First phase (2005-2009) of the World Programme for Human Rights Education - Summary of national initiatives undertaken within the first phase (2005-2009)
This is a summary of information received by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) from Governments and National Human Rights Institutions concerning their activities to implement the Plan of Action for the first phase (2005-2009) of the World Programme for Human Rights Education (WPHRE). National initiatives are presented by country, under five regions (Africa; Asia/Pacific; Europe and North America; Latin America and the Caribbean; Middle East and North Africa).
The United Nations system has addressed Ministers of Education (or equivalent institutions) of all UN Member States on two occasions, regarding the World Programme. On 9 January 2006, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, together with the Director-General of UNESCO (and the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, for Council of Europe's Member States), wrote to Ministers of Education to encourage implementation of the Plan of Action and offer assistance upon request. The Ministers of Education were also requested to provide information on which relevant departments or units in the Ministry would coordinate initiatives related to the implementation of the Plan of Action. Sample of letter from OHCHR and UNESCO dated 9 January 2006. Sample of letter from OHCHR, UNESCO and the Council of Europe dated 9 January 2006.
On 10 December 2007, the United Nations Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee on Human Rights Education in the School System (UNIACC), composed of 12 UN entities (ILO, OHCHR, UNAIDS, UNDG, UNDP, UNDPI, UNESCO/ International Bureau for Education, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNIFEM, UNRWA), wrote to Ministers of Education to reinforce implementation of human rights education in the primary and secondary school systems, take stock of the national initiatives carried out so far to implement the Plan of Action of the World Programme and to offer the assistance of the United Nations system upon request. The Ministers of Education were also requested to provide information on which relevant departments or units in the Ministry would coordinate initiatives related to the implementation of the Plan of Action. The letter was signed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on behalf of the Committee. Sample of letter dated 10 December 2007.
In addition, this page also includes information on national initiatives for human rights education drawn from responses to the questionnaire addressed to Governments and National Human Rights Institutions as part of the consultations with all relevant stakeholders undertaken by the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee, at the request of the Human Rights Council pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 6/10 of 28 September 2007, on the possible elements for a draft UN declaration on human rights education and training. For sample questionnaires and replies, please refer to the Advisory Committee’s webpage on the draft declaration on human rights education and training.
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For contact information of national focal points, please refer to National focal points for the World Programme for Human Rights Education. For information on national initiatives in the area of human rights education , prior to 2005, please refer to the Summary of national initiatives undertaken within the UN Decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2004).
The Government of Angola envisages the promotion of human rights education to address the urgent need to ensure that the values of liberty, human rights, democracy and citizenship are imparted in children and young people in Angola. The education policy in Angola strives towards an education for human and democratic values and principles and therefore implies a continuous revision of curriculum and didactic materials to guide the daily work of teachers and educational professionals. In the context of the current education reform, Angola has substantially reformulated the conceptual framework for the education and included the development of the human person and citizenship as objectives and educational content.
The National Institute of Research and Development of Education (Instituto Nacional para Investigação e Desenvolvimento da Educação – INIDE), a public institute under the Ministry of Education which is responsible for pedagogical research, programs, materials and curricula for the education system, collaborated with OHCHR field presence in Angola to integrate human rights in the pedagogical materials used in schools. INIDE and OHCHR Angola planned to integrate human rights education in schools in four phases. The first phase consisted in training of INIDE teachers and staff on international human rights instruments, cultural and educational values, techniques of revision and validation of curricula and basic strategies to include human rights in the school curriculum. The second phase included the development of Manuals on Human Rights for teachers in primary and secondary schools. The third phase focuses on teacher training and the national piloting of the Manuals on Human Rights, with the aim to equip teachers with the methodological guidance to teach human rights in various educational disciplines. In the fourth phase Manuals on Human Rights would be published and made generally available; this includes that all teachers should be trained in interactive and participatory teaching methods on human rights.
Information received: 31 January 2008
Source: Instituto Nacional de Investigação e Desenvolvimento de Educação (National Institute of Research and Development of Education)
[Note: OHCHR Angola field presence was closed in May 2008.]
Training programmes on human rights and international humanitarian law for police instructors have been organized by the ICRC and the Angolan National Police on issues such as maintaining law and order, detention, the use of firearms, the protection of victims and others. There are also nationwide awareness-raising campaigns in police stations on human rights and international humanitarian law.
For Angola education is the cornerstone in the prevention of human rights violations. In this context workshops are organized to promote tolerance within the framework of the implementation of the Durban Declaration and Plan of Action. Radio programmes concerning human rights are designed to promote tolerance among communities and ethnic groups. Human rights have been included in primary and secondary school education programmes. Angolan universities are working with African counterparts in order to introduce the subject of human rights in the curriculum. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is being translated into national languages in order to disseminate the human rights principles. The challenge is to implement programmes to change attitudes arising from traditional discriminatory cultural practices, which still prevail throughout the country, aiming at promoting equal opportunities to the access to education between boys and girls. Future priorities include increasing international cooperation in order to improve the training of all entities responsible for protecting and promoting human rights; improving training in human rights for the police, armed forces, social workers, lawyers and public workers, and strengthening policies for human rights education.
Information received: 6 July 2009
Source: Permanent Mission of Angola, Geneva
Human rights education initiatives have been undertaken in primary and secondary schools since 1994. In 2006 the Minister of National Education and Culture, with the support of the UNESCO Chair, elaborated an assessment on human rights education in schools in Burundi. Based on the assessment a “Plan of Action for education in civic, peace and human rights” (Plan d'Action de Formation Civique et Humaine et d'Education à la Paix et aux Droits de l'Homme) was developed for 2007-2008 as part of its efforts to develop a national strategy to integrate human rights education in schools.
Burundi is currently engaged in the third step of the process to integrate human rights education in the school system, i.e. implementing and monitoring its Plan of Action for education in civic, peace and human rights. One of the initial projects resulting from the Plan of Action is the elaboration of human rights education manuals. The manuals for the 1st and 2nd year are already available in schools, the materials for the 3rd and 4th year are being elaborated while those for the 5th and 6th year as well as those for secondary schools are being piloted.
The implementation of the Plan of Action for education in civic, peace and human rights in Burundi is restrained by technical and financial difficulties, including lack of trained teachers. A plan to overcome the challenges and strengthen coordination among all actors involved in the implementation and monitoring process has been elaborated and will be submitted to national and international partners for funding of the program. The Ministry of National Education and Culture, the Director General of UNESCO, the representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from the Human Rights and Justice Division, and representatives of UNICEF, in August 2007 decided to establish a mixed team composed of the representatives of the Government of Burundi and national and international organizations, chaired by the President of Burundi, to search for funds for implementation of the programme.
The Minister of Education and Scientific Research has nominated a focal point for human rights education within the Ministry.
Last information received: 31 March 2008
Contact: Ministère de l’Education Nationale et de la Recherche Scientifique
A Committee for the Elaboration and Implementation of the Plan of Action for Human Rights (Comité d’Elaboration et de Mise en oeuvre du Plan d’Action aux Droits de l’Homme) was created on 10 November 2006, to integrate human rights education into the primary school system. To date the following activities have been undertaken: a calendar for activities has been elaborated; fifty primary schools have been selected as pilots for human rights education; seminars have been organized for teachers. Further, the Ministry of Basic Education has elaborated a pedagogical material on human rights education for primary schools, identified the educational materials appropriate for human rights education and devised strategies for follow-up activities. The Plan of Action for 2007-2008 envisages the effective teaching of human rights education to begin in primary schools at the beginning of the school year 2008/2009.
The Ministry of Basic Education has nominated a focal point for human rights education within the Ministry.
Last information received: 1 April 2008
Source: Ministère de l’Education de Base
National Human Rights Institution
To establish a human rights education programme in Cameroon, the National Commission for Human Rights and Freedoms (la Commission Nationale des Droits de l’Homme et des Libertés, hereafter CNDHL) began with a feasibility study collecting information from primary secondary schools as well as higher education. On the basis of the collected information a group of resource persons elaborated the main elements of human rights education programme for the school system. The project was reviewed by representatives from the whole education sector at a workshop in June 2004. The workshop participants recommended the elaboration of pedagogical materials on human rights; such materials, for primary schools, secondary schools, universities, graduate institutes and the army respectively, have been elaborated by the group of resource persons. The materials were validated at a workshop in February 2006 and were expected to be finalized in March 2006 with subsequent translation into English and publication by May 2006. A country-wide training of trainers was planned for May 2006 and the human rights education programme was planned to be launched in June 2006. Follow-up and evaluation would commence from September 2006.
Last information received: 31 March 2006
Source: Commission Nationale des Droits de l’Homme et des Libertés
The Minister of National Education has appointed the Centre for National Curricula as focal point for the Plan of Action for the first phase of the WPHRE.
Last information received: 6 April 2006
Source: Ministère de l’Education Nationale
The Legal Adviser to the Minister of Education has been appointed as a focal point for the World Programme for Human Rights Education.
Last information received: 18 July 2006
Source: Ministry of National Education
As part of the new Education and Training Policy launched in Ethiopia, the subject “Civics and Ethical Education” has been introduced in primary, secondary and tertiary education. The subject is designed to develop among the students the culture of tolerance, respect for the rule of law, upholding the constitution and the constitutional system, giving due respect to human and democratic rights of citizens and imbue them with the value of active participation in the democratic process of Ethiopia.
The Government of Ethiopia has further set up a Civics and Ethical Education Department to promote civic values in the country; launched workshops for teachers aiming to sensitization around international human rights instruments and the federal constitution of Ethiopia; developed textbooks on Civics and Ethical Education for students at all levels; and prepared course outlines for the tertiary education. Beyond the subject Civics and Ethical Education, human rights values have been incorporated into the civics curriculum at all levels of the education system.
The Civics and Ethical Education Department in the Ministry of Education is the focal point for the Plan of Action for the first phase of the WPHRE.
Last information received: 1 March 2007
Source: Ministry of Education
Republic of Guinea
The Ministry of Pre-University Education and Civic Education has undertaken a number of activities to promote human rights education in the school system, such as the creation of a National Directorate on Civic Education (Direction Nationale de l’Education Civique); the introduction of human rights education in the curricula for primary education; capacity-building of certain educational personnel; the testing in schools of student structures such as “Children's Governments” and others.
The Ministry of Pre-University Education and Civic Education has appointed an inter-ministerial national commission to coordinate activities to implementation the first phase of the World Programme.
Last information received: 12 April 2007
Source: Ministère de l’Enseignement Pré-universitaire et de l’Education Civique
The Ministry of Education and Training, through the National Curriculum Development Centre, has introduced a Human Rights module which is integrated in the Social Studies course at primary school level. The Ministry has further introduced Life Skills Education as a compulsory subject in its school curricula at primary and secondary school levels. Human rights are part of this curriculum.
