The role of law and legal knowledge for a transformative human rights education: addressing violations of children’s rights in formal education
Human Rights Education (HRE) emphasises the significance of children learning about, through and for human rights through their lived experiences. Such experiential learning, however, is often limited to instances of enjoyment of rights and disregards experiences of injustice, exclusion or discrimination. By neglecting the ‘negative’ experiences, including breaches of their human rights, HRE fails in one of its fundamental aims: empowering individuals to exercise their rights and to respect and uphold the rights of others. Drawing on a range of legal sources, this article identifies a number of violations of the human rights of children in schools, categorised under five themes: access to school; the curriculum; testing and assessment; discipline; and respect for children’s views. It argues that for HRE to achieve its core purpose, it must enable children to identify and challenge breaches of rights in school and elsewhere. To do so, knowledge of law, both domestic and international, has a fundamental role to play.
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