All about TISA
What is the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA)? Who is involved? How could TiSA affect governments’ ability to regulate? How TiSA threatens workers’ rights and especially educators? What professional services are covered? To what extent does it open up services procured by governments to global competition? How would public services be affected? These are some of the issues that this ITUC report clarifies. Among other things, it examines the impacts on regulation-making by the Domestic Regulation and the Transparency Annexes. It then analyses the Movement of Natural Persons Annex and its impacts on service workers. It continues with the analysis of the Government Procurement Annex and a general note on the impacts on public services.
Guide to Human Rights Research & Advocacy on the Role of Private Actors in Education
This guide provides practical advice on conducting research in order to support human rights advocacy on privatisation in education, using regional and international mechanisms (focusing on UN treaty bodies such as the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women): What to research; Where; How to structure the report; etc.
Gender and EFA 2000-2015: achievements and challenges
UNESCO and the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) jointly released a gender summary of the Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report (GMR).
The report shows that fewer than half of countries have achieved gender parity in 2015, leaving sixty-two million girls still being denied their right to a basic education. It tells the story of gender progress over the past 15 years, one of the more positive stories for education since 2000, with 52 million fewer girls out of school and 29 more countries with gender parity now than then. However, there remain persistent barriers to gender parity that have still left fewer than half of countries with gender imbalances in the classroom.
If you don't understand, how can you learn?
This new GEM policy paper, released for the International Mother Language Day 2016, reveals that as much as 40% of the global population does not have access to education in a language they speak or understand. The challenges are most prevalent in regions where linguistic diversity is greatest such as in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia and the Pacific.
The paper argues that being taught in a language other than their own can negatively impact children’s learning. According to evidence presented in the report, at least six years of mother tongue instruction is needed to reduce learning gaps for minority language speakers. It shows the importance of teacher training and inclusive supporting materials to improve the learning experience of these children, and provide them with a resilient path of achievement in life.
Poverty and gender amplify educational disadvantages linked to ethnicity and language. With a new global education agenda that prioritizes equity and lifelong learning for all, the policy of respecting language rights is essential and deserves close attention.
An economy for the 1%
The gap between rich and poor is reaching new extremes. The richest 1% have now accumulated more wealth than the rest of the world put together. This OXFAM report looks into how and why this has happened and provides new evidence of this unprecedented inequality crisis.
It shows how increasing returns to capital, reinforced by tax avoidance and governments reducing taxes on capital gains, have been one of the key trends underlying this huge concentration of wealth and incomes. In most countries, workers are capturing less and less of the gains from growth. Tax havens and the global industry of tax avoidance, which has blossomed over recent decades, threatens welfare states in the rich world and denies poor countries the resources they need to tackle poverty and expand their health and education systems.
Teachers' and School Heads' Salaries and Allowances in Europe 2015-16
In 2015/16, teachers' statutory salaries increased in the great majority of European countries and remained at about the same level as in 2014/15 in the others. Nevertheless, in most of the countries where the increase took place, it amounted only to 1-4% (Spain and the UK – 1 %, Serbia and Macedonia – 4%), while in some countries the increase was just a compensation for inflation (Germany) or a lagged effect of the reforms implemented several years earlier (Slovakia – reforms in 2009, Hungary – in 2012, Estonia – in 2013). Increase in teachers’ salaries registered by the Eurydice report in 24 European countries is mainly a result of a general salary adjustment for all public employees. The Eurydice report rightly points out that in about 30 out of 40 surveyed countries, the minimum annual statutory salaries for teachers are lower than the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita.
PPPs and the SDGs: Don’t believe the hype
The advent of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has prompted Public-Private Partnership (PPP) advocates to launch a renewed push for their use in providing network and social infrastructure and services. This briefing suggests that claims that PPPs should be a central part of any attempt to address SDG commitments should be viewed with caution. Prioritisation of PPPs may bias governments towards bankable projects rather than initiatives which best respond to social development objectives. Claims that PPPs are more efficient, better transfer risk and therefore represent better value-for-money are not backed up by the evidence. Finally, particularly where institutional strength is weak, PPPs threaten to undermine democratic accountability and make problems with corruption worse, not better.
Trends Shaping Education 2016
This OECD publication provides an overview of key economic, social, demographic and technological trends and raises questions about their potential impact on education: globalisation, climate change, migration, inequality, urbanisation, etc. The first edition was published in 2008 and subsequent editions were released in 2010 and 2013. In this new edition, special emphasis was put on the emerging BRICs economies (Brazil, Russian Federation, India and China).
Taxes on trial: How trade deals threaten tax justice
In order to ensure that public services are well funded and that multinationals pay their fair share, States must have the ability to reconsider and change previously set and unfair tax “incentives” granted to corporations – and to change their minds about which industries to subsidise with tax breaks.
