Education should develop each child’s personality and talents to the full. It should encourage children to respect their parents, and their own and other cultures.
Children have the right to meet together and to join groups and organisations, as long as this does not stop other people from enjoying their rights.
Children’s rights are central to all aspects of UNICEF’s work, including education, and we use the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) as a framework for our activities. The CRC is a comprehensive human rights treaty that enshrines specific children’s rights in international law. These rights define universal principles and standards for the status and treatment of children worldwide.
UNICEF aims to promote children’s rights in schools in two ways: by supporting schools to ensure that rights are embedded in their ethos and policy-making; and by offering resources and activities to ensure that children and young people can learn about children’s rights in the classroom and beyond.
Key principles and provisions of the Convention
The CRC consists of 54 articles. A ‘child’ is defined as every human being below the age of 18. The key provisions are:
- The right to a childhood (including protection from harm)
- The right to be educated (including all girls and boys completing primary school)
- The right to be healthy (including having clean water, nutritious food and medical care)
- The right to be treated fairly (which includes changing laws and practices that discriminate against children)
- The right to be heard (which includes considering children’s views)
Why teach about the Convention?
Teaching children and young people about the CRC means that they can find out about the legal and human rights and responsibilities that underpin society. By learning about the Convention, children and young people in the UK can discover that:
- They have rights
- They should be informed about their rights
- They should be helped to exercise their rights
- They should be able to enforce their rights
- There should be a community of interest to advocate young people’s rights
These tenets of the CRC are true for children and young people worldwide, making the Convention an excellent starting point for understanding global citizenship.