STATEMENT of the INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF SOCIAL WORKERS
International non-governmental organization in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and social Council
58th Session of the
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Agenda item 10
The International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), an organization encompassing 77 national associations of social workers and representing some 500,000 social work professionals worldwide is deeply committed to universal and free primary and post-primary education within its basic strivings for the realization of all interrelated and indivisible human rights.
Education is not only a right, but also one of the more proven ways to overcome poverty and enhance social cohesion. As is evident in many affluent countries, educated and well-trained populations, far more than raw materials, are the safest source of their wealth. Therefore, the right of every person to education directed to the full development of the human personality not only lays obligations on State Parties to the Covenant on Economic, Social and Political Rights, but constitutes one of the surest means to further the progress of those States.
No child or young person should be deprived of statutory and free schooling on account of age limits. Efforts should likewise be made to overcome gender and other disparities in education as well as all forms of discrimination, based on the ‘3-D obstacles’: disability, difficulty and disadvantage, as identified by the Special Rapporteur on the right to education in her present report to the Commission.
Non-formal education can step in where formal primary education does not yet exist. It need not be of lesser quality because there are no blackboards or computers or even school room walls. What matters most is that young minds are stimulated by motivated and able teachers who make it possible for children or young people to join formal education channels as soon as they become available to them.
The right to education is for all children, and no means should be spared to ensure its realization. In her report to this Commission, Katharina Tomasevski expresses this clearly when she says that ‘raising the global priority of education necessitates ranking its long-term benefits over short-term priorities’. While this is undoubtedly so at present, such ranking may become even more imperative in the future as our rapidly evolving world will require ever more knowledgeable people and lifelong education, which at present is but a timid aspiration, may before long become a necessity.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman