• 14 February 2012
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Which criteria determine a quality education?

tutoring organized by Heart’s Home

The Working Group on the Right to Education gath­ered in January 2012. Heart’s Home par­tic­i­pated alongside 10 other NGOs spe­cialised in the field of edu­ca­tion.

The meeting con­sisted in a roundtable on the cri­teria that make a quality edu­ca­tion. This issue has been raised by the Council of Europe, which is cur­rently con­sid­ering new cri­teria with regards to the quality of edu­ca­tional sys­tems. The meeting helped reaching an agree­ment on the frame of a written and oral dec­la­ra­tion to be pre­sented during the next ses­sion of the Human Rights Council in March 2012.

Which ele­ments con­di­tion a quality edu­ca­tion today?

It was first empha­sized that the quality of an edu­ca­tional system must be eval­u­ated as a whole. This means that one cannot look at the quality of edu­ca­tion without thinking about fun­da­mental values before­hand: respect of people’s rights and dig­nity. When con­sid­ering quality, one cer­tainly includes achieve­ments (such as reading and writing) but also the respect of human rights. Educational sys­tems should not be lim­ited to passing on knowl­edge. It should also convey values. In accor­dance with Article 13 of the ICESCR, “ed­u­ca­tion shall be directed to the full devel­op­ment of the human per­son­ality and the sense of its dig­nity, and shall strengthen the respect for human rights and fun­da­mental free­doms.”

In addi­tion, cul­tural diver­sity is a strength that should be pro­moted within edu­ca­tional sys­tems. In this sense, the UNESCO’s Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (2001) states that “all per­sons should be enti­tled to quality edu­ca­tion and training that fully respect their cul­tural iden­tity”.

Furthermore, looking at the quality of edu­ca­tion raises the issue of girls’ edu­ca­tion. Girls are largely dis­crim­i­nated against in Southeast Asia, Middle East and Austral Africa. This exposes them ever more to poverty, to eco­nomic and sexual exploita­tion and con­se­quently the socio-eco­nomic bal­ance of such coun­tries is affected.

It was also reminded the urgent neces­sity to value training, manual savoir-faire. Indeed, a quality edu­ca­tional system must pre­pare the youth to a smooth inte­gra­tion on the labour market. To this end, it is the State’s respon­si­bility to match training offers to the market demands. This is why training and pro­fes­sional edu­ca­tion must regain some recog­ni­tion within soci­eties.

Finally, M. Singh and the attending NGOs agreed on the prin­ciple that the active involve­ment of teachers and fam­i­lies in the chil­dren edu­ca­tion was at the heart of their edu­ca­tional suc­cess. Governments are encour­aged to build bridges between schools and fam­i­lies. Indeed, chil­dren need to feel that their family and their school are working hand in hand towards a common goal.

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