Last information received: 14 March 2008
Source: Ministry of Education and Training
The Ministry of Education has committed to introducing human rights into the national primary and secondary curriculum, as part of a broader programme to rebuild and improve Liberia’s educational system in the post-conflict era. The Ministry of Education has therefore undertaken the following activities:
- Human rights education has been introduced on an ad-hoc basis in various schools and teacher training institutes;
- Peace, human rights and citizenship education, along with health and technological education is included in the newly revised curricula;
- Preparation of new teaching manuals for human rights, peace and citizenship education for primary and secondary schools are underway, with the support of UNESCO, UNDP, UNHCR and UNMIL and with the involvement of the civil society;
- Plans are underway for teacher training on human rights, peace and citizenship education, in order to start teaching it as a separate subject in schools and Teacher Training Institutes beginning September 2006;
- The Ministry of Education plans to establish a human rights resource center within the Legal Department of the Ministry. The center will serve as a central coordinating body for human rights education in Liberia and will be supervised by the Legal Counsel of the Legal Department.
Constraints for implementing the program include the remuneration of teachers, slow rehabilitation of school buildings and roads to schools destroyed by the civil war, as well as low attendance of children in formal education (UNESCO’s Global Monitoring Report (2005) estimated that less than 33% of school-aged children attended school), resulting in a need also for further initiatives in the non-formal sector.
The Legal Counsel in the Ministry of Education is responsible for coordination of human rights, peace and citizenship education.
Last information received: 18 August 2006
Source: Ministry of Education
Within the Ministry of National Education and Scientific Research, the Office for Mass Education and Civism (Office de l’Education de Masse et du Civisme - OEMC) is responsible for human rights education in Madagascar. The OEMC is implementing the project "Promotion of culture and protection of human rights in schools" (Promotion de la culture et de la défense des Droits de l’Homme à l’école) funded by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) with $348.103. The project will lead to a study examining the respect for human rights in schools, which will be validated nationally and which will identify the national priorities and strategies to promote human rights in schools. The project also includes the elaboration of pedagogical manuals on human rights education.
Madagascar plans to strengthen education for parents as well as pre- and in-service training of school personnel. Further, human rights education forms part of the nationwide broadcasts of Educative Radio on the Radio Nationale Malagasy and some audio-visual support materials have been developed to facilitate the transmission of human rights education messages. The film “Hianatra aho” was produced in December 2006, in collaboration with students from the United Nations Club of Lycée Jules Ferry, to promote the schooling of children and to combat child labour.
Madagascar has an “Education For All National Plan” to reform the education system, including the curricula. The OEMC has realized a comparative study on civic education programmes and will forward the results to the Directorate for the Development of Curricula (Direction de Développement des Curricula).
Last information received: 29 March 2008
Source: Office de l’Education de Masse et du Civisme, Ministère de l’Education Nationale et de la Recherche Scientifique
National Human Rights Institution
The Malawi Human Rights Commission has been taking concrete steps to implement human rights education and training programmes, in keeping with its current strategic plan (2006-2010) that includes, among its goals, enabling the people of Malawi – vulnerable groups in particular – to know, understand and freely exercise their human rights through human rights education and training. One of the Commission’s objectives is to include human rights in national school curriculum and to train education providers. The Commission’s comprehensive action plan on human rights education encompasses the development of education programmes for various target groups such as councillors, senior district officers, parliamentarians, army servants, judges, media personnel, teachers, students and others. Some of these groups have also completed training of trainers’ programmes. The Commission has additionally been engaged in the promotion of human rights through the distribution of information, education and communication materials and through special television and radio programmes in the media. The Commission is also operating a library open both to staff and public. In conjunction with the Malawi Institute of Education and Ministry of Education, the Commission has developed a Sourcebook on Human Rights and Democracy for use by Primary Education Advisors, Senior Education Methods Advisors, Primary Head-Teachers and Primary Teachers.
Information received: 24 December 2008
Source: Malawi Human Rights Commission
National Human Rights Institution
Although the right to human rights education is not formally recognized in the Mauritanian national system, the National Human Rights Commission has launched a programme of awareness-raising and human rights education and training that includes the creation of a website and of a documentation centre specialized in human rights and humanitarian law issues, public information campaign, radio broadcasting on the importance of human rights and other activities. The Commission has organized thematic workshops for Labour and Justice Administration on the prohibition of forced labour; police training on the prohibition of torture, arbitrary detention and all forms of discrimination; and teaching of the values of human rights, democracy and citizenship at primary and secondary schools. The UNESCO Chair in Human Rights has begun to take shape at the University of Nouakchott. The Commission’s priorities include the preparation of teaching materials in Arabic, French and the four other national languages, as well as the training of trainers on human rights education in cooperation with national and international partners.
Information received: 8 March 2009
Source: Commission Nationale des Droits de l’Homme en Mauritanie
Human Rights Education Committee (HREC) was set up by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Human Resources to define the course of action towards promoting quality education through a rights-based approach. A Task Force comprising representatives of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, Ministry of Women's Rights, Child Development, Family Welfare and Consumer Protection, National Human Rights Commission, University of Mauritius, UNDP and other institutions proposed a Plan of Activities to integrate human rights education into the curriculum. Among the activities implemented in Mauritian primary and secondary schools are dissemination campaigns on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, greater coherence of Amnesty and Human Rights Clubs at secondary schools, and extension of "Exploring Humanitarian Law" (EHL), an educational programme for adolescents, from state secondary schools also to private schools. Ministry of Education's Directorate of Co-curricular and Extra-curricular Activities has encouraged schools to organise human rights-related activities.
The Ministry of Education, Culture and Human Resources with the assistance of UNDP invited a consultant from UNESCO/IBE to advise on policy orientation for curriculum integration of human rights, which will serve as a basis for the formulation of curriculum guidelines and textbooks for the secondary sector. The National Curriculum Framework for primary and secondary levels mentions the integration of human rights education as a transversal scheme.
Last information received: 14 October 2008
Source: Permanent Mission of the Republic of Mauritius, Geneva
The Government’s five-year programme for education (2005-9), presents education as a fundamental right and as a tool for the integration of citizens into the social and economic life and as a basic instrument to face the challenge of development. In that sense, the curricula of primary and secondary education approach different topics of interest for the community like HIV-AIDS, gender, children rights, democracy, human rights, poverty or environment.
In primary education, it is mainly in social sciences where there is a clear reference to human rights. However, human rights are a cross-cutting subject in the school curricula particularly in the field of communication and social sciences. In secondary education, Mozambique is developing a curriculum transformation program which puts an emphasis on human rights. Structural problems of education in Mozambique resulting from the lack of teacher training or the high number of students per class affect the effective implementation of human rights education programmes.
Information received: 2 April 2008
Source: Ministério da Educação e Cultura
National Human Rights Institution
The Office of the Ombudsman, Namibia, has initiated the development of a national human rights action plan through a participatory process with a view to make human rights education and training central concepts in all programming process. With regard to school curricula, human rights education is part of the teaching and learning programmes in Namibia. The subject is taught as Civic Education at primary level and as Education for Human Rights and Democracy in Namibia at upper primary and secondary levels. A teachers’ guide and CD-ROM has been developed in support of human rights education in Namibia. The institution also works towards providing human rights training for newly-recruited prison officials and for police officers as part of their basic training curriculum.
Information received: 12 March 2009
Source: Office of the Ombudsman, Namibia
Niger is reforming the system of formal and non-formal education and has elaborated a national plan for human rights, peace and democracy education (Plan d'Action National d'éducation à la paix, à la non violence, aux droits de l'homme et à la démocratie en Niger). The Directorate for Curricula and Pedagogical Innovation (Direction des Curricula et des Innovations Pédagogiques) at the Ministry of Basic Education and Alphabetization coordinates the implementation of human rights education in schools.
Information received: 15 September 2006
Source: Ministère de l’Education de Base et de l’Alphabétisation
National Human Rights Institution
According to the CNDHLF, the right to human rights education and training is recognized in the national educational system. Civic education programme is taught in primary schools and modules on fundamental rights and public freedoms are offered at universities and in certain professional training institutes. The government has launched a specific programme of teaching children’s rights in pilot schools. CNDHLF has translated the constitution in national languages, organized seminars and workshops as well as awareness-raising campaigns on the respect for human rights.
Information received: 6 January 2009
Source: Commission Nationale des Droits de l’Homme et des Libertés Fondamentales (CNDHLF)
Formal education programmes on human rights, peace and democracy in the curricula are developed by associations or civil society, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. A national committee was established and a mapping study was undertaken by the Ministry of Education with assistance of academic inspections, pedagogical teams and NGOs active in the area of human rights education.
With the support of BREDA/UNESCO, the Ministry of Education organised a national consultation to work towards validating a national action plan for human rights education, in consultation with NGOs partners, regional and local associations (HRE providers). The mobilisation of partners has brought about increased interest of the youth in human rights education in school. Future efforts will be focused on extending and generalising existing education programmes, integrating human rights issues in curricula, provision of appropriate resources (curriculum, equipment, material, infrastructure etc.) and reinforcing human resources capacity for human rights teaching.
Last information received: 4 December 2008
Source: Ministry of Education
National Human Rights Institution
In order to promote human rights education in Uganda, the Uganda Human Rights Commission has formed Peace Clubs, Voluntary Action Groups and Human Rights Committees in districts to disseminate human rights knowledge at the grassroots level. The Commission has produced Your Rights Magazines and Human Rights Readers Book 1-7, which can be used in human rights education in primary schools. Advocacy to introduce human rights in the primary curriculum is on going. Several training programmes and workshops have been conducted by the Commission and civil society across the country. The Commission has produced the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) Human Rights Training Manual in support of providing human rights knowledge to security forces at training schools. More effort is needed to reach minorities and the disadvantaged in Uganda with human rights knowledge through education programmes. This entails production of basic materials in relevant local languages.
Information received: 31 March 2009
Source: Uganda Human Rights Commission
After the establishment of the new government in 2001, human rights education and awareness became one of the strategic goals of the government and civil society organizations. In 2007 the Ministry of Education, supported by the Independent Human Rights Commission of Afghanistan, developed a curriculum for human rights education that will be integrated in the national school curriculum and in newly-developed textbooks. The Ministry is focused (1) on human rights curriculum and school textbooks development (for different grades), (2) on creating awareness in schools and among the students on human rights, and (3) on teacher training (current syllabus for teacher training covers Foundations (or principles) of Rights, Basic and Constitutional Rights and Human Rights). Awareness programs have been developed for school managers to sensitise them to the importance of human rights education. Other measures are the formation of the Schools Management Committees (SMC) and Parents Teachers Association (PTA) which have the responsibility to participate in school management, monitor equality and contribute to the maintenance and operation of the schools. Human rights NGOs and UN agencies play a crucial role in promoting human rights in education in Afghanistan.
Information received: September 2008
Source: Ministry of Education
The Government of Australia supports human rights education in a number of ways, including through its Civics and Citizenship Education program and its Values Education program. An annual civics and citizenship education professional forum for teachers is funded through the Civics and Citizenship Education program.
