WebQuest

Equal Rights

Evaluation

A sustainable (in the long term), comprehensive and effectivenational strategy for infusing human rights educationinto educational systems may include various courses ofaction, such as:• The incorporation of human rights education in nationallegislation regulating education in schools;• The revision of curricula and textbooks;• Preservice and inservice training for teachers to includetraining on human rights and human rights educationmethodologies;• The organization of extracurricular activities, both based onschools and reaching out to the family and the community;• The development of educational materials;• The establishment of support networks of teachers andother professionals (from human rights groups, teachers’unions, non-governmental organizations or professionalassociations) and so on.The concrete way in which this process takes place in eachcountry depends on local educational systems which differwidely, not least in the degree of discretion teachers mayexercise in setting their own teaching goals and meeting them. The teacher will always be the key person, however, ingetting new initiatives to work. The teacher therefore carriesa great responsibility for communication of the humanrights message. Opportunities to do this may vary: humanrights themes may be infused into existing school subjects,such as history, civics, literature, art, geography, languagesand scientific subjects, or may have a specific course allocatedto them; human rights education may also be pursuedthrough less formal education arenas within and outsideschools such as after-school activities, clubs and youthforums.Ideally, a human rights culture should be built into the wholecurriculum (yet in practice, particularly at secondary level, it isusually treated piecemeal, as part of the established curriculumin the social and economic sciences and the humanities).In the classroom, human rights education should be developedwith due attention to the developmental stage of childrenand their social and cultural contexts in order to makehuman rights principles meaningful to them. For example,human rights education for younger children could emphasizethe development of self-esteem and empathy and aclassroom culture supportive of human rights principles.Although young children are able to grasp the underlyingprinciples of basic human rights instruments, the more complexcontent of human rights documents may be moreappropriate to older learners with better developed capacitiesfor concept development and analytical reasoning. Thetable on p. 17 reflects a matrix proposing the progressiveintroduction of children to human rights concepts dependingon their age. The proposal is not meant to be prescriptivebut only to provide an example, which was developedand discussed by human rights education practitioners gatheredin Geneva in 1997.

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