An instructional unit about South African apartheid should, for example, challenge the students to acquire much more than just knowledge about it. The activities should develop pupil understanding of pluralism, institutional racism and violence, distribution of power and resources, class system, self-determination and international law, all of which can be applied to situations beyond South Africa the North of Ireland, the Middle East.
The unit should also challenge pupils to come to terms with conflicting conceptions of freedom, justice and equality, slavery, civil rights, sexism, globalism etc. Kohler Further, in the process of seeking to achieve this, human rights education must not only reject all forms of authoritarianism bit it must also assist pupils in the process of protecting themselves against other forces and agencies within society 'which would seek to do their thinking for them' Kelly , p.
This is part of that function of education which was Paulo Freire's sole justification for its provision, the function of 'arming' young people against all those agencies which seek to ensure that they are 'dopes' whose destinies can be planned for them. There are many agencies in society which have a vested interest in discouraging autonomous thinking and reflection and not only in the young.
Politicians, for example, want us to accept their policies without too much detailed analysis. And manufacturers want us to purchase their products without too much careful inspection or comparison with alternatives.
This is the point and purpose of advertising, whether commercial or political. In neither case is it aimed at encouraging challenge, critique, debate or reflection. On the contrary, it is concerned to discourage that kind of approach and to promote a largely uncritical acceptance of its offerings. Such sources catalogue mantra-like criticisms of human rights education:.
It is not the role of teachers and schools to become involved in such campaigns;. Development Education Centre , p. Within the context of human rights, such uncritical acceptance must be rejected. And so, human rights education must seek positively to counteract complacency. And it must set about this by encouraging that critical, inquiring, challenging approach which is essential to all forms of education in a democratic society.
It must also however take a more positive stance than this. It must offer pupils opportunities to look critically at aspects of current society and it must seek to help them to develop those critical faculties which they need if they are to learn to see beyond rhetoric or to avoid forfeiting their own human rights and the manipulation of their thinking by agencies in society which are concerned only to promote their own sectional interests.
Even where there are enforcement mechanisms and courts, as with the European Convention on Human Rights, education is still indispensible. Legal force of itself is only a secondary safety valve; it is the education of of young people and adults, according to Rene Cassin, Nobel Peace Prize winner cited in Starkey , p. Such attitudes of respect must be nurtured and; encouraged by all those with whom young people come into contact. Schools can play an invaluable part in the promotion of social and moral responsibility.
Both of these assertions by Conservative spokespersons refer to 'the purpose of law', 'moral responsibility', 'taking responsibility for one's actions', and imply that incorporating human rights education into primary schools equates with discovering or rediscovering an individual moral education approach or agenda. This would necessarily involve the imposition of a set of values which would require adherence to. Abdallah-Pretceille , p.
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Human rights then become the yardstick by which all other systems of values are measured. This approach involves the school in the transmission of a moral code, that of human rights. But a clear contradiction is apparent in this reduction of the universality of human rights to a specific moral code which, by logic, is likely to be rejected in the very name of the right to be different.
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The reality is that human rights education simply cannot be diminished down to any theme of a moral code, even of a secular nature. Human rights are at the core of children's everyday life experiences - freedom of thought, conscience, religion and freedon from religion , values, morality, the right to education - and the essence of education is to empower children to make sense of the world around them. Being aware of rights and responsibilities, understanding the struggles which have been sacrificed to achieve these are all vital components in the preparation of all young citizens living in theoretically a democratic and pluralist society.
When a child protests 'That's not fair! Consider the following poem by a five year old school child:. We have to play out at playtime Unless we bring a note, Or it's tipping down with rain or We have not got a coat. We have to go out at playtime Whether we like it or not, And freeze to death if it's freezing, And boil to death if it's hot. The teachers can sit in the staffroom, And have a cosy chat. We have to go out at playtime, Where's the fairness in that? Quoted in Steiner , p. For many pupils, parents and teachers, state schools do not seem to embrace any shared value system.