School education in Australia is the constitutional responsibility of state and territory government and non-government education authorities, with the Australian Government taking a leadership role. This has included contributing to the development of the national Statement of Learning for Civics and Citizenship Education, which incorporates human rights education. State and territory governments have agreed to implement the Statement of Learning in 2008.
The Curriculum Branch of the Ministry of Education has been appointed as focal point for Australia’s implementation of the first phase of the WPHRE.
Last information received on: 11 March 2008
Source: Ministry of Education
Human rights education as a curriculum package in the school system per se, is yet to be developed in Brunei Darussalam. Nevertheless the inculcation of human rights values in the education system is actively promoted by the Ministry of Education thought the Special Education Unit, whose key role is to promote inclusive education. The Ministry of Education's Strategic Plan 2007-2011 was formulated to revitalize and re-energize the education system, so that all students, including those with special needs, will receive the best quality education required to succeed in the future.
The Special Education Unit, Ministry of Education, upholds the integration of human rights in the primary and secondary education system in Brunei Darussalam through actively promoting inclusive education in the education system. The Ministry of Education and the Special Education Unit supports the Vision of Education for All (EFA), in particular the second and the sixth EFA goals, which were reaffirmed at the Dakar World Education Forum 2000.
The Compulsory Education Order, 2007, ensures that every child from the age of six to fourteen attends school.
Last information received: 5 April 2008
Source: International Affairs Unit, Ministry of Education
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) has been leading education reform in Cambodia, including efforts to integrate human rights education in the education system. Key goals have been to improve the quality of basic education and to ensure equitable access to basic education. The Cambodian school system includes pre-school, primary, lower secondary and upper secondary levels. Several education policies and strategic plans provide orientation for activities related to human rights education, for example, Policy for Curriculum Development (2005 - 2009), Policy for Child-Friendly Schools (2007), Policy of Education for Children with Disability, Education Strategic Plan (2006 - 2010), Policy for Gender Education, Policy for Education for All (2005), ICT in Education Policy, Workplace Policy on HIV and AIDS, and Policy on School Health (2008). The 2007 Education Law provides for education based on human rights principles such as free access to schooling for nine years, the right to equality in schooling access, the right to freedom of belief, freedom of expression and others. The Education Sector Support Programme (ESSP) puts into practice the policies and strategies laid out in the Education Strategic Plan such as scholarships for girls in remote rural schools or the child-friendly school programme. Curriculum standards have been developed as a tool for students’ learning outcome assessment. The development and implementation of a national action plan for integrating human rights in the school curriculum has commenced. The Ministry also aims to put in place a number of teacher trainers on integrating human rights into the Cambodian school curriculum and, to this end, the publication Human Rights Lesson Plans for Southeast Asian Schools has been translated into Khmer to serve as training and resource material for teachers. Other training materials and textbooks are being developed.
School curriculum in Cambodia includes human rights concepts drawn from the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Grades 1 - 9), Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (Grades 10 - 12). Raising awareness of human rights is included in Moral-Civic Education, a strand of Social Studies which is compulsory for Grades 1 – 10 and elective for Grades 11 and 12, as well as in extra-curricular activities. The Local Life Skills Programme (LLSP) provides an opportunity to involve parents, local community and NGOs in assisting schools with extra-curricular activities.
Information received: July 24 2009
Source: Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports - Department of Curriculum Development
Japan has completed the first two (analysis and setting of national priorities) of the four stages of implementing the Plan of Action for the first phase of the WPHRE. The third stage is under implementation and the fourth, evaluation, is scheduled for the future.
The 2000 "Act for the Promotion of Human Rights Education and Encouragement" focuses on the promotion of human rights education. The Government of Japan made an analysis of the current situation of "The Basic Plan for the Promotion of Human Rights" (decided on by the Cabinet in March 2002), which also stipulates measures to promote and encourage human rights education.
The Government of Japan has designated model regions and schools for human rights education in primary and secondary education, which are named as Regions of Comprehensive Promotion of Human Rights Education and Schools Designated for Human Rights Education and Research. The Government conducts practical research targeted at those regions and schools. Further, the Government of Japan has conducted survey research on how to reform and improve teaching methods for human rights education. Surveys were made in 2004, 2006 and 2008. The results are disseminated to all prefectures, municipalities and schools.
Moreover, the Government has conducted survey research concerning teaching materials, teacher training and instruction methods of human rights education. The results were summarized in 2004 and 2006. In 2008 the Government of Japan converted the results into study and training programmes, which have been disseminated. The Government has started to monitor the achievements of the survey research concerning human rights education in primary and secondary schools.
The Government of Japan has assigned the International Affairs Division of Secretariat of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Technology and the Student Affairs Division, Elementary and Secondary Education Bureau of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Technology, to coordinate initiatives related to the implementation of the Plan of Action for the first phase (2005-2009) of the WPHRE.
Last information received on: 29 May 2008
Source: Permanent Mission of Japan, Geneva
Kazakhstan considers education to be one of the essential human rights and a necessary tool for the implementation of human rights in general. Various models of education with a long-term perspective have been developed in Kazakhstan (e.g. State programme of Kazakhstan for the development of education for the period of 2005-2010 and a Long-term programme of education up to 2020). Activities carried out in the area of human rights education and training include lessons teaching, television programmes, advertisements and others. While information and education activities are a priority, the accessibility to a wide range of society presents a challenge. Achievements include the improvement of the education system in the area of human rights.
The knowledge about human rights and civic education is introduced throughout the whole education system of Kazakhstan. A cycle of social and legal disciplines is studied in schools, for example, in the context of such subjects as Mother Tongue, Cognition of the World, History, the Basics of Social Studies, Principles of Jurisprudence, An Introduction to Civics and Exploring Humanitarian Law. Vocational and technical education offers professional specialization on jurisprudence and law enforcement. Twenty-two universities offer a course on civil law in Kazakhstan, which includes human rights education components. Special human rights and law competitions take place for students and a “Student ombudsmen” project has also been implemented. The Department of Children’s Rights of Kazakhstan, assisted by non-governmental organizations, has held seminars and public lectures on children’s rights, in addition to making information available through the mass media. The Regional Board of Education in conjunction with the institutes of advanced training and retraining has developed manuals such as “Legal literacy programme for educational institutions”.
Information received: 12 January 2009 and 27 July 2009
Source: Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan, Geneva
The Government of Kyrgyzstan has appointed the Department of Preschool, School and Adult Education in the Ministry of Education and the Academy of Education as focal points for the WPHRE and its Plan of Action.
Last information received: 7 April 2006
Source: Permanent Mission of the Kyrgyz Republic, Geneva
Lao People's Democratic Republic
To facilitate the implementation of the Plan of Action for the first phase of the WPHRE, the Ministry of Education in the Lao People's Democratic Republic has appointed the Human Rights Education Committee at the school level.
Information received: 6 July 2007 and 21 November 2007
Source: Ministry of Education and Lao National Commission for UNESCO
National Human Rights Institution
The state of Mongolia provides basic general education free of charge. In keeping with its Strategic Plan 2008 - 2011, the National Human Rights Commission works to raise awareness by the general public of their rights and freedoms. It promotes human rights, inter alia, by organizing a variety of trainings and education courses at national level. The Commission collaborates with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science on the establishment of formal and non-formal education systems on human rights and the training of specialists and lecturers in human rights, in accordance with Article 22.214.171.124 of the National Programme on Human Rights of Mongolia. The National Human Rights Commission has further been developing a report on the national progress made in integrating human rights education in primary and secondary school systems. Human rights are taught in the “Civilisation” lesson in 7th grade of secondary education and as a facultative lesson also at the Law School of the Mongolian State University and at the State Pedagogical University. The National Commission’s goal is to work towards including human rights as a separate and obligatory subject, elaborating a consolidated policy on human rights training, providing special human rights training for secondary school teachers, elaborating related guidebooks and education materials by 2009 - 2010, and advocacy activities in the framework of national legislation.
Information received: 26 March 2008 and 31 December 2008
Source: National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia
National Human Rights Institution
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of Nepal promotes human rights awareness and education in Nepal, namely through its work with the School Curriculum Development Centre towards integrating human rights in the society by means of school curricula and class room education. Other activities have included conducting training of trainers programmes on human rights, publication and dissemination of human rights materials, human rights advocacy through media and organization of a national-level conference on peace and human rights. Efforts have also been made to integrate human rights issues in staff training programs of security agencies such as Nepal Army, Nepal Armed Police Force and Nepal Police, and for civilian staff of various state agencies including the judiciary.
Information received: 29 December 2008
Source: National Human Rights Commission of Nepal
All schools in New Zealand are subject to the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 and the Human Rights Act 1993. In addition, the Education Standards Act 2001 (an amendment to the Education Act 1989) responds directly to the Human Rights Act by working towards ensuring compliance with human rights standards.
There are a number of ongoing initiatives that relate to New Zealand’s obligations under the WPHRE. For instance, Amnesty International and New Zealand’s Human Rights Commission are undertaking research into the role of schools and early education centres as human rights communities.
Human rights are a feature of the New Zealand social studies curriculum. At all levels of the curriculum students are encouraged to explore issues of rights and obligations. Human rights are also a key focus of social sciences curriculum resources kete on Te Kete Ipurangi and the social sciences exemplars. Further social science resource development is underway and will include a focus on human rights. Both the curriculum and social science resources are available in English and Mãori.
Last information received: 28 April 2006
Source: Ministry of Education
The Government of Pakistan has designated the Curriculum Wing of the Ministry of Education as the focal point for human rights education in Pakistan.
Last information received on: 18 April 2006
Source: Pakistan National Commission for UNESCO, on behalf of the Government of Pakistan
The Department of Education Special Concerns Office (DESCO), under the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Legal and Legislative Affairs, Department of Education (DEPED) has been designed to coordinate all initiatives related to implementation of the Plan of Action for the first phase (2005-2009) of the WPHRE.
Last information received on: 18 April 2006
Source: Permanent Mission of the Philippines, Geneva
Republic of Korea
With the launch of the National Human Rights Committee on November 25, 2001, the Republic of Korea began promoting a comprehensive human rights education on a national scale. Among the progress made to develop human rights programs and resources for nationwide use, is the set up of an internet-based human rights education system (http://humanrights.go.kr), the revision of textbooks to bring out the importance of human rights, and teacher-training programs run by the National Human Rights Commission.
Civil servants such as police officers, prosecutors, correctional officers and soldiers also receive human rights education under the supervision of the National Human Rights Commission. The National Police Agency and the Ministry of Defense operate an in house training program for their staff, with separate courses and learning resources on human rights.
To raise public awareness on human rights, films, cartoons, photography and other mediums are used. To encourage human rights education across all sectors of the society, including in schools and the public sector, the Korean government is backing a bill to make human rights education in organizations a legal requirement.
