Children´s Rights in Schools: From International Initiatives to Local Implementation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter

Abstract

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is a human rights treaty adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989, which has had a major impact on children’s rights, policies and legislation in many countries around the world. This paper describes longstanding experiences of running a Sida-funded training programme on children’s rights at Lund University. The authors have participated in the programme as teachers, and have, over the years, visited around 20 countries and gained deep insights into change processes at different administrative levels of these countries’ education systems. These experiences from similar projects in other countries and continents help put developments in Sweden into perspective.

The aim of the present chapter is firstly to gain an understanding of how the CRC can be used to bring about change in schools and in the classroom. The chapter’s secondary aim is to analyse and reflect on, from a norm perspective, how the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has contributed to bringing about change at different levels of the participating countries’ education systems.

The chapter consists of five sections. Each one begins by describing the programme’s background, goal and objective. This is followed by a description of the changes implemented in the participating countries since 2003, which are based in three key CRC perspectives: ’Participation’, ’Protection’ and ’Provision’. The third section introduces norm-theory and the importance of norms in change processes, both in an international as well as as a Swedish context. The fourth section deals with change processes from the local to the national level and can be initiated both from the bottom–up as well as top–down. The final discussion addresses how some school problems, seen from a Swedish perspective, could be discussed in terms of changing norms in areas where children and students are able to exert a degree of influence.

The terms “children”, “pupils” and “students” are used variably throughout the text. The Swedish Education Act adheres to the CRC and defines children as “every human being below the age of eighteen years” (the Swedish Education Act 2010:800, Chap.1 §10). Additionally, the student is also defined as “whomsoever participates in education under this act, with the exception of children attending preschool” (the Swedish Education Act 2010:800, Chap.1 §10).

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Umeå University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law and Society

Keywords

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Studies on Enactment of Children´s Rights in Education
Subtitle of host publication30 researchers from non-western countries
Place of PublicationLund
PublisherSociology of Law, Lund University
Pages135-160
Number of pages25
Volume2019:3
ISBN (Electronic)978-91-7267-420-2
ISBN (Print)978-91-7267-419-6
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Nov 12
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

Publication series

NameResearch Report in Sociology of Law
PublisherSociology of Law, Lund University
Number3
Volume2019
ISSN (Print)1404-1030