RESOLUTION HRC 131

FORUM: HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE

QUESTION OF: Promoting and preserving education for disadvantaged populations (COVID-19)

SUBMITTED BY: Burundi

CO-SUBMITTERS:Venezuela, ITALY, Cameroon, United States of America, United Kingdom, New Zealand, UNESCO, Human Rights Watch, Netherlands, Arab League, Spain, Latvia, Palestinian Authority, Botswana, Luxembourg, Ethiopia, India, Ecuador, Zimbabwe.

STATUSPassed

 

THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE,

 

Reminding all of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which states that “Everyone has the right to education,” 

 

Deeply concerned by the implications of the preventative measures regarding COVID-19 on the availability of education, 

 

Noting with regret that the inaccessibility of internet and advanced technological devices is more prevalent in impoverished regions and in disadvantaged populations and its impact on preserving education during the COVID-19 pandemic,

 

Aware of the fact that, according to UN News, the repercussions of the issue at hand affects, especially, low income countries, where “nearly 90 percent of students in sub-Saharan Africa do not have household computers while 82 per cent are unable to get online,” and the need for finding solutions that will be accessible to all Member and Observer States,

 

Bearing in mind the significance of international cooperation in the alleviation of the burden on education put by the COVID-19 measures, especially in less economically developed countries,

 