Based on the analysis of data and documents on hundreds of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) cases, this research shows that governments' ability to change tax laws and pursue progressive tax policies is inhibited by the ISDS system, enshrined in thousands of free trade and investment agreements across the globe. It reveals that foreign investors have already sued at least 24 countries over tax-related disputes - including several cases where companies have used this system to successfully challenge - and lower - their tax bills.
Evidence presented in the report also shows that tax-related ‘carve-out’ clauses in trade and investment treaties to limit ability of corporations and other investors to sue States over such disputes doesn’t necessarily prevent taxes being challenged. Even the mere threat of an expensive ISDS case can be as powerful as actually filing one, an unknown number of disputes being resolved before a case is ever formally led.
The author finally recalls that ISDS is a one-way system: no comparable mechanism for states to hold foreign investors to account for their actions exists at the moment.
National Sheets on Education Budget in Europe 2015
This annual Eurydice publication compares national education planned budgets at constant 2014 prices (i.e. taking into account the rise in prices that took place in 2015).
It reveals that more than half of the countries/regions – for which data are available and comparable – increased their education budget by more than 1 % between 2014 and 2015. Seven countries (Spain, Latvia, Hungary, Malta, Romania, Slovakia and Sweden) registered an increase higher than 5 %.
Nevertheless, four countries/regions decreased their education budget by more than 1 % between 2014 and 2015: Belgium (German-speaking Community), Greece, Slovenia and the United Kingdom (Northern Ireland).
Learning to be Watched. Surveillance Culture at School
In the United States, schools now routinely direct students online to do their schoolwork; and they collect student data using education and recordkeeping software that is useful to marketers as well—creating a threat to students’ privacy. Schools’ embrace of digital technology augments and amplifies traditional types of education-related marketing, which include: (1) appropriation of space on school property, (2) exclusive agreements, (3) sponsored programs and activities,(4) incentive programs, (5) sponsorship of supplementary educational materials, and (6) fundraising. These marketing efforts, conducted with the implicit blessing of administrators, teachers, and parents, combine to normalize for children the notion that corporations have a legitimate role in their education and in their lives more generally. In addition to threatening children’s right to privacy, these practices raise serious concerns about their effect on children’s physical and psychological well-being and about their impact on the integrity of the education children receive. By engaging in these practices, schools abet the socialization of students as consumers who take for granted that others have a right to keep their behavior under constant surveillance for marketing purposes—even at the cost of their own well-being.
This report considers how schools facilitate the work of digital marketers and examines the effects of their relentless tracking of and marketing to children.
The Education Deficit
Based on research in over 40 countries, this report looks at the key barriers that threaten the right to education today, and the key ways that governments are failing to deliver on core aspects of their right to education obligations. These include ensuring that primary school education is free and compulsory and that secondary education is progressively free and accessible to all children; reducing costs related to education, such as transport; ensuring that schools are free of discrimination, including based on gender, race, and disability; and ensuring schools are free of violence and sexual abuse. It also looks at the main violations and abuses keeping children out of school, including those that occur in global crises, armed conflict—particularly when education is attacked by armed groups,—and forced displacement.
This report finds that many of the same governments that have signed on to development agendas and form part of global partnerships are those that are also failing many of their school-aged children.
Teaching Excellence through Professional Learning and Policy Reform
This OECD background report summarises the evidence that underpinned the 2016 International Summit of the Teaching Profession. It develops key topics related to the 2016 theme "Teachers’ professional learning and growth: Creating the conditions to achieve quality teaching for excellent learning outcomes".
It is based on data and comparative analysis from several OECD publications: “How teachers teach and students learn: Strategies for success at school” (forthcoming), Supporting Teacher Professionalism: Insights from TALIS 2013 (2016); TALIS 2013 Results: An International Perspective on Teaching and Learning (2014); Synergies for Better Learning: An International Perspective on Evaluation and Assessment (2013); Creating Effective Teaching and Learning Environments: First Results from TALIS (2009); and Teachers Matter: Attracting, Developing and Retaining Effective Teachers (2005).
Right to Education Monitoring Guide
Linking education issues to the right to education promotes accountability: Every country has ratified at least one human rights treaty that guarantees the right to education and the majority of countries protect the right to education in their constitutions. This means that most States can be held legally accountable for violations.
This Guide is designed to help advocates to build a strong case, based on empirical evidence, that there has been a violation of the right to education, by using human rights indicators. Each step of the Guide explains how to select appropriate indicators using the Indicators Selection Tool, how to collect data for each indicator and how to interpret that data from a human rights perspective.
European Higher Education: diverging funding trends in 2015
The European University association released its annual Public Funding Observatory report 2015. This year’s edition points out worrying signals from Northern Europe, in particular Denmark and Finland, where new governments have embarked on cost-cutting programmes for the sector.
The 2015 Observatory also corroborates the highly contrasted situation of universities throughout Europe, with long-lasting disinvestment in countries such as Croatia, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Serbia and Spain, while for others the main challenge is to maintain the level of funding per student, considering large increases in the student population (among which Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany). The report also notes an increasingly common narrative about efficiency in a context of changing funding models.