Impact of the digitalization of education on the right to education, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to education

Summary
In the present report, submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolutions 8/4 and 44/3, the Special Rapporteur on the right to education addresses the risks and opportunities of the digitalization of education and their impact on the right to education.
The Special Rapporteur calls for discussions relating to the introduction of digital technologies in education to be framed around the right of every person to free, quality, public education and the commitments of States in this regard under both international
human rights law and Sustainable Development Goal 4.
In particular, the implementation of the right to education must respond to the needs of all persons to access, master and use technology as an empowering tool for being active members of society.
The digitalization of education should be geared towards a better implementation of the right to education for all, where it is demonstrated that it brings a significant added value. In this regard, it is important to understand the profit-driven agenda of digital technology lobbyists and companies. In addition, the digitalization of education should not increase inequalities and benefit already privileged segments of societies only or lead to violations of other human rights within education, in particular the right to privacy.

….. The introduction of digital technologies should be accompanied by a prior ethical-pedagogical reflection that helps to provide an understanding and to adequately situate their educational impact from the perspective of the full development of the human personality. Digital solutions should be carefully examined for their quality, relevance and consequences for education in the various specific local contexts, with a focus on already marginalized populations, and for their contribution to peace, equity, inclusiveness and sustainable development. Thus, the debate does not simply concern whether technologies are introduced or not, but rather when, how and to what extent, considering positive and negative consequences and their impact on human rights. The best interests of students should always be a primary consideration…..”

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