenya, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Zambia) various direct and indirect costs of education were paid by the families of primary school children despite the legal requirement that primary education be free. (Boyle, S et al (2002) Reaching the Poor: The Costs of Sending Children to School, (London: DFID).

31 International Monetary Fund and International Development Association (2003) ‘Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers – Progress in Implementation’, 12 September 2003, paras 9 and 37, http://www.worldbank.org/hipc.

32 International Monetary Fund and International Development Association (2003) ‘Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers – Progress in Implementation’, 12 September 2003, para.33, http://www.worldbank.org/hipc.

33 The International Monetary Fund and the International Development Association (2002) ‘Federal Republic of Yugoslavia: Assessment of the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP)’, 23 July 2002, p 2 http://poverty.worldbank.org/files/Yugoslavia_IPRSP_JSA.pdf

34 The PRSPs for Bhutan, Cape Verde, Laos, Moldova, Sao Tome and Principle and Sierra Leone were endorsed, while Bangladesh, Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo/Brazaville, Congo/Kinshasa, Cote d'Ivoire, Dominica, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia, Macedonia, and Uzbekistan were listed in various stages of preparing their PRSPs on 31 May 2005. http:// www.worldbank.org/hipc

35 The first ten countries whose PRSPs were endorsed by the Boards of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and who complied with all other conditions for PRSP-supported programmes were Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Guyana, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Tanzania and Uganda. By July 2004, they were joined by 4 countries, namely Ethiopia, Ghana, Niger and Senegal. Additional none countries were in July 2004 in between decision and completion points, with full PRSPs. These were: Cameroon, Chad, the Gambia, Guinea, Honduras, Madagascar, Malawi, Rwanda, and Zambia. Three more countries, Kenya, Vietnam and Yemen, finalized their PRSPs and these are also included in the table. (Board presentations of PRSP documents as of 31 July 2004, http:// www.worldbank.org/hipc).

36 The HIPC process is lengthy and numerous consecutive versions of PRSPs are furnished by the government. Typically, the first document is an interim PRSP, whose assessment by the IMF and the World Bank leads to the preparation of a full PRSP, which is formally discussed and endorsed by the Boards of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. A country’s entry in PRSP-supported programme subsequently leads to the preparation, adoption and endorsement of further documents. The lead time from interim to full PRSP can be longer than two years and each final document often exceeds 200 pages.

37 Armenia, Georgia and Sri Lanka have stated in their PRSPs that universal primary education has already been attained and outlined, instead, strategies for secondary education. However, there is no international confirmation that primary education has indeed become all-encompassing because the UNESCO Institute for Statistics has cited only figures for educational enrolment but completion. (UNESCO (2004) Global Education Digest 2004: Comparing Education Statistics Across the World (Montreal: UNESCO Institute for Statistics, http:// www.uis.unesco.org).

38 Specific formulations in the PRSPs have included, in the case of Guinea, a commitment to ‘reducing private expenditure on education, especially for disadvantaged population groups.’ (Guinea (2002) ‘Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper,’ January 2002, p. 85) In Nepal's PRSP, a reference has been to a (then) new programme ‘to provide free education up to tenth grade for oppressed, backward and below poverty line students’ (Nepal 92003) ‘Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper 2002-2007’, May 2003, p 53).

39 Fantu Cheru has noted that none of the PRSPs has attempted ‘to integrate major international human rights principles’. (Commission on Human Rights (2001) ‘Report Submitted by Fantu Cheru, Independent Expert on the Effects of Structural Adjustment Policies and Foreign Debt on the Full Enjoyment of All Human Rights, Particularly Economic, Social and Cultural Rights’, UN. Doc. E/CN.4/2001/56,18 January 2001, para 23).

