The Oxford Human Rights Hub is delighted to co-host, alongside the Open Society Foundations and the Vidhi Centre for Law and Policy the exciting conference on the Right to Education for Minorities and Disadvantaged Groups in Delhi, India.
The conference opened with an impassioned call by Shantha Sinha, former chairperson for the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights to ensure that not just schools but the whole education system works towards realizing the right to education for all children. She warns that private institutions can reinforce stubborn hierarchies in society and argues for the democratization and inclusivity of schools.
The first panel building on the OxHRH-OSF webcast on the challenge of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in realizing the right to education, examined PPPs in the Indian and South African context. Kiran Bhaty,Centre for Policy Research, looked at the regulatory gaps in the Right to Education Act (India) from the perspective of PPPs. Sarah Sephton, Legal Resources Centre, gave insights into how the private partner could potentially be regulated by the state. Finally, Praveen Khanghta, Central Square Foundation, looked for the potential and opportunities in PPPs.
The second panel provided insights into how to move beyond girl’s access to education to focus on the quality of girl’s education. Sandra Fredman, Oxford Univeristy, examined how the political commitments to education and equality in the Sustainable Development Goals can be harnessed to achieve girls’ substantive equality to education, in education and with education. Shabistan Gaffar, All India Confederation of Women’s Empowerment Through Education, examined the challenges and opportunities for the right to education for Muslim girls and women in India. While it is important to focus on the quality of girls’ education, Archana Dwivedie and Janija, Niranta, reminded us that we cannot lose focus on access to education, especially for rural girls. Their presentation also crucially examined how do we monitor the implementation of a quality right to education for girls. Maya Menon, Teacher Foundation, looked how the teacher-student relationship can best be structured to ensure inclusive learning for each and every child. Concluding the day, Meghan Campbell, Oxford University, assessed how the international human rights framework can ensure all girls access high quality education through a case study on the state’s positive obligation to provide comprehensive human-rights based sex education.
It was a thought-provoking and challenging day that addressed the prominent issues affecting the rights of minority and disadvantage groups to education. We look forward to drawing on further comparative and international insights tomorrow!