The Korean Government is in the process of elaborating a National Action Plan for Human Rights dealing with institutionalization of human rights education in all corners of the society, including the education, the public and the civil society sector.
Last information received on: 22 May 2006
Source: Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea, Geneva
Singapore has a Compulsory Education Act which was enacted on 1 January 2003. It provides for 6 years of compulsory primary education. Most students complete at least 10 years of education.
Freedom of thought and expression is encouraged in the classroom. In the subject of Social Sciences, students at the primary level learn about how the different ethnic groups in Singapore and the people in Southeast Asia have different religions, customs and festivals. The importance of respecting other people's beliefs, religions and cultures in emphasised in promoting understanding and friendships. At the secondary level, students learn about internal and external threats that could cause serious religious and racial divides. In addition, there are various platforms in schools such as suggestion schemes, dialogues, journal writing and forums, to give students an opportunity to express their views. Schools seek students' involvement in setting either school rules or designing school uniform to foster a sense of ownership and bond to their school community.
In the formal curriculum, the Civics and Moral Education curriculum serves as a key platform in infusing values of respect, responsibility, integrity, care, resilience and harmony. Through the Social Sciences curriculum, students learn about the multiracial, multicultural and multi-religious society around them as well as the sense of belonging to family, school and community. Teachers also infuse national education messages into the syllabus. For example, national education issues could be discussed in subjects such as the General Paper, History, Geography and Economics.
In the non-formal curriculum, the Community Involvement Programme is a way for students of different ethnic backgrounds to work together on activities and projects that benefit the society. In addition, students are also given the opportunity for overseas exchange programmes that aid in the development of their social and cultural skills. Through interaction with peers of other races and nationalities, students acquire a deeper appreciation of different cultures and deepen their sense of social identity.
Bilingualism is another cornerstone of Singapore 's education system and all students study both English and the mother tongue. Since 2005, in addition to English and mother tongue languages, schools have been offering Conversational Chinese and Malay so that their students will have the opportunity to learn another mother tongue than their own.
All teachers are trained in basic counselling. Students with more difficult problems can be referred to Teacher Counsellors, of which there are two in each school. Further, schools adopt several proactive measures to prevent students from dropping out of school. Efforts are also made to ensure that students with special needs are well taken care of in the education system.
The International Cooperation Branch is the relevant department within the Ministry of Education, assigned to coordinate human rights education activities.
Last information received: 26 March 2008
Source: Ministry of Education
Human rights have been integrated into the curriculum through subjects such as Social Studies, Civics and Government. A new subject called “Life Competencies”, which provides opportunities for students to be aware of peace, conflict resolution, democratic ideals, pluralism and respect for others, has been added to the curriculum in the junior secondary grades.
Sri Lanka is presently revising the existing curriculum in keeping with the national policy on curriculum review, which provides an opportunity to examine how human rights education could be further enhanced. The revised curriculum is expected to be implemented from 2007. The National Institute of Education in the Ministry of Education is the lead agency for curriculum development and teacher training.
Last information received: 2 March 2006
Source: Ministry of Education
The Ministry of Education of Thailand is the national focal point to promote human rights education in the school system. The action plan for human rights education has been developed and is given high priority in Thailand’s National Human Rights Plan of Action.
The Eminent Persons Committee was established in March 2007 by the Ministry of Education to follow-up on the implementation of the World Programme’s Plan of Action and has been mandated to study and analyse information on the learning and teaching of human rights in Thailand. The Committee has recommended conducting a study of human rights education in the school system, to be jointly organized by the Ministry of Education and Mahidol University. It has also considered organizing relevant activities in 2008 to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Year of Human Rights Learning, launched on 10 December 2008.
The Ministry of Education of Thailand has assigned the International Organization Cooperation Unit, Bureau of International Cooperation, to coordinate and prepare the above-mentioned activities and other relevant events.
The Royal Thai Government has also promoted human rights education at the regional level, particularly between countries of the ASEAN community as well as among countries in the Mekong Sub-region and the Asia-Pacific region and across regions during its Chairmanship of the Human Security Network (HSN).
Information received: 5 October 2006 (Ministry of Education) and 31 March 2008 (Permanent Mission of Thailand, Geneva).
EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA
The 2008 stocktaking exercise on human rights education in Austrian schools revealed that human rights education in Austrian schools is inter alia based on curricula, decrees on education for democratic citizenship and human rights education and action plans related to the Council of Europe EDC/HRE programme, to European Years as well as to the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014). Special efforts have been made to strengthen human rights education, to develop new training, translate and disseminate materials. Human rights education is present in General Knowledge (primary education), and in History, Social Sciences as well as ‘Citizenship Education’ (secondary education) and also as a cross-curricular matter. Following the lowering of voting age to 16 (2007), Austria has focused on boosting education for democratic citizenship and school democracy as a contribution to human rights education. The Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture has commissioned the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights to operate the Austrian Centre for Citizenship Education in Schools (http://www.politik-lernen.at) as the central education service institution for citizenship education in schools that inter alia develops new materials for the classroom and provides teacher training in this area. The Austrian focal point for the World Programme is within the Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture.
Information received: 29 August 2006, 30 October 2007, 9 October 2008 and 16 January 2009
Source: Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture; Permanent Mission of Austria, Geneva
The government of Albania has officially included human rights education in the teaching curricula of basic and secondary education as part of various subjects, as cross-curriculum or as an extra-curriculum activity. The subject of “social education” addresses categories of children rights embedded in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The curricula for the subjects of “civil education” and “knowledge on the society” also include a human rights component. For extracurricular activities, the Training and Curricula Institute has compiled manuals with numerous practical activities containing elements of human rights education. The Curricula and Training Institute focuses on the inclusion of human rights education in compulsory education curricula as well as on teacher training.
Projects of domestic and international organizations (e.g. Albanian Center of Human Rights, Curriculum and Training Institute and UNESCO) have resulted in the setting up of pilot schools for human rights education, teachers’ training on human rights in school curricula (special subjects and cross-curriculum) and training of school headmasters and all the chairmen of school boards. Further efforts are focused on extending pilots and good practices more broadly and on community inclusion in school activities related to human rights.
Last information received: 10 December 2008
Source: Permanent Mission of the Republic of Albania, Geneva
The Ministry of Education and Science has appointed a national focal point for human rights education in the school system in the National Institute for Education. The Ministry has further initiated the process for developing the National Action Plan for human rights education. A working group has been established in the National Institute for Education under the Ministry of Education and Science, to develop the plan. The Ministry envisages that the work will also lead to the establishment of a National Human Rights Resource and Training Centre and that subsequent to the initial formulation stage of the plan, a National Committee on Human Rights Education will be established to support, guide and supervise the development and implementation of the National Action Plan.
The First Generation Reforms recognized the necessity of human rights education and introduced a learner-centred approach. Armenia adopted a new National Framework Curriculum, developed new learning materials and reviewed learning methodologies. New subjects included Life Skills (elementary and middle schools) and Civics, Human Rights and State and Law (high schools). Armenia is currently undergoing the Second Generation Education Reforms (2008-2015), with a holistic approach to human rights education. The subject of human rights has been introduced in all secondary education institutions. One of the state universities has a Department of human rights and human rights courses are offered in Law Departments. Around 3000 teachers have been trained in teaching human rights.
Information received: 21 March 2008 and 2 March 2009
Source: Ministry of Education and Science and Permanent Mission of the Republic of Armenia, Geneva
Austria has appointed a focal point within the Federal Ministry of Education, the Arts and Culture, for the World Programme for Human Rights Education.
Last information received on: 30 October 2007
Source: Federal Ministry of Education, the Arts and Culture
The adoption of the National Plan of the Development of Education in the Sphere of Human Rights for 1999-2004 and the issuance of the instructional letter of the Ministry of Education “On involvement of children’s rights and human rights knowledge to the state component of educational process in comprehensive schools” were crucial for awareness-raising about human rights and children’s rights in Belarus. The improvement of the educational system is one of the goals of the National Action Plan for improving the state of children for 2004-2010.
In the primary school system, human rights education starts with an overview of children’s rights enshrined in the international human rights instruments. Compulsory subjects include the Introduction into school life (with a separate lesson What are rights an rules) and The man and the world. In the secondary school system, the curriculum contains a compulsory subject comprising civil education, comprehension of world and national cultural values, moral and legal standards, and forming of patriotic feelings. In some schools, human rights issues have been included in the course on Principles of Personal and Social Safety or as a separate course. Public events and competitions on human rights are held annually in public schools. A website on children’s rights has been launched.
Teachers’ training is organized to facilitate the dissemination of human rights knowledge in educational institutions. The government has also endeavoured to develop and publish manuals and teacher’s guidebooks on human rights education.
Information received: 25 April 2008, 29 December 2008 and 23 July 2009
Source: Permanent Mission of the Republic of Belarus, Geneva
The Ministry of Education has designated a focal point in Université de Mons-Hainaut, for the first phase of the WPHRE.
Last information received: 19 December 2006
Source: La Ministre-Président, en charge de l'Enseignement obligatoire et de promotion sociale, la Communauté française
Bosnia and Herzegovina
The initiatives undertaken on human rights education include human rights competitions organized in primary and secondary schools and human rights as a special subject studied in the final grade of secondary schools.
Information received: 3 March 2008
Source: Minister of Education and Culture of Republika Srpska
Bulgaria has appointed the International Cooperation Division within the European Integration and Bilateral Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Education and Science to coordinate Bulgaria’s implementation of the World Programme’s first phase. In 2006 a national conference “Human rights education – an instrument for improving the quality of education in Bulgaria” was organized by the Ministry of Education and Science, the UN Association of Bulgaria and the Economic Policy Institute, with the support of the UN Country Team, to analyse the current situation of human rights education in formal and non-formal settings. A draft National Strategy for Human Rights Education and a Plan of Action for its implementation was subsequently developed by the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UN Association of Bulgaria, pedagogy professionals from universities and civil society, supported by the UN Country Team. The draft strategy was to be discussed and reviewed by all stakeholders in April 2008.
Human rights education is included in the National Educational Requirements for “Civic education”, an interdisciplinary element of mandatory general education at school. Subjects such as “Social Studies, Civic Education and Religion”, “Ethics and Law” and “The World and the Individual” provide training in democratic civil principles and human rights. Human rights education is also imparted through extracurricular activities in student self-government or at municipal children’s centres. Rules and regulations on the organization of the school system provide for the dignity of teachers and students to be respected. Related national strategies include the National Programme for the Development of School Education and Pre-School Education and Instruction (2006 - 2015), Minorities Integration Programme, Equal Rights in Roma Integration Programme, Strategy for Educational Integration of Children and Pupils from Ethnic Minorities, and others.