40 The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has singled out the minimum threshold of international legal obligations towards whose attainment many developing countries should be helped. However, ‘if a national or international anti-poverty strategy does not reflect this minimum threshold, it is inconsistent with the legally binding obligations’. (Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (2001) ‘Statement Adopted by the Committee on 4 May 2001’, UN Doc. E/C.12/2001/10, 11 May 2001, para 17).

41 International Monetary Fund and the International Development Association (2003) ‘Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers – Progress in Implementation’,12 September 2003, para 17, http://www.worldbank.org/hipc.

42 The importance of free public education for girls has been described by Lebanon thus: ‘It is worth pointing out that there is a connection between the preponderance of females over males and free education, as females outnumber males in State education in particular (and most of them are from low-income families). By contrast, there is a higher ratio of males to females in private fee-paying education (and the proportion of those from middle- and high-income families is appreciably higher than is the case in State education). This suggests that males take preference over females when the family has to pay fees to educate their children. The high cost of education and the diminishing role of the State school may therefore result in the practice of discrimination against females, as well as breaches of the principle of equal educational opportunities for both sexes’ (UN Doc CRC/C/70/Add.8, 2000, para 209).

43 World Bank (2003) Opening Doors: Education and the World Bank (Washington DC: World Bank) p. 5 and 23.

44 The formal announcement of 12 June 2002 listed 18 countries invited to join the FTI (Albania, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guyana, Honduras, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, Zambia, and Yemen) and five to which World Bank pledged intensified support so as to make them eligible for financing under the FTI (Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan).

45 Development Committee (2004) ‘Education for All (EFA) - Fast Track Initiative. Progress Report’, 26 March 2004, Doc. DC2004-0002/1, p. iii.

46 Although the Fast Track Initiative is described as part of Education for All (EFA), it is confined to the completion of primary education and thus it embodies only one part of the EFA commitments. This was noted at the Meeting of Education Experts from EU Members and Norway of 10 February 2004, which objected to ‘the sub-sectoral focus of the FTI’, adding that ‘it has not been broadened to Education for All (EFA), in spite of the linkage between EFA and FTI’. The full text of the outcomes of the that meeting available at the European Union website http://europa.eu.int/comm/development/body/theme/human_social/pol_education3

47 UNESCO Education Web Digest, 2 December 2002, http://www.unesco.org/education/efa/news.

48 The conditions needed for FTI endorsement are ‘a poverty reduction strategy or equivalent, and a sound education sector plan, endorsed by in-country donors’ http://www1.worldbank.org/education/efafti/countries.

49 World Bank (2004) ‘Education for All (EFA) - Fast Track Initiative. Progress Report’, 26 March 2004, Doc. DC2004-0002/1, p. 2.

50 World Bank (2004) ‘Education for All-Fast Track Initiative Partnership Meeting’, 10 – 11 November 2004, Co-Chair Summary, http://www1.worldbank.org/education/efafti/fti_meeting.

51 FTI Secretariat (2004) ‘Education for All (EFA) - Fast Track Initiative (FTI) - Status Report Prepared for the Education for All Fast Track Initiative Annual Meeting’, 10 – 12 November 2004 http://www1.worldbank.org/education/efafti/fti_meeting.

52 Early developments within the FTI have been described in a series of reports prepared by the World Bank for the meetings of the Development Committee (Joint Ministerial Committee of the Boards of Governors of the Bank and the Fund on the Transfer of Real Resources to Developing Countries): ‘Education for Dynamic Economies: Accelerating Progress Towards Education for All (EFA)’, 18 September 2001, Doc. DC2001-0025; ‘Education for Dynamic Economies: Action Plan to Accelerate Progress Towards Education for All’, 9 April 2002, Doc. DC2002-0005/Rev.1; ‘Development Effectiveness and Scaling Up: Lessons and Challenges from Case Studies’, 18 September 2002, Doc. DC2002-0018; ‘Progress Report and Critical Next Steps in Scaling Up: Education for All, Health, HIV/AIDS, Water and Sanitation’, 3 April 2003, Doc. DC2003-0004/Add.1; and ‘Education for All (EFA) - Fast Track Initiative’, Progress Report, 26 March 2004, Doc. DC2004-0002/1.

