The Permanent Forum recommended the following actions in its annual session reports:
Sixteenth Session (2017)
- Recalling article 14 of the Declaration and the recommendation made by the Permanent Forum at its third session, the Forum urges Member States to adopt and fully implement comprehensive national indigenous education policies and bring into practice the education of indigenous languages teachers in accordance with indigenous peoples’ initiatives.
- Recalling paragraph 86 of its report on its eighth session (E/2009/43- E/C.19/2009/14), the Permanent Forum urges public and private education institutions to provide permanent positions for indigenous teachers and to establish scholarships designated exclusively for indigenous students.
Twelfth Session (2013)
- Indigenous peoples who maintain their cultural practices and lifestyles on the basis of their traditional knowledge, vision of the world and spirituality are confronted by educational systems that have little regard for indigenous cultures, indigenous languages and indigenous knowledge. In addition, evidence confirms that the most poor and indigenous peoples receive the poorest quality of education. It is well established that improved education outcomes have a positive impact on the well-being of indigenous peoples and contribute to better socioeconomic conditions. Access to high-quality education will better ensure the knowledge and skills necessary for improved quality of life.
- The Permanent Forum affirms that articles 11 to 15 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples provide a critical framework for ensuring the necessary transformative changes in indigenous education and the exercise of the right to self-determination. Indigenous peoples have the right to be involved in defining and developing educational priorities and initiatives, including laws, regulations and policies, which have a direct impact upon them. Such educational systems should respect, recognize and include indigenous peoples’ world views, cultures, languages and traditional knowledge, while ensuring gender equality and the recognition of traditional knowledge-keepers as pedagogical authorities.
- The Permanent Forum encourages States and United Nations agencies and funds to implement, in cooperation with indigenous peoples, proactive and substantive measures to realize the full and effective implementation of the rights affirmed in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. These measures must include greater accessibility for indigenous learners who live in remote areas or in nomadic communities. The Forum calls upon States to respect and implement article 19 of the Declaration by ensuring the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that affect them.
- Education in the mother tongue and bilingual education, foremost in primary and secondary schools, lead to effective and long-term successful educational outcomes. The Permanent Forum urges States to fund and implement the Programme of Action for the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, specifically in the following education-related objective. The Forum underlines the need for States to respect and promote indigenous peoples’ definitions of learning and education, founded on the values and priorities of the relevant indigenous peoples. The right to education is independent of State borders and should be expressed by indigenous peoples’ right to freely traverse borders, as supported by articles 9 and 36 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- The Permanent Forum recommends, on the basis of articles 14 and 15 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, that States support indigenous peoples in establishing their own educational systems and institutions, including universities. Specific measures should be put in place to support indigenous, intercultural and community higher education institutions and programmes in their academic, organizational, financial and accreditation processes. An excellent example of best practices in this regard is the inclusion of compulsory indigenous studies in the curricula of higher education institutions. The Forum urges States to recognize the importance of the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative, launched during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development of 2012, and to incorporate the knowledge, history and proposals of indigenous peoples into the activities to be undertaken.
- The Permanent Forum recalls the recommendations contained in paragraphs 48 and 56 of the report of the international expert group meeting on indigenous youth (E/C.19/2013/3), emphasizing that linguistic education and linguistic sovereignty are of fundamental importance to indigenous peoples. The Forum recommends that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), UNICEF and other competent bodies of the United Nations convene, together with the Forum, a meeting of experts on intercultural matters and bilingual education.
- Indigenous persons with disabilities face exceptionally difficult barriers both because they are indigenous and because they are disabled. The Permanent Forum recommends that States develop and provide full access to educational opportunities on an equitable basis and without discrimination for indigenous persons, as recognized in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In particular, the Forum recommends that sign language education curricula be developed, in consultation with deaf indigenous persons, which reflect their cultures, issues, needs and preferences. Where there is State or international cooperation on education, indigenous persons with disabilities should be included. The Forum recommends that countries that have not yet ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities do so urgently.
- The Permanent Forum recommends that States, in collaboration with indigenous peoples and United Nations agencies, including UNICEF and UNESCO, prepare a comprehensive report on the number of indigenous languages spoken in each State. It is important to identify the current numbers and ages of fluent speakers of each indigenous language, in addition to measures, including constitutional, legislative, regulatory and policy measures, as well as financial support, whether ongoing or project-based, by States, United Nations agencies and indigenous peoples, to ensure that indigenous languages continue to be used, survive and thrive and do not become extinct.