Professional development of teachers is organized in conjunction with the National Pedagogical Centre at the school, regional and national level and the National Contest of Teachers with Good Pedagogical Practices in Civil Education is held periodically. Qualification for education in democratic civil principles and human rights has been established as one of the priorities of educational reform in Bulgaria. The Ministry of Education and Science, higher education institutions and non-governmental organizations have developed and held trainings for teachers, principals, pedagogical advisors, experts from the Ministry and from Regional Education Inspectorates, municipal administration officials, civil society representatives and parents to foster the implementation of human rights education. Master’s programmes in intercultural education have been established at pedagogical faculties.
Last information received on: 7 June 2006, 26 March 2008 and 13 January 2009
Source: Permanent Mission of Bulgaria, Geneva, and Ministry of Education and Science
Since 1999, Croatia has a comprehensive National Human Rights Education Programme, with 6 sub-programmes (preschool, lower primary, upper primary, secondary, tertiary, adult education and media). It is based on a multifaceted, trans-disciplinary and experiential approach to lifelong learning about, for and in human rights, both through formal and non-formal education. The Programme is implemented in cooperation with the National Human Rights Education Committee. According to the Framework Plan and Programme for Primary Schools, Education for Human Rights and Democratic Citizenship is an integral part of the primary school curriculum which may be implemented in a cross-curricular way, as an optional school subject or as an extra-curricular project activity and as a whole school approach.
The responsible Ministry has been organizing regular obligatory in-service training for all categories of teachers in primary and secondary education since 1998/99, often in cooperation with external experts and non-governmental organizations. The government supports a school network of EDC/HRE county (i.e. regional) coordinators (acting as teacher trainers for education for democratic citizenship or human rights education) in primary and secondary schools. In 2005, the National Foundation for the Development of Civil Society published The Catalogue of human rights and education for democratic citizenship education in non-formal education implemented by the non governmental organizations in the Republic of Croatia. In the 2005/2006 academic year, the university EDC/HRE postgraduate programme (pre-service) was introduced at the University of Zagreb’s Research and Training Centre for HRE and EDC. Focal points for national implementation of the World Programme in Croatia have been appointed at the Multilateral Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, as well as at the Education and Teacher Training Agency.
Information received: 17 April 2007 and 29 February 2008
Source: Permanent Mission of Croatia, Geneva; and Ministry of Science, Education and Sports
National Human Rights Institution
The National Programme Human Rights Education Programme (1999) has been only partially implemented so far. Compulsory professional training of all teaching staff has been offered by the Education and Teacher Training Agency and other actors, handbooks for teaching professionals have been published, country coordinators have been appointed and human rights education is only an optional component of the primary school curricula. At the secondary level, the subject Politics and Economy covers some aspects of human rights education. There is consensus that preconditions exist for the adoption of compulsory human rights education in school curricula. The National Programme for Human Rights Protection and Promotion (2008 - 2011) envisages the implementation of education for human rights and democratic citizenship at all levels and in all forms of education, including education programmes for minorities, religious education programmes, and social reintegration programmes for young people and adult education programmes. There are also plans to introduce a new National Programme for Human Rights and Democratic Citizenship Education, to establish a quality assurance system for human rights and democratic citizenship education, and to introduce human rights education in the curricula of polytechnics and universities, and in professional training programmes (e.g. at higher education institutions preparing teachers, education and rehabilitation professionals, lawyers and other experts for work with children and young people).
Information received: 16 March 2009
Source: Ombudsman of the Republic of Croatia
Human rights education in the school system is one of the key priorities of the Ministry of Education and Culture which adopted in January 2004 a circular entitled “Education for democratic and open citizenship” applied in the primary school system. In September 2006, the Ministry of Education introduced the Interdisciplinary Unified Framework of Study Programmes that incorporates elements of human rights education in primary schools. At secondary education level, the teaching of human rights is promoted through the lessons of Civics, but human rights education is now also set, in an interdisciplinary manner, in a variety of other subject matters such as Modern Greek, History, Philosophy, Geography and others.
During recent years, all stakeholders involved in the educational process have been informed and sensitized. The framework for human rights education stresses multidisciplinary approaches and experiential learning and emphasises differentiating teachers’ and students’ attitudes, strengthening the role and capacities of the mass media, and promoting active involvement of NGOs. Activities have included participatory teaching, active learning methods, use of drama, role playing, case studies, debates on human rights with the participation of students, parents and teachers, developing school, class and family charters of rights, preparation of educational material, essay and drawing competitions. Efforts are under way to systematise human rights education in the context of a broader review of curricula in the 10-year compulsory education.Good practices include Ayios Antonios Elementary School in Lemesos (promoting equal opportunities in education whilst respecting the ethnic and cultural backgrounds of students, fostering inclusion and ethnic diversities) and the programme “Zones of Educational Priority” (seeking to reduce pupil drop-outs and school failure in underprivileged areas).
The priorities of the Cyprus Ministry of Justice and Public Order as concerns human rights education are the provision of inmates with necessary skills and knowledge for their smooth reintegration into society. Practical modalities have been put in place, e.g., a teacher is assigned to the Cyprus prison with the special responsibility for organizing, in collaboration with local colleges, a series of lessons, lectures and vocational training for the inmates.
The competent authority to coordinate initiatives on the Plan of Action of the first phase of the WPHRE is the Department of Secondary Education, under the competence of the Inspector of Secondary Education, in cooperation with the Department of Primary Education, the Department of Technical Education and the Pedagogical Institute.Information received: 31 March 2008 (Ministry of Education and Culture) and 26 January 2009 (Ministry of Justice and Public Order and Ministry of Education and Culture).
The Framework Education Programme for Basic Education (www.msmt.cz) regulates education in primary and lower secondary schools. Human rights, multicultural education and education for tolerance are contained in the educational area “Humans and Society”, which focuses on the development of positive civic attitudes and the strengthening of desirable values. It integrates the knowledge and skills from various disciplines, particular humanities. One important component of this educational area covers prevention of racist, xenophobic and extremist attitudes, education for tolerance and respect for human rights, and education promoting respect for the natural and cultural environment. The educational area “Humans and Society” includes the educational fields History and Civil Education, and it pervades other educational areas and the entire school life.
Education for tolerance, human rights and education against racism are included in particular in the cross-curricular subjects “Personal and Social Education” and “Multicultural Education”. Education based on the Framework Education Programme for Basic Education in grades 1-6 started on 1 September 2007.
Education in secondary schools is regulated by the Framework Education Programme for Secondary Education (Grammar Schools and Technical Vocational Schools). Among the competencies students should develop are to defend their rights and the rights of others as well as to contribute to the development of valuable inter-personal relationships based on mutual respect, tolerance and empathy. Education guides students towards, inter alia, observing laws and rules of conduct, respecting the rights and personality of other people, standing up against intolerance, xenophobia and discrimination; realizing – as part of plurality and multicultural coexistence – their own cultural, national and personal identity, respecting actively the identity of others.
The Czech Republic has appointed a focal point within the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, to coordinate activities concerning human rights education.
Last information received on: 26 February 2008
Source: Department for International Relations, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports
The Ministry of Education has designated the International Relations Division as the foal point to coordinate initiatives related to the implementation of the Plan of Action for the first phase of the WPHRE.
Last information received: 30 April 2007
Source: Ministry of Education
Estonia has appointed the General Education Department in the Ministry of Education and Research as the focal point for coordinating human rights education initiatives.
Information received: 1 April 2008
Source: Ministry of Education and Research
In order to implement the World Programme for Human Rights Education, the Ministry of Education has set up a policy for the promotion and defense for human rights which has five main principles:
- The common base of knowledge and competences defined as “common culture for all students”, to be mastered by all students by the end of their compulsory education, gives much space to human rights as a tool to fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance. Among the competences related to human rights are humanist culture, knowledge and usage of a living foreign language, social and civic competences, mastery of the French language, and autonomy.
- At every education level, subjects such as philosophy, civic education, and history, literature, philosophy and others stress human rights. The teaching aims to raise students’ consciousness about the rights and duties of the citizen.
- School curricula are complemented by other transversal and multidisciplinary activities offered both during and outside of class, including competitive examinations, national or international commemorations (e.g., the day of children’s rights), and multilateral initiatives such as the “Mois de l’autre” (student visits to memorial sites). The partnership of the Ministry of Education with the association CIDEM developed “Parcours civiques”, a resource collection of pedagogical sources for citizenship education.
- Many associations set up activities in cooperation with the Ministry of Education to raise youth awareness about human rights practices.
- The Ministry of Education has developed a prevention measure against acts of racism focused on monitoring, listening and follow up. Since 2003, a national unit for the prevention and fight against racism at the Ministry coordinates a network of 30 units in each academy.
School is the place where students learn about republican values and human rights to become responsible citizens in a democratic country. The national policy on learning foreign languages constitutes a contribution to promoting a better understanding of causes and impact of racism, and to cultivate the values of acceptance, tolerance and cultural diversity. Training, pedagogical tools and documentary resources on human rights education are available to teachers. The French authorities have developed measures for schooling of children from traveller families (“gens du voyage”). The objective is to achieve schooling within the normal course, with additional support if necessary.
Implementation of human rights education is followed in the Ministry of National Education by the Directorate for European and International Relations and for Cooperation as well as by the Directorate General for School Education.
Information received: 29 April 2008
Source: Ministry of National Education
Human rights education is included in the National Curriculum of General Education and in other school curricula. Special programmes such as "Civic Integration Programme", "School without Violence" and others aim to raise public awareness and prevent any attempt of human rights violations in schools. The Division for Pre-primary and General Education Programmes in the Ministry of Education and Science as well as the National Curriculum and Assessment Centre are assigned to coordinate initiatives related to human rights education in schools and to monitor the national implementation of the Plan of Action for the World Programme’s first phase.
Information received: 17 July 2006
Source: Permanent Mission of Georgia, New York
Germany has appointed the Multilaterale und Europäische Angelegenheiten of the Sekretariat der Ständigen Konferez der Kultusminister der Länder in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, as focal point for human rights education.
Last information received on: 10 May 2007
Source: Permanent Mission of Germany, Geneva
Icelandic law on preschool, primary and secondary school includes provisions and objectives concerning social values and human rights. Educational policy in Iceland emphasises, inter alia, equal rights to education, continuation between school levels and student well being. Working methods in schools are based on tolerance, equal rights, democratic cooperation, responsibility, concern, conciliation and respect for personal worth.
The educational system is largely decentralised. Local municipalities are responsible for the operation of pre-schools and primary and lower secondary schools, while the state runs the upper secondary schools and schools at the higher education level.
The 2007 revised National Curriculum for compulsory schools specifically includes the objectives of citizen awareness and human rights, in particular through the National Curriculum in Life Skills. The main goal of the new subject Life Skills is to strengthen the individual, to prepare him to cope with life in the future and to find his way in society. These areas addressed in Life Skills include consumer education, family education, sex education, handling personal finances, instruction in equal rights, human rights education and drug use prevention. As schools are independent and write their own school working guide based on the National Curriculum Guidelines, schools can decide on how to implement different subjects and the organisation of teaching.
