20 SEPTEMBER 2003, Page 38

My job description

From Professor Katarina Tomasevski Sir: My attention has been drawn to Ross Clark's Banned wagon of 26 July. His text used a wrong title in inverted commas. I am not 'special rapporteur on education', as Mr Clark wrote, but the Special Rapporteur on the right to education of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Also, he wrote that I am Swedish, which I am not — I am Croatian. Mr Clark referred to 'the United Nations output on education', but there is no such thing.

As the first Special Rapporteur on the right to education, I deal with the human rights dimensions. These I can easily summarise in three points: First, children are not racing cars but people. We throw racing cars on to a scrapheap when they fail to outperform others. I cannot imagine anybody suggesting that we do the same with children.

Second, every child has an equal right to education.

Third, training children in test-taking improves their regurgitation of the information they have had to memorise. This will not help them create jobs or self-employment. The top performers in international testing leagues are altering their education from improving children's memory to developing their creativity.

Katarina Tornasevski