  1. Calls for the establishment of a sub-organ of the World Bank called “Education for All Fund” (EAF) with the aim of enhancing international collaboration and reduce the disparity between high-income and low-income Member and Observer States in the education sector which will:
    1. be a platform that enables the Member and Observer States who are classified as More Economically Developed Countries (MEDCs) to provide financial support to the less economically developed Member or Observer States which will be:
      1. used for financially supporting the actions needed to ensure education for every person by the recipient Member or Observer State, such as but not limited to improving the infrastructure of the Member or Observer State to make internet more accessible
      2. also used to fund and assist Member or Observer States in implementing measures to combat increased dropout rates
      3. transparent regarding the utilization of the fund given by the Member or Observer State which will be ensured through the reports giving information about the recipient Member or Observer State’s actions with the provided fund written by EAF officials in collaboration with the recipient Member or Observer State, which then will be shared with the Member or Observer State, to avoid corruption
    2. decrease the disincentive of the Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDCs) to work on ameliorating their education system due to high economic requirements;
  2. Encourages  UNESCO and UNICEF to collaborate with the countries, with an emphasis on the Member and Observer States who struggle to ensure education for every person in their country, in order to increase quality of the educational personnel appointed in the educational institutions who are competent for the profession in the Member or Observer State which will:
    1. be carried out by organizing joint seminars and trainings of  UNESCO and UNICEF if the Member or Observer State consents to such parties giving education to their personnel, funded by UNESCO and UNICEF and EAF, which will:
      1. have professionals appointed by the aforementioned organizations 
      2. provide extensive information regarding educating especially disadvantaged students, ensuring an inclusive learning environment and solutions for overcoming difficulties caused by distance learning during the COVID-19 period
      3. train the participants to become better educational professionals, giving suggestions to make the lessons more informative and suitable for the new medium of teaching due to the pandemic
      4. cover possible approaches that can be taken by the participants to reduce the dropout rates and ensuring the continuous attendance of students in school, with a special emphasis on students belonging to disadvantaged populations,
    2. aim to be accessible to large numbers of educational personnel which will be achieved by measures such as but not limited to:
      1. carrying out such trainings in easily accessible digital platforms that are suitable for the situation of the Member or Observer State taking into account such as but not limited to the accessibility of the internet and the technological devices that are available to the citizens of the Member or Observer State
      2. announcing the trainings and seminars through such as but not limited to brochures, social media, and government-supported announcements to the educational institutions;
  3. Calls for an annual international conference called the “International Conference on COVID-19 Educational Impact” (ICCEI) which will be supervised by UN and be organized by UNESCO as the long term effects of the pandemic on education have both special concerns and needs that require serious consideration of the international community which will:
    1. Bring together
      1. Representatives from those affected by the pandemic in education such as students, graduates and teachers
      2. Heads of states and policy-makers from willing Member States 
      3. Leading academic scientists, researchers, experts and analysts in the areas such as but not limited to physical and mental health, social sciences, economists and any other relevant areas 
      4. Psychologists, sociologists and health experts  v. Personnel from departments such as Childhood Education International  
    2. work towards increasing and contributing to the well-being and educational rights ofthose affected by:
      1. Organizing advisory missions with the aim of providing assistance to governments in prevention of child poverty as a result of the issue
      2. Exchanging and sharing research and investigation results on all aspects of life of the children affected and their long term development 
      3. Providing a platform for such as but not limited to researchers, policymakers, health specialists and educators to present and discuss the most recent news and concerns  
      4. Publishing annual reports in order to declare the outcome and the work done throughout the ICCEI to the public 
      5. Offering opportunities for NGOs to participate in or host seminars, workshops and launches of new initiatives
  4. Invites the relevant authorities of the Member and Observer States to make education, with an emphasis on primary education, more accessible in their country, especially in the regions where internet access is significantly limited, with the guidance of UNGEP, if the Member or Observer State is willing to collaborate, while also informing children of the type of inappropriate content and online predators in the form of cartoons on television through such as but not limited to:
    1. a digital platform called “For Accessible Lessons” (FAL) for the lessons to be uploaded and shared with the citizens which will:
      1. be online on a website created by the relevant authorities in the Member or Observer State aiming to make the lessons accessible for students who are not able to attend synchronous lessons due to issues such as but not limited to the absence of technical devices needed to attend the lesson during the time of the lesson, or problems with internet connection at the time,
      2. contain lessons and relevant digitized textbooks, and in the case of the inaccessibility of the internet in the Member or Observer State, sending the books to the students taking into account health measures, including specialized lessons to make the lessons more suitable for students with disabilities and learning difficulties, which will, if the Member or Observer State is willing, be done in  collaboration with UNESCO, and be organized and conducted by experts who specialize in education for such students, 
      3. be recorded by teachers chosen by the relevant authorities of the Member or Observer State, and have lessons for each grade level, and the units of the lessons taught in such level, including activities and worksheets that has its solutions also on the website,
      4. specify each unit and module taught in the lesson to eliminate any problems that could arise from the difference in the pace of the lessons in different classes and/or institutional facilities;
    2. broadcasting the lessons through radios which will:
      1. be managed by the relevant authorities of the Member or Observer State who are invited to form a team specifically focusing on the implementation of the broadcasting plan,