The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture has three funds - for preschool, compulsory- and upper secondary schools - to support innovation and development in schools. Each year schools apply for small grants from the funds for specific projects. In 2005-2007 the emphasis was on projects related to equality (School for all) and Life Skills.
Iceland has participated actively in the European Council project on citizen awareness, democracy and human rights in education. In 2005, the European Year of Citizenship and Democracy Through Education, the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture supported among other things publication of electronic curricula on citizen awareness and human rights, intended for compulsory primary and lower secondary schools, as well as organizing various projects, such as a youth conference on how to promote discussion on citizen awareness and human rights in education.
A few schools have been leaders in teaching citizen awareness and human rights in the primary and secondary levels. Among other things, the work focuses on concern for society and being guided by objectives of human rights and social values. Examples of primary schools are Vogaskóli in Reykjavík, www.vogaskoli.is, the “mother school” for student democracy, life skills and instruction in human rights and Hrafnagilsskóli in Akureyri, www.krummi.is. Examples of upper secondary schools are Menntaskólinn at Sund, www.msund.is, and Fjölbrautarskóli Sudurlands, www.fsu.is. Several preschools have also emphasised democracy and human rights in their work plans, such as with multicultural work.
New bills on preschools, primary and secondary schools are currently before the Icelandic parliament and are expected to be passed as laws in 2008. In connection with this the National Curriculum for preschools, primary and secondary schools will be reviewed and the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture will refer to the Plan of Action for the first phase of the WPHRE, among other things. The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture will set up a working-group to deal with citizen awareness and human rights in preschools, primary and secondary schools. The group is expected to submit proposals by June 2008. Among the objectives of the working-group is to present proposals on how to adapt the objectives of Plan of Action for the WPHRE to the National Curriculum in the said review.
The Ministry of Education, Science and Culture has appointed the Division of Curriculum, Department of Education as focal point for the implementation of the Plan of Action for the WPHRE.
Last information received: 7 April 2008
Source: Ministry of Education, Science and Culture
The Government of Italy is committed to promoting quality education and to promote and protect human rights. The Italian legal system aims at ensuring an effective framework of guarantees to fully protect the fundamental rights of the individual and specifically the intellectual and moral development of the students from kindergartens to the secondary level. Art. 34 of the Italian Constitution relates to the right to education: (1) Schools are open to everyone; (2) Primary education, given for at least eight years, is compulsory and free of tuition; (3) Pupils of ability and merit, even if lacking financial resources, have the right to attain the highest grades of studies; and (4) The republic furthers the realization of this right by scholarships, allowances to families, and other provisions, to be assigned through competitive examinations. The objective of basic education policy is to combat school failure (dropping-out). In 2006, compulsory school attendance was extended up to the age of 16 (i.e. 10 years of compulsory attendance).
As of October 2008, a law decree under review envisaged reintroducing the teaching of civics (entailing ad-hoc channels of analysis and study of human rights), as well as the launch of awareness-raising and training campaigns for teaching staff concerning the programme “Citizenship and Constitutions” (33 hours per year, within either the geographic-historical or the socio-historical programmes to be taught at primary and secondary schools). Similar initiatives were to be launched also within the kindergartens system, from the academic year 2008-9 onwards. Ministry of Education (MIUR) offers guidelines on substance and methodology concerning this new civics programme, while respecting the autonomy of the school system. Teaching of constitutional values and the rights and duties of the so-called active citizenship will be introduced in geographic-historical and social-historical subjects and by a cross-cutting approach throughout the entire educational process. The major issues to be dealt with the school system are as follows: legality, rule of law and social cohesion, pluralism and the respect for diversity, non discrimination principle, ethics of responsibility, respect for the environment, health and social well being, as well as road safety.
Information received: 20 October 2008 and 29 December 2008
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Inter-ministerial Committee for Human Rights)
The Ministry of Education and Science supports the implementation of the human rights education Action Plan and has entrusted the coordination of this issue at the national level to the Centre for Curriculum Development and Examination.
Since regaining independence, Latvia has been revising the study content. Human rights and related topics such as democracy, freedom and mutual respect have been among the thematic priorities that Latvia has included in the general education programme. A new study subject “Social Studies” was included in the basic school’s curriculum (grades 1 to 9) and the study subject “Politics and Rights” in the upper secondary school curriculum (grades 10 to 12). The reform of study content for primary education has been completed and new study content for general upper secondary education has been developed and is yet to be implemented. One of the priorities for the following years will be the evaluation of the education reform results.
Information received: 13 March 2008
Source: Ministry of Education and Science
Human rights education is integrated into general education curricula in primary and secondary schools in Lithuania. Primary schools teach human rights as part of the programmes of ethics and general knowledge, the basic level curriculum features them under the programmes civic values, ethics, history and other subjects. The secondary education curriculum includes human rights as part of the programmes of sociology, history, philosophy and other subjects.
The annual National Survey of Learner’s Achievements includes the achievements on civic education, active participation in social outreach by learners and teachers, as well as their understanding of civic and national values.
Since 2006 a “Long-term Civic and National Education Programme” is being implemented. In the framework of this programme, methodological aids for civic education are being developed. 2007 saw the start of a research project on the effectiveness of civic and national education in secondary schools.
In 2007 Lithuania introduced the “National Education Programme of Sustainable Development 2007-2015” seeking to improve the work of different state agencies and institutions towards enhancing the understanding by individuals, organizations, enterprises, institutions, communities and societies of sustainable development and its significance. The Programme is implemented at all levels of education. And it also includes topics such as civic values, democracy and government, human rights, poverty reduction, peace and conflict etc.
The focal point for coordinating initiatives related to the WPHRE is the Primary, Ethical and Social Education Division of the Education Development Centre of the Ministry of Education and Science.
Last information received: 18 March 2008
Source: Ministry of Education and Science
Luxembourg is undertaking the following initiatives at the national level to promote human rights education in schools:
- Every year several activities, including a teacher training, are organized around the annual International Day of Commemoration to Honor Holocaust Victims;
- A special issue of the “Courrier de l’Éducation Nationale” has been dedicated to peace education. It contained several examples of good practices for primary schools of education for peace, human rights and non-violent conflict resolution. For secondary education, the Ministry and the national Youth Service will elaborate a manual of good practices, describing passed and planned activities as well as general guidance;
- A book for primary school students, entitled “Mission: Stopp die Armut!”, has been jointly elaborated by the Ministry of National Education and the Ministry of Cooperation. The book aims to sensitize children on the different aspects of poverty, such as hunger, lack of medical assistance, discrimination against women etc.;
- Trainings are organized for teachers and students, o dialogue, participation and conflict-resolution to favor the development of democratic schools and to prevent violence;
- The University of Luxembourg organizes pre-service training on education for democratic citizenship and human rights, for post-primary teachers;
Several activities are undertaken to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, such as an art contest, a school competition and a special celebration organized on Human Rights Day 10 December 2008.
In primary schools the students cognitive as well as emotional competencies related to citizenship are integrated into other subjects, through which children are sensitized on issues such as rights, duties, participation, respect and values for living together.
In secondary schools a multidisciplinary programme for education on democratic citizenship aims to promote a democratic culture, peace and the development of a reflective, critical, cooperative and responsible citizenship.
The Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training has appointed the Department for Secondary and Technical Secondary Education is responsible for coordinating the implementation of the Plan of Action for the first phase of the WPHRE.
Last information received: 28 March 2008
Source: Ministère de l’Éducation Nationale et de la Formation Professionnelle
Malta has appointed a focal point for initiatives related to the implementation of the Plan of Action for the first phase of the WPHRE.
Last information received on: 12 January 2007
Source: Permanent Mission of Malta, Geneva
Moldova has a “National Human Rights Plan of Action” (NHRPA) for 2004-2008, which includes a chapter on human rights education with the specific goal of introducing it as a compulsory discipline. In 2006, a special hearing on human rights education was organized and the Government reported to Parliament of progress made on the implementation of the NHRPA. Major challenges in Moldova are the lack of qualified teachers, a lack of teaching materials and attractive teaching methods.
Since 2005, special human rights education courses exist as facultative courses at 5th to 12th grades (“Civic education”, grades 5-9, and “Law and us”, grades 10-12). The Independent Society for Education and Human Rights has played an important role in developing a school course on Civic Education. It has implemented, in collaboration with the Open Society Institute (New York), the Soros Foundation (Moldova) and Street Law Inc. (Washington), a project aimed at developing the curriculum, textbooks and teacher’s manuals for the abovementioned courses. The curriculum and manuals have been approved by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. A considerable number of teachers were included in the project with visits and training courses in civic education matters. Experimental teaching aids, active teaching methods, tools for efficient feedback and tools for the evaluation of the quality of teaching aids have been developed. The project was an example of a successful collaboration between the Ministry of Education and Youth and non-governmental organizations.
An opportunity for promoting human rights education in schools is to inject human rights education into existing civic education curricula. The challenge for specialized human rights education courses is a dilemma of requiring highly competent teachers and the limited number of hours in class. For the successful implementation of the WPHRE, the Curriculum for civic education needs to be modernized to, inter alia, emphasize the interdisciplinary character of the educational objectives and further practical activities.
The Ministry of Education and Youth provides small grants for students and their communities for “authentic learning” in courts and institutions linked to justice and human rights, as well as for school mediation as an approach facilitating school management.
In the area of teaching and learning practices and tools, Moldova’s special journal of human rights and education has presented the experiences in this area, of teachers and students. There are further students’ and teachers’ books for “Law and Us” for grades 10-12 and for Civic Education for grades 5-9.
The Moldovan Ministry of Education and Youth provides regular professional in-service training on civic education for teachers. NGOs assist in conducting human rights education courses based on certificates issues by the Ministry.
The Division for secondary school system in the Ministry of Education and Youth is in charge of human rights education.
Last information received on: 18 March 2008
Source: Permanent Mission of Moldova, Geneva
In Monaco's education system, human rights education takes place primarily through civic education in both primary and secondary schools, according to the pupils' ages. On the primary level, the focus is on the practice (class code of conduct to appropriate the values of equity, cooperation, justice), with the use of OHCHR's publication ABC - Teaching Human Rights: Practical Activities for Primary and Secondary Schools. At secondary levels, teaching of human rights takes a more formal format, being embedded in the courses of history or philosophy or in the context of particular days such as the Holocaust Remembrance Day (Shoah). Informal learning takes place through the pupils' contribution to civic life (Youth Economic and Social Council), extra-curricular activities or the UNESCO Club.
