Experts In Children’s Rights Education To Visit
12 February 2008
Experts In Children’s Rights Education To Visit New Zealand
Available for interview (Wellington) Thurs 21 February (or at other times by arrangement)
Katherine Covell and Brian Howe are pioneers in children’s rights education.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely and most quickly ratified UN convention in world history. New Zealand ratified the Convention in 1993, making it legally binding. It requires that children be taught their human rights.
But research found that “only three 11-12 year olds out of five classrooms in Auckland had heard about children’s rights, as had only 15 to 16 percent of school children surveyed across the country”.
Does it matter?
Katherine Covell and Brian Howe’s work with schools in Canada and the UK has shown that explicit teaching of the rights described in the Convention, in an environment that itself models and respects those rights, can lift self-esteem and learning achievement, improve participation and engagement in school, and increase teacher satisfaction.
In New Zealand Katherine and Brian will be meeting with teachers and others interested in education, child welfare and citizenship, as part of New Zealand’s Building Human Rights Communities in Education Initiative – the development of schools and early childhood education centres as communities that “know, promote and live human rights”.
With a growing number of teachers and schools involved, the Initiative is backed by the Children’s Commissioner, Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International, Development Resource Centre and Peace Foundation, and has the support of former Governors General Sir Paul Reeves and Dame Silvia Cartwright.