      2. allow students who do not have access to internet or more high technological devices to learn the lessons and avoid any hindrance to the accessibility of these lessons due to technological difficulties or any problems caused by the citizen’s confusion about the system by establishing a call center where personnel would aid the parents or students who are struggling with the usage of lessons broadcasted via radio;
  5. Calls upon the collaboration of UNESCO, COVID-19 Global Education Coalition, and UN Information Service (UNIS) under an umbrella organization called “UN Guidance on Education Platform” (UNGEP) which will work with willing Member and Observer States in order to ameliorate their education systems which will:
    1. be achieved through meetings with the relevant officials from the Member or Observer State and the aforementioned organizations which will:
      1. be carried out through an online platform due to COVID-19 measures,
      2. focus on the issues that are hindering the accessibility in the country and have the agenda items that are specific to the respective Member or Observer State such as but not limited to providing education in distance learning in a region with low internet accessibility etc,
    2. aim to allow each Member or Observer State to improve their education system and make it more accessible with the specific recommendations of UNGEP, which is an umbrella organization that is constituting of UN organizations that are knowledgeable regarding the problems in the education system and ways to solve them;
  6. Requests the Member and Observer States to incorporate instructive videos, audio files, or radio broadcasts about COVID-19 measures and the precautions the students should take in their respective educational platform for distance learning which will be:
    1. done with the aim of helping students be more aware of their responsibilities in preventing the spread of the pandemic and teaching them preventive measures which will especially be effective for younger students as receiving instructions from an official educational platform would allow them to perceive the magnitude of the pandemic and the importance of their actions, and carried out with the help of the experts from World Health Organization (WHO) and UNESCO in the creation of the content shared with the students, if the Member or Observer State is willing to collaborate with such organizations on this matter, to prevent any issues that can arise from misinformation,
    2. recorded and broadcasted by the relevant authorities of the Member and Observer States, where such broadcasted material will provide information on the measures crucial to the prevention of the further spread of the pandemic such as but not limited to:
      1. taking care of personal hygiene,
      2. the importance of wearing masks,
      3. the significance of social distancing,
      4. staying in quarantine and/or being in lockdown;
  7. Welcomes the Member and Observer States who are LEDCs struggling to provide education to their citizens due to the insufficiency in the infrastructure such as but not limited to the lack of accessible internet connection, which worsens the issue especially during COVID-19, by working on improving their infrastructure which will be:
    1. funded by the EAF and the UN and carried out by the relevant authorities of the Member or Observer State who will be transparent about their usage of the fund, as stated in clause 1, by reporting information about the utilization of the fund which will be undertaken by relevant EAF officials in collaboration with the recipient Member or Observer State,
    2. used for improving the infrastructure that is determined, by the respective authorities of the Member or Observer State, to be critical to ensuring and improving the education the students, with an emphasis on the children who are receiving primary education, receive such as but not limited to improving the accessibility of the internet and enhancing the radio broadcasting systems in the Member or Observer State if the Member or Observer State is providing students education through the usage of such broadcasting services, and done with the aim of alleviating the hardships that hinder the distance education process and improving the quality of the education provided to the students during COVID-19 and in the long term;
  8. Further requests the Member and Observer States to collaborate with relevant educational institutions in that Member or Observer State and international organizations such as but not limited to Amnesty International and UNESCO to make education for adults more accessible through enhancing their distance learning systems for adults and making online courses more accessible, with the aim of allowing the adults in that Member or Observer State to improve their education level that will be beneficial for them to be eligible for better working opportunities, which will be:
    1. shared with the citizens of the Member or Observer State through different platforms that are best suited for the Member or Observer State’s present situation taking into account factors such as but not limited to the availability of internet connectivity and announced when such courses are made available for the public through mediums which:
      1. are deemed to be most appropriate for the conditions in the respective Member or Observer State such as but not limited to radio broadcasting, brochures that will be distributed to each household, SMS messages, e-mails, or billboards etc,
      2. will be funded by the Member or Observer State if such medium needs to be funded, such as brochures, and if the financial situation of the Member or Observer State is not sufficient for the funding, by the UN and EAF,
    2. on a broad scope in terms of lesson materials as there will be online courses on secondary education as well as rudimentary classes to combat illiteracy rates in that Member or Observer State;
  9. Asks all Member and Observer States to take action in order to eliminate the obstacles against providing accessible education to the students through making education one of their priorities and take legislative action regarding this issue by such as but not limited to reducing or eliminating the school fees of public schools in that Member or Observer States, which will be financially supported by the EAF in order to avert any negative repercussions this solution may cause on the respective Member or Observer State’s economy, and also provide aid for its citizens in the form of supplying the equipment necessary for distance learning, with an emphasis on disadvantaged populations;
  10. Further asks all Member and Observer States whose schools are open and functioning, to support and ensure that quality of education is preserved through providing not only resources such as but not limited to, textbooks and other academic resources, but also supporting teachers financially especially in states where teachers have low job satisfaction and are prone to resignment, and furthermore the provision of sanitary equipment to contain COVID-19, such as but not limited to, masks, cleaning agents, and COVID-19 vaccine programmes where implementable.