Information received: 29 September 2008
Source: Department of External Relations of Monaco
Montenegro has adopted the Strategy for Civic Education in Primary and Secondary Schools 2007-2010, which focuses on enhancing civic education and education for democratic citizenship; providing teaching materials, curricula and methodologies to teachers; enhancing teacher training system; quality monitoring based on clearly defined indicators; better use of external resources (e.g. the Association of Civic Education Teachers) as well as cooperation with local, regional and international organizations. The Bureau for Educational Services promotes the principle of equal opportunities to education through training programmes. The Bureau’s aims vis-à-vis teachers are to define the competencies of teachers, to establish a procedure to certify competencies, to develop a continuing training system for teachers and to ensure the provision of methodological support. The Bureau’s training programmes and seminars for teachers of subjects such as “Civic Education” in elementary schools and gymnasiums and “Study of Humanitarian Law” include the principles of inclusive education, interculturalization and democratization. “Civic Education” aims to increase children’s knowledge and respect of human rights, democratic values, and the rights and responsibilities of citizens. The curriculum of the elective subject “Study of Humanitarian Law” in elementary schools teaches pupils about their rights in specific circumstances and how to protect their dignity both in war and peace.
Last information received: 30 December 2008 and 3 August 2009
Source: Permanent Mission of Montenegro and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Montenegro
The Netherlands has appointed two focal points within the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, for the United Nations concerning human rights education.
Last information received on: 17 March 2008
Source: Department for International Policy, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science
The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research has appointed a focal point in the Department of Education and training for initiatives related to the implementation of the Plan of Action for the first phase of the WPHRE.
Last information received: 29 June 2006
Source: Royal Ministry of Education and Research
National Human Rights Institution
The Norwegian Centre for Human Rights (NCHR, established in 2001) is Norway's national human rights institution, whose mandate encompasses human rights education and training as well as research. NCHR forms part of the UN’s network of national institutions for human rights. The NCHR particularly offers human rights education to various actors in the public sphere, such as government officials, the police and the military. Additionally, providing human rights education for school teachers secures the right to human rights education in a broad sense.
Last information received: 19 December 2008
Source: Norwegian Centre for Human Rights
The Ministry of National Education of the Republic of Poland has appointed the Department for Promoting Equality in Education as the focal point for the coordination of national initiatives related to first phase of the WPHRE.
The Ministry of Education included human rights education mainly in the curriculum for the social studies. The Act on System of Education and the relevant procedural laws grant due consideration to human rights and to the full enjoyment of children’s rights in schools. Additionally, all curricula and handbooks, before they are approved for use in schools, are assessed in terms of their compliance with human rights international instruments and other conventions ratified by Poland.
Training courses on human rights are provided by the National In-Service Teacher Training Centre of the Ministry of National Education. These training courses are designed for employees of the boards of education, headmasters, teachers, pedagogues, employees of teacher training centres and coordinators of the observance of children’s and students’ rights. A network for trainers has also been established and produced publications on human rights and freedoms.
During the school year 2005/2006 the Ministry of National Education surveyed the status of popularization and observance of children’s rights in schools. The findings enabled the design of specific activities aimed at promoting the popularization and observance of children’s or students’ rights in schools. Other relevant activities are the Children’s and Youth Parliament, organised every year on 1 June and human rights education competitions organized respectively for NGOs, territorial self-government units and the government’s program project “Safe and Friendly School”.
Information received: 18 April 2008
Source: Ministry of National Education of the Republic of Poland
The Ministry of Education has appointed the General Directory of Innovation and Curricula Development (Direcção Geral de Inovação e Desenvolvimento Curricular) as focal point for Education for Peace and Human Rights.
Last information received: 7 December 2006
Source: Permanent Delegation of Portugal to UNESCO
In Serbian primary and secondary schools, human rights are taught in civic education, history, sociology, constitution and the civil rights, and more implicitly in other subjects and within extra-curricular activities. Civic education (civic citizenship training) has been an integral part of the primary and secondary curriculum in all 12 levels since 2001. Teachers of this subject are required to undergo compulsory advanced professional training programmes. In addition to the Ministry of Education, the Institute for the Improvement of Education and Childrearing, and the Institute for the Evaluation of Quality in Education and Childrearing, also play a significant role in the development of human rights education in Serbia.
The Centre for the Training and Advancement of Legal Professionals offers training of trainers, judges and prosecutors in topics such as institutional protection of human rights and standards set by the United Nations and Council of Europe conventions. Human rights are included in the curriculum of the Secondary School of Internal Affairs – Centre for Basic Police Officer Training, while the Criminal Police Academy core curriculum covers human rights issues in the academic or vocational studies as well as in master’s degree or specialist trainings. Police officers from the Interior Ministry have also been trained.
The Ministry of Human and Minority Rights has promoted human rights education inter alia through children's publications as well as lectures and discussions for primary and secondary school children (e.g. the project “Courses in tolerance and fundamental human rights in primary schools”). The Ministry has organized prize contents for primary and secondary schools and for non-governmental organizations (e.g. I Have Rights – This Is Me and What Do I Do to Understand Others). In addition to issuing human rights publications, the Ministry has also conducted numerous media campaigns via television and radio programmes, newspaper articles, billboards, interviews with citizens and others. Trainings have been organized for minority journalists and media professionals on human and minority rights, while regional roundtables have taken place in multi-ethnic towns. Steps have been taken towards providing satisfactory education of Roma children. A public campaign on gender equality and women’s rights was conducted in March 2009. The Ministry of Education and Sports and OSCE Mission to Serbia, with National Minority Councils, has implemented the project Ethno Guide in order for the different national communities on Serbian territory to get to know each other. The many Serbian non-governmental organizations engaged in human rights education activities include the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights providing specialization studies in humanitarian law and human rights for government and judicial employees, journalists as well as future decision makers.
Information received: 12 February and 19 August 2009
Source: Permanent Mission of Serbia and Ministry of Human and Minority Rights
The Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic, under the auspices of the National Institute for Education, is responsible for the implementation of the National Plan for Human Rights Education for 2005-2014, which partially overlaps with the Concept of Migration Policy of the Slovak Republic elaborated in 2005.
Human rights education is introduced in the primary and secondary schools predominantly in the framework of general subjects. In primary schools the subject civic education covers human rights issues (grades 6 - 9). Other relevant subjects are ethical education and religious education, which are both compulsory optional subjects in primary and secondary schools. In primary schools, subjects such as history, Slovak language and literature, mother tongue and literature at school with minority language of instructions, foreign languages and geography also give important space to human rights teaching. Finally, secondary vocational schools teach education on the society and civic education as compulsory subjects. The project Human Rights Olympics is one of the tools for the development and evaluation of the level of knowledge and skills of pupils of secondary schools in the area of human rights, discrimination, racism and other intolerance.
The priorities identified in education areas include further professional development of education staff, the development of pedagogical materials and the development of a system for monitoring and evaluation of the extent and quality of human rights education.
Information received: 3 June 2008
Source: Permanent Mission of the Slovak Republic
National Human Rights Institution
The Slovak National Centre for Human Rights, Slovakia’s national human rights institution, is an independent legal entity established in 1994. The Centre has prepared educational programmes and activities for children and youth, e.g. “All Different – All Equal” for disabled youth, or discussion forums on human rights issues such as gender equality and non-discrimination. The National Commission for Human Rights Education (established in 2006) has prepared an analysis of the situation in human rights education in Slovakia.
Information received: 4 April 2008
Source: Slovak National Centre for Human Rights
Human rights education is one of the national priorities in Slovenia and related initiatives are coordinated by the Education Development Office at the Ministry of Education and Sport. Slovenia has been consistently supporting relevant UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council resolutions and has sought to promote human rights education during its OSCE chairmanship in 2005, its Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2008 as well as during its chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe from May to November 2009.
The Ministry of Education and other stakeholders have carried out numerous activities with a view to integrate human rights education in all spheres of education. One of the main achievements of the education reform between 1996 and 1999 was the recognition of the importance of human rights education in the school curriculum as well as the active involvement of pupils in the school community. This reform has influenced to a significant extent the Slovene public education system by introducing human rights education and the teaching of democratic citizenship as one of the central points of discussion in terms of theory, research, policy and practice. Human rights education gained in importance by the adoption of the Act on Changes and Supplementations of Elementary School Act in 2007, which sets forth new objectives of elementary education in Slovenia. Slovenia has developed policies and legislation for a rights-based approach to education such as the National program of education for democratic citizenship and education for human rights (2004) or the Guidelines for Education for Sustainable Development from Preschool to Pre-university Education (2007), giving special attention to human rights education.
Slovenia adopted modernised curricula for elementary schools, which also include human rights education in corresponding subjects. At primary level, topics linked to human rights are included in the school curriculum of human rights-related subjects (mother tongue, history, geography and society). Following curriculum reform, the compulsory subject “civic education and ethics” (grade 7-8) and the core curriculum option “civic culture” (grade 9) were introduced in 1998 and cover aspects of human rights. Education legislation substantially supports the functioning of children’s parliaments in schools, one of the best forms of education for active and creative citizenship. Extracurricular activities and informal education take place, for example, in the form of camps and projects on civic education.
The Slovenian Ministry of Education and Sport has also financed research studies, projects and workshops on human rights education, including Human Rights Education: Lessons from History (2006-7), Children’s Rights International Study Project (CRISP, 2007), Whole-School Approach to Citizenship Education (contributing to the inclusion of topics related to citizenship education across the curriculum of elementary education as well as raising the profile of the existing provision of citizenship education across the curriculum) and the OSCE pilot project called Our Rights (“Naše pravice”, based on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, see http://www.mzz.gov.si/en/foreign_policy/human_rights/the_our_rights_project_human_rights_education). In order to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the Ministry of Education issued a handbook entitled “Education on Human Rights”, which includes articles by Slovenian experts on human rights education and has been widely distributed to schools and non-governmental organizations (see http://www.dz-rs.si/fileadmin/dz.gov.si/pageuploads/DZ/PDF_datoteke/VzgojaInIzobr.ZaClovek.Pravice-V-6.pdf). The Ministry of Education and Sport co-organized with the Council of Europe an international conference Education for Roma: Achievements, Opportunities and Challenges for the Future. An international seminar for teachers From Crimes against Humanity in European History towards European Idea was planned for October 2009.
The National Education Institute’s recent activities include a revised curriculum for civic education and ethics seeking to stimulate active teaching and learning about human rights throughout primary education. Didactic materials have been drafted including handbooks for planning classes on the Universal Declaration and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Teacher advisors from the Institute provide counselling for schools and assist in drafting educational plans for schools. In-service teacher training is offered within study groups on incorporating human rights into teaching practice, understanding United Nations recommendations, human rights protection and others. Slovenia is preparing an upgraded version of a national programme of education for democratic citizenship and education for human rights and a national action plan is under development.
Information received: 19 April 2006, 18 April 2008, 7 January 2009 and 5 October 2009
Source: Permanent Mission of the Republic of Slovenia, Geneva (19 April 2006, 7 January 2009 and 5 October 2009) and Ministry of Education and Sport (18 April 2008)
During recent years the Spanish legislation has focused on education as a basic child right. The broad approach is not limited to quality education and the acquisition of knowledge but also seeks to develop the sense of human dignity, tolerance and non-discrimination among sexes, different ethnic groups, races, religions or languages.
