Parents, of course, are generally the people with the most direct interest in children’s education after the children themselves. They expect early childhood centres and schools to respect and help fulfil the human rights of their children, and to help in the process of developing citizens who respect the rights of others – including their parents!

The rights and responsibilities of parents are reinforced in a human rights approach to education. The key international human rights declarations and treaties emphasise that

  • the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to the widest possible protection by society and the state (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 16; International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, article 10)
  • the rights and duties of parents should be taken into account when protecting and caring for the child (Convention on the Rights of the Child, article 3)
  • the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents to give the child appropriate direction and guidance should be respected (Convention on the Rights of the Child, article 5).

Parents in Hampshire, England, where this approach has been policy for some years, have found that far from allowing children to be merely "rights-expecting, selfish and exclusive", children who learn about human rights in a comprehensive way are ‘"rights-respecting, outward looking and inclusive". They are more likely to have a positive self-image, treat others with respect, and take their responsibilities seriously. Putting them at the centre of a world that cares about them, and understanding they have a human right to education, often leads them to take their own learning more seriously too, resulting in better achievement.

Frequently asked Questions

Last Updated (Tuesday, 26 June 2012 13:35)