GCE President Camilla Croso at UN Sustainable Development Summit: Speech
On the opening day of the UN Sustainable Development Summit, GCE President Camilla Croso addressed Heads of State and representatives of UN bodies and civil society to demand that states must now commit to the implementation of the new Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Camilla was one of only 24 civil society representatives to address the UN Summit over its three days, giving education and human rights campaigners worldwide a huge opportunity to directly lobby decision-makers.
You can download the speech in Spanish, French, Arabic and Portuguese or read the full speech in English below.
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Speech by Camilla Croso, President of the Global Campaign for Education
United Nation General Assembly 2015
Your excellencies; dear colleagues:
This Summit is undoubtedly a landmark. As President of the Global Campaign for Education, and on behalf of our members and sister networks, we celebrate that the voices of peoples have been heard, and are confident that civil society will be an integral part of the coming accountability mechanisms.
In the spirit of celebration, yet remaining vigilant, we now look to Goal 4, Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, drawing our attention especially to implementation at the national level.
Goal 4 contains the vital elements to achieve the potential of education being not only a human right in itself but also a promoter of all other rights. The commitment towards inclusive education indicates that the Goal won´t be met if not met by all. Inclusive education ensures access, values diversity and promotes the overcoming of discriminations, including patriarchy. Gender equality, based on changes in perceptions, relations and practices – such as child marriage and school-related gender based violence – is vital in confronting historic power structures that have violated rights of women and girls over centuries. Ensuring inclusion will also require political will to confront the root causes of conflict, which currently violate the right to education of almost 34 million children.
Age cannot not be a factor of discrimination and we call on States to prioritize the rights of adults and older persons. While the SDGs include adult literacy and education, we are concerned that the Addis Ababa Action Agenda made no mention of this.
A challenge ahead will be the implementation of policies that conceive quality education from a human rights lens, moving away from reductionist perspectives that take high scores in standardized testing as a proxy for quality. This has already led to the narrowing of curriculums, homogenization of education, and pressure on teachers to “teach to the test”. Above all, we cannot accept the existence of double tier standards of education, dividing rich and poor, boys and girls, and increasing inequality.
Strengthening of public education systems is fundamental: this is the only way that quality free education, a driver of equality, will be made accessible to all. We are alarmed by the rise of edu-businesses and the commodification of education, which jeopardize equity and place profit before the right to education.
If we value education, then we must value the teachers and the students that are at their heart. Teachers must have good working conditions, and both must be central in any decision-making process. This ambitious agenda will only be fulfilled with increased financing commitments, both domestic and from international cooperation.
Today we have the benefit of fifteen years of hindsight. Let us learn from our achievements and challenges and move forward together with the renewed vigor and ambition to ensure the fulfillment of all human rights.