Equal Rights



A sustainable (in the long term), comprehensive and effective national strategy for infusing human rights education into educational systems may include various courses of action, such as:

• The incorporation of human rights education in national legislation regulating education in schools;

• The revision of curricula and textbooks;

• Pre-service and in-service training for teachers to include training on human rights and human rights education methodologies;

• The organization of extracurricular activities, both based on schools and reaching out to the family and the community;

• The development of educational materials;

• The establishment of support networks of teachers and other professionals (from human rights groups, teachers’unions, non-governmental organizations or professional associations) and so on. 


The concrete way in which the process of teaching takes place in each country depends on local educational systems which differ widely, not least in the degree of discretion teachers may exercise in setting their own teaching goals and meeting them. The teacher will always be the key person, however, in getting new initiatives to work. The teacher therefore carries a great responsibility for communication of the human rights message.   Opportunities to do this may vary: human rights themes may be infused into existing school subjects, such as history, civics, literature, art, geography, languages and scientific subjects, or may have a specific course allocated to them; human rights education may also be pursued through less formal education arenas within and outside schools, such as after-school activities, clubs and youth forums. 

Ideally, a human rights culture should be built into the whole curriculum (yet in practice, particularly at secondary level, it is usually treated piecemeal, as part of the established curriculum in the social and economic sciences and the humanities). In the classroom, human rights education should be developed with due attention to the developmental stage of children and their social and cultural contexts in order to make human rights principles meaningful to them. For example, human rights education for younger children could emphasize the development of self-esteem and empathy and a classroom culture supportive of human rights principles. Although young children are able to grasp the underlying principles of basic human rights instruments, the more complex content of human rights documents may be more appropriate to older learners with better developed capacities for mind mapping, concept development and analytical reasoning.


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