According to the current Education Law (2006), Education for Citizenship and Human Rights is a compulsory subject in the basic education curriculum (6-16 years). Various means of implementation have been promoted through programmes such as “Public policies and inclusive education”, “Gender Equality”, “Special needs education”, “Care to children of immigrant population”, “Ethnic minorities”, “Courses for teacher training” and “Inclusion of education for citizenship as a subject”. Priorities of the Spanish government include promoting inclusive education as equality education for all people with specific plans, actions and efficiency strategies.
For inclusion of human rights education into primary education, other measures were considered necessary such as human rights training for teachers, conferences and seminars on human rights issues, updating of publications of human rights education for teachers, providing training resources to combat violent or discriminatory stereotypes and the creation of a network to eradicate violence against women. Along with these measures, a plan to improve school environment was also created. For 2009 the work plan is mainly focused on coexistence and classroom environment, training of trainers on school coexistence, and research about coexistence school indicators.
Information received: 16 January 2009, 7 and 21 August 2009
Source: Permanent Mission of Spain, Geneva
National Human Rights Institution
Created in 1978, the institution of the Defensor del Pueblo actively promotes human rights and defends citizens’ fundamental rights and liberties in Spain. Its role is closely related to ensuring the effective exercise of the right to the education and training on human rights.
One of the most significant achievements of the institution has been the sponsorship of a chair on human rights with the University of Alcalá, which offers a Masters program on the protection of human rights specially designed for civil servants and other professionals from Spain and abroad. The institution has also foreseen a periodic publication called “Cuadernos de Democracia y Derechos Humanos” with scientific research and academic works. The results of the institution’s work are presented every year to the Spanish Parliament and reports are available on its website (http://www.defensordelpueblo.es).
Information received: 19 January 2009
Source: El Defensor del Pueblo (Office of the Ombudsman)
The responsibility for education in Sweden is divided between the state and the local levels. The State is responsible for the National Education Act and the follow-up and evaluation of initiatives is carried out by municipalities. Both the Swedish National Education Act (1985:1100) and the National Curriculum stress that human rights is part of the core value in schools. The Swedish parliament passed in 2006 the act “Prohibiting Discrimination and Other Degrading Treatment of Children and School Students" (2006:67). The new Swedish government intends to propose a new Education Act completed during 2008 and new syllabuses during 2009-2010.
To support the teachers and the headmasters in human rights education, the Swedish government has launched a special human rights website (http://www.manskligarattigheter.gov.se). The Swedish National Agency for School Improvement also has a website with the same focus (http://www.skolutveckling.se).
Information received: 31 March 2008
Source: Ministry of Education and Research
The right to free and adequate basic education is stipulated in the Swiss Constitution. The competence to provide free basic education in public establishments rests with the cantons. In 21 February 2001, the Federal Council created the Fund for projects against racism and for human rights and 15 million Swiss francs were allocated to human rights education projects between 2001 and 2005. In view of its success, the Federal Council decided to turn this into a longer-term initiative. Various federal offices have developed awareness-raising initiatives such as distribution of free brochures about human rights or support of International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH) or International Human Rights Forum Lucerne.
On the cantonal level, the Swiss Conference of cantonal directors for public education launched in 2003 the initiative to make 27 January (anniversary of Auschwitz liberation) the national day of Shoah commemoration, which has a focus on human rights education. In Switzerland, efforts are made also jointly by the national government together with the cantons to improve human rights education. This collaboration is based on a platform called “Education au développement durable” (Education for lasting development) since 2003.
Last information received: 8 January 2009
Source: Département fédéral des affaires étrangères DFAE
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
The Ministry of Education and Science has assigned the Unit for Education for Peace and Children’s Rights of the Ministry of Education and Science, to coordinate initiatives related to the implementation of the first phase of the WPHRE.
Last information received on: 27 October 2006
Source: Ministry of Education and Science
Human rights education is considered as an integral component of the right to education, thus a pillar of the national education system. “Democracy and human rights education” is an intermediate discipline incorporated in major instructional programmes of grades 1 – 8. “Democracy and Human Rights” is offered as an optional course at secondary schools. “The Regulation on Textbooks and Educational Tools” of the Ministry of National Education prohibits any educational materials and textbooks that are discriminatory or incompatible with human rights.
The Board of Education and Discipline of the Ministry of Education carries out comprehensive activities in the field of human rights education through projects called “Human rights and Democracy”, including:
- Democracy Education and School Assemblies project aims to promote knowledge on human rights and parliamentary democracy through education, training, dissemination of information and awareness-raising. School Student Assemblies were established in schools. Its members are elected annually from school student councils. Students take part in different commissions on culture, art, education, youth, sports, environment and others.
- Education for Democratic Citizenship is a project of the Council of Europe, which has, inter alia, provided the training of trainers and subsequently human rights training programmes for teachers at primary and secondary levels. Extracurricular activities such as student clubs and school councils were also encouraged with a view to improve human rights education. Hundreds of teachers, education inspectors, executives, NGO representatives and academics have participated in seminars and training meetings since 2005 and the human rights and citizenship curriculum was revised.
- Our Rights,a pilot project on human rights education for school children (10-12-year olds), has been implemented in cooperation with the OSCE in 3 pilot schools.
- Training Project for Teachers on the Issues of Gender Discrimination and Violence against Women has aimed to raise awareness on discrimination and violence against women and is carried out by the Ministry of National Education in cooperation with Amnesty International-Turkey.
- Exploring Humanitarian Law Project has developed education models on humanitarian law for students aged 13-18.
The Prime Ministry Human Rights Presidency regularly organizes awareness-raising and educational activities on human rights for citizens. In-service training of civil servants, including law enforcement officials and members of the judiciary, includes human rights courses.
Information received: 13 March 2006, 3 April 2008, 29 December 2008 and 30 July 2009
Source: Permanent Mission of the Republic of Turkey, Geneva
England’s national curriculum stipulates the duty to promote wellbeing of pupils at school. The curriculum is statutory in all maintained schools and its major policy priorities are to raise standards for all pupils, narrow attainment gaps between groups of pupils, and improve the quality and relevance of the curriculum. Individual subjects with strong human rights components include citizenship (political rights and responsibilities alongside legal and human rights), geography (sustainable development), religious education and history. The Holocaust, two word wars, slave trade and the British Empire form compulsory elements of the new History curriculum. Other relevant initiatives are the publication of a bibliography of resources for the teaching of multi-ethnic histories through the National Curriculum and the Understanding Slavery initiative. Personal wellbeing programme includes issues of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, as well as to gender, race, religion, cultures, ability or disability and age. The Lessons from Auschwitz (LfA) Project has now been running for nine years and has seen over 5,000 students and teachers visit the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Scotland’s curriculum is undergoing a transformation. Human rights education is not taught as a discrete area but as part of inter-disciplinary learning and teaching, linking it with international education, health and wellbeing, anti-racism, and anti-bulling. Secondary schools have a variety of different approaches to learning and teaching about human rights including exploring issues through the Fair Trade Group and studies within the school Amnesty International Group. Learning and teaching Scotland, the public body responsible for the development of the curriculum and support for teachers have included on their website learning and teaching about human rights issues.
Personal and Social Education (PSE) is a basic curriculum for pupils between 5 and 16 years old. This includes the aspects of active citizenship and human rights education. The revised PSE Framework for 7-19 years old, to be implemented from September 2008, contains strengthened references to human rights, the UNDHR and the UNCRC. To further promote a practical understanding of article 12 of the UNCRC, Wales has made school councils a statutory requirement. Human rights education has also been made explicit within guidance to schools for Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship. Other school-related Human Rights Education projects in Wales include Children’s Commissioner for Wales Ambassador Project and UNICEF ‘Rights, Respecting Schools Award’.
A revised curriculum is being introduced in Northern Ireland from September 2007 to June 2010. This includes Citizenship education, which will be a compulsory subject for all pupils from Year 1 onwards; this will include topics such as the “Human Rights of the Child”. The “Lift Off Project” was launched in February 2008 to provide human rights based teaching resources for both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The Bill of Rights in Schools Project was set up in September 2002 to produce human rights educational material on the proposed Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland.
Information received: 2 October 2008
Source: Department for Children, Schools and Families and Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Joint International Unit)
The following laws were passed to integrate human rights education in primary and secondary education:
National Education Law, states that the final objective of national education policy is to offer a civic education based on democratic and ethic values. Likewise it established that primary and secondary educational curriculum must promote among other things, the understanding of the cultural diversity and rights of indigenous, the knowledge of the rights of children and adolescents and the reflection about the historical and political process that broke the institutional order and founded the state terrorism in order to generate a democratic feeling among students.
National Law on Sexual Education. This law provides that children and adolescent have a right to a sexual education and in a broader perspective the law wants to be a guarantee of equality in the relations between men and women.
The Integral Protection of Children and Adolescents Rights proclaims equality among all children and adolescents and recognizes the right to a free access to a quality education. Additionally, the law has created the figure of the “Defender of the rights of children and adolescent”. Finally, the law provides that the protection of the rights of children and adolescents must be a high priority in public policies.
Further political initiatives have been carried out with a view to promote equality of education through: allocation of grants, pedagogical and socio-emotional support, strengthening of educational institutions, literacy campaign, special education programmes for disabled children, adolescent and young, national programme for incarcerated persons and a project on Argentinean transitional process. Numerous didactic materials have been published on human rights education.
Information received: 15 September 2008
Source: Ministerio de Educación
The Colombian Constitution recognizes the right to education (Art. 67) and stipulates that the education system will train Colombians in respect for human rights. The General Law on Education 1994 protects and promotes the right to education and human rights education. This law sets out as the main aim of education the training for respect of human rights, especially life, peace, democracy, coexistence, pluralism and the practice of tolerance and freedom.
Consequently, the Colombian Ministry of National Education has implemented education reform that places special emphasis on developing citizenship skills, including education for the practice of human rights. The Ministry has worked jointly with the Ombudsman, the Presidential Programme for Human Rights and other partners on the development of a National Plan for Human Rights Education (PLANEDH) that aims to set human rights education as a transversal issue and as a public policy developed at all levels (district to national) and in formal, non-formal and informal education sectors. The National Plan seeks to contribute to the building of a culture of human rights in Colombia. In its proposal, the National Plan establishes parameters for pedagogical development and teacher training in accordance with international standards on human rights education, sets goals, strategies and indicators in the timeframe of 15 years and proposes a system of evaluation and monitoring of implementation of this policy. The Education Ministry, together with the Ministry of Interior and Justice and with Defensoría del Pueblo carried out a pilot project "Educación para el ejercicio de los derechos humanos” (Education for the practice of human rights) from 2005-2008 in order to establish guidelines for the implementation of the National Programme on Human Rights Education since 2009. Teacher training on themes and methodologies related to human rights education is