Education as a Human Right
Membership pay for itself. The CBA supports professional excellence among the legal community through our many engaging and expert publications. CRC Article Education generally operates within the legal parameters of provincial or territorial legislation such as the relevant School Ac t or Education Act for each jurisdiction.
Moore v. There was no need to establish a comparator group. At a trial that starts today in Drummondville, Quebec's Superior Court will be asked to decide who has ultimate authority over the education of children: their parents or the state. Last September, Quebec's new "Ethics and Religious Culture" ERC course became mandatory for all elementary and secondary schools in the province, including private Catholic, Jewish and Evangelical schools. The provincial Education Ministry has steadfastly insisted that no child or school may be exempted from the new course, even if a school offers to teach the same contents as the ERC course but present the contents in a different manner.
Before the ERC course became mandatory, Quebec's parents could choose to enroll their children in Catholic, Protestant, or non-religious moral instruction.
Human Rights and Universal Child Primary Education | SpringerLink
In spite of record-low church attendance in Quebec, most parents chose Catholic or Protestant religious instruction for their children, with only a minority opting for non-religious moral education. Having lost their freedom of choice, parents are now going to court to assert their freedom of religion and conscience, protected by both the Canadian and Quebec charters.
Parents also point to Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which affirms the prior right of parents to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children. These parents object to a course which, in their view, denigrates and trivializes religions by portraying all of them as mere folklore.
Parents challenging the ERC course also disagree with the very young age at which students are introduced to a multitude of faiths; they want their children to learn about other religions after they have acquired a deep and comprehensive knowledge of their own. An often-quoted Jesuit maxim boasts, "Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man.
Since September all Quebec students from primary school entry to high school graduation, whether enrolled in public or non-funded private schools, must attend Quebec's new Ethics and Religious Culture course ERC. And teachers, regardless of their beliefs, must teach it. He is a hero to thousands of angry, mainly Catholic, Quebecers who consider compulsory submission to ERC a violation of their human rights.
The ERC curricula are mandated to introduce students to Quebec's rich diversity of religious tenets and "facilitate the spiritual development of students so as to promote self-fulfillment. To parents who take religion seriously, this is a chilling intrusion into what all democratically inspired charters of rights designate as a parental realm of authority.
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One of the threads Liberal leadership contender Gerard Kennedy left dangling when he stepped down as Ontario education minister was a bill depriving anyone who quits school before 18 of the right to hold a driver's licence. It would have been best to let it drop. The measure is clumsy, coercive and unduly harsh on rural teens.
But Kennedy's replacement, Sandra Pupatello, is determined to tie up loose ends. After four days' debate this spring, she whisked the bill off to a legislative committee for line-by-line scrutiny. The committee, chaired by government backbencher Bob Delaney of Mississauga West, isn't likely to provide much resistance. Eight of its 11 members are Liberals.
Only two both Conservatives represent rural ridings. There is still one chance albeit a slim one to halt this rush to punish. With as many as 10, native kids in Toronto, the public board is boosting heritage awareness. Not puffing on cigarettes, but breathing wafts of burning sage in an aboriginal ceremony the school is holding to help students better understand their native classmates.
As Humewood mother Joanne Vautour, who is part Ojibwa and part French, circles the room with the small dish of sage for this traditional "smudge" ceremony designed to clear away negative thoughts, child after child reaches into the smoke and waves it over their face and body. Prof touts their precise analysis of student needs Parents, educators urged to get over score phobia. They've been blasted by teachers, boycotted by kids and brandished by real estate agents trying to rank neighbourhoods by school.
But eight years after standardized tests hit Ontario, there is mounting proof the scores including the latest batch due today are providing schools with a power tool to pinpoint how to help children learn, says Premier Dalton McGuinty's special adviser on education. A is for adult authority. By Glenn Sacks. We received the notices for my son's and daughter's school in the mail yesterday.