53 The 2002 EFA Global Monitoring Report noted that ‘average debt relief under this programme over the period 2001-2005 will amount to around USD1 billion per year, of which approximately 40% should be available for education spending. On the other hand, since many of these countries would otherwise be in default, it is unclear what proportion of these funds represents genuine new resources to the nations concerned, if not to their education sectors’ (UNESCO (2002) Education for All: Is the World on Track?, EFA Global Monitoring Report 2002, (Paris: UNESCO), p. 175).

54 The absence of any reference to the international legal obligations of the states within the HIPC and/or FTI has prevented subsuming this process under the rule of law. The consequence is that commitments negotiated within HIPC and FTI can hinder rather than facilitate compliance with international human rights law. (Commission on Human Rights (2002) ‘Annual Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, Katarina Tomasevski’, UN Doc. E/CN.4/2002/60, paras 17-18) The disconnect between international legal requirements and HIPC and/or FTI strategies is illustrated by the duration of primary education which is below the globally accepted minimum, or the denial of teachers’ trade union freedoms as well as collective bargaining, as well as continued charges in primary education. (Commission on Human Rights (2003) ‘Annual Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, Katarina Tomasevski’, UN Doc. E/CN.4/2003/9, paras 12-13). For example, the EFA-FTI Status Report noted in November 2004 for Vietnam that ‘user fee charges remain a barrier to education in poor areas’ and for Niger that teachers' salaries had been brought down as ‘contract teachers have a wage level that equals 3.9 times GNP per capita versus civil servant teachers whose average salary is more than 9 times GNP per capita.’ (FTI Secretariat (2004) ‘Education for All (EFA) Fast Track Initiative (FTI) - Status Report Prepared for the Education for All Fast Track Initiative Annual Meeting’, 10 – 12 November 2004 http://www1.worldbank.org/education/efafti).

55 The background to the identification of FTI benchmarks was an analysis of the performance of the 155 developing countries, amongst which 36 were singled out as having accomplished the completion of primary education and 30 as likely to reach that goal by 2015. The focus was on those countries which were not likely to achieve universal primary education and thus needed international support, especially the 55 poorest. The analysis found that success in universalizing primary education depended more on education reform that increased funding. It identified eight key variables that ought to be altered so as to conform to the averages in the countries assessed as successful. These were (1) government revenues of 14-18 percent of GDP, (2) education expenditure of 20 percent of the recurrent government budget, (3) 50 percent of recurrent education expenditure for primary education, (4) average teachers’ salaries of 3.5 GDP per capita, (5) pupil-teacher ratio 40:1, (6) 33 percent of recurrent education spending for non-salary costs, (7) the average repetition rate of 10 percent or lower, and (8) private enrolments of 10 percent of the total. (World Bank (2002) ‘Achieving Education for All by 2015: Simulation Results for 47 Low-Income Countries’, Africa Region and Education Department, 24 April 2002). In the two following years the benchmark concerning private enrolments disappeared, the annual 850 to 1000 hours of instruction was added as was the construction cost of USD 10,000 or less per classroom, while the objective of attaining 100% intake rate for both girls and boys by 2010 and 100 percent completion rate for both sexes by 2015 was made explicit (World Bank (2004) ‘Education for All (EFA) - Fast Track Initiative. Progress Report’, 26 March 2004, Doc. DC2004-0002/1, p 3).

56 The European Union’s description of the Fast Track Initiative in the summer of 2004 has emphasised that it is ‘helping low-income countries with sound policies but insufficient resources to reach the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of giving all children a full primary education by 2015’ (European Union (2004) ‘Education for All Fast Track Initiative’, http://europe.eu.comm/development/body/theme/human_social/pol_education3).

57 The additional countries declared to be ‘FTI eligible’ in February 2004 were: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Benin, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chad, Djibouti, Georgia, India, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principle, Senegal, Sri Lanka and Tajikistan. (FTI Secretariat (2004) ‘Education for All (EFA) - Fast Track Initiative. Progress Report’, 26 March 2004, Doc. DC2004-0002/1, pp. 3, 16, 23-24.

58 International Monetary Fund and International Development Association (2004) ‘Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative – Statistical Update’, 31 March 2004, Annex III, p. 24, http://www.worldbank.org/hipc/Statistical_Update_March_2004.pdf.

59 In practice, compulsory education is increasingly prolonged beyond primary education. An analysis of comparative education laws revealed in 1999 that compulsory was longer than primary education in 96 countries, with 40 countries having prolonged compulsory education to 10 years or more. ‘Commission on Human Rights (2000) ‘Progress Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, Katarina Tomasevski’, UN Doc. E/CN.4/2000/6, paras 46-48.

60 Tomasevski, K (2004) Manual on Rights-Based Education: Global Human Rights Requirements Made Simple. Collaborative Project between the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education and UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, Bangkok: UNESCO Bangkok, pp. 41-42.

61 Arye Hillman and Eva Jenker have found that Aboth compulsory and voluntary user payments are socially inferior means of financing children’s education in comparison to public expenditure financed by general purpose taxation. Their view that self-financing of education by the parents absolves the government ‘of its responsibility to provide free-access basic schooling financed through public expenditure’ demonstrates an implicit acceptance of international human rights law, which was created precisely to prevent such governmental conduct by defining its human rights obligations (Hillman, A L. and Jenker, E (2002) ‘User Payments for Basic Education in Low-Income Countries’, IMF Working Paper WP/02/182, November 2002, pp. 25 and 15).

62 For example, English courts have examined the duty of local education authority to secure sufficient places at school for all children within the compulsory school age where children were deprived of primary education because of a teacher shortage. The court has held that the authority did whatever was in its powers to rectify the situation and was thus not in breach of its statutory duty (R . Inner London Education Authority, ex parte Ali, [1990] C.O.D. 317, [1990] 2 Admin.L.R. 822, 828B).

63 In a case which epitomises poverty-based exclusion from education, the Supreme Court of India has recalled that child labour cannot be eliminated without tackling the underlying poverty and suggested ensuring work for an adult member of the family in lieu of the child or, if this is impossible within the limits of the economic capacity of the state, the provision of a minimum income to the family in order to enable them to send the child to school payable as long as the child is attending school. (Mehta v. State of Tamil Nadu, Supreme Court of India Judgment, 10 December 1996, (1996) 6 SCC 756; AIR 1997 SC 699; (1997) 2 BHRC 258).

64 Governmental reports under human rights treaties have referred to a variety of financial charges. In Benin, for example, ‘the State fixed the rates of school fees’ (E/1990/5/Add. 48, 2001, para 324). Where education is tuition-free, charges are levied for the use of educational facilities and materials (such as laboratories, computers or sports equipment), or for extra-curricular activities (such as excursions or sports), or generally for supplementing teachers’ salaries or school maintenance. In Mauritania, ‘parents are often called upon to contribute to the purchase of supplies and textbooks, and to participate in the building and upkeep of school premises’ (CRC/C/8/Add.42, 2001, para 267). Besides school fees in different guises, direct expenditures include the cost of textbooks (which are provided free of charge in some countries, subsidised in many, but sold at a profit in others), supplies and equipment (notebooks, sketchbooks, pens and pencils), transportation (provided free of charge in few countries), school meals (also provided free of charge in some countries, sometimes as inducement to parents to send their children to school), as well as school uniforms where these are required, by law of custom, for school attendance. Armenia noted in 1998 as the first objective of its education strategy ‘to prevent the educational system from breaking down under conditions of extremely limited financial means’ (E/1990/5/Add.36, 1998, para 276). There are apparently no formal charges in Armenia, but ‘low wages have forced teachers to offer private tuition, creating a two-tier system of education’ (CRC/C/94, 2000, para 338). Similarly, the government of Georgia has referred to ‘an informal system of payments whereby Georgian households fund much of the educational institutions’ (E/1990/6/Add.31, 2001, para 240).

65 World Bank (1999) ‘Program Appraisal Document on a Proposed Credit in the Amount of SDR 28.5 million to the Republic of Zambia in Support of the First Phase of the Basic Education Subsector Investment Program (BESSIP)’, Report No. 19008 ZA, 5 March 1999.

66 Commission on Human Rights (2000) ‘Right to Education: Report of the Special Rapporteur, Katarina Tomasevski’, UN Doc. E/CN.4/2000/6, para 48.

67 Commission on Human Rights (2000) ‘Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, Katarina Tomasevski: Mission to Uganda’, UN Doc. E/CN.4/2000/6/Add.1.

68 Commission on Human Rights (2002) ‘Right to Education: Report of the Special Rapporteur, Katarina Tomasevski’, UN Doc. E/CN.4/2002/60, para 13.

69 In Colombia, for example, ‘the imposition of fees prevented a number of children from having access to free primary education and their families had to institute legal proceedings in order to obtain such access’ (E/C.12/1/Add.74, 2001, para 27).

70 Jolly, R and Cornia, G A (1983) The Impact of World Recession on Children (Oxford: Pergamon Press).

71 Cornia, G A et al (1987) Adjustment with a Human Face (Oxford: Clarendon Press).

72 Hodgkin, R and Newell, P (2002) Implementation Handbook for the Convention on the Rights of the Child (New York and Geneva: UNICEF), pp. 71-72.

73 UNESCO/EFA (2001) 2001 Monitoring Report on Education for All (Paris: UNESCO/EFA) http://www.unesco.org/education/efa.

74 In Burkina Faso, ‘education is compulsory for all children aged 6 to 16, but no measures have been taken to ensure that education is free. Education costs are basically borne by parents, particularly in urban areas, where many children are in private schools because there is no room in State schools’ (CRC/C/65/Add.18, 2002, paras. 155 and 341). In Cambodia, regardless of the constitutional guarantee of free education, Afamilies are still charged unofficial fees starting at a few hundred riel a day and rising to several thousand (from approximately USD5 - 75 cents or more). (A/57/230, 2002, para 56). The government of Congo has acknowledged that ‘primary schools function because of the financial contributions of the parents’ (Education pour tous (2000) ‘Rapport national du Congo’). The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has stated: ‘For the past four years the State has been shifting the burden massively on to parents, who must finance the running of schools and the teachers’ pay’ (CRC/C/3/Add.57, 2000, para 156). In Georgia, ‘fee-paying instruction and other activities are permitted at State-run educational institutions; the profits are at the disposal of the respective institutions’ (E/1990/5/Add.37, 1998, para 288). In Madagascar, ‘the fact of making already poor communities responsible for the salary of the schoolmaster and for financial participation in school building has discouraged more than one community’ (CRC/C/8/Add.5, 2001, para 220).

75 The government of Benin has noted: ‘The successive structural adjustment programmes to which Benin has been subjected since 1989 have not yet enabled it to adopt detailed plan for implementation of the principle of compulsory and free primary education for all’ (E/1990/5/Add.48, 2001, para 397). Brazil has stressed that it ‘needed to overcome a number of major barriers comprising adjustment programmes before its could implement wide-ranging social policies’ (E/1990/5/Add.53, 2001, para 18). In Chad, ‘Government’s difficulties in paying civil servants regularly reduces the chances of completing a normal school year and undermines the willingness of State employees to collaborate in implementing the programme’ (CRC/C/3/Add.50, 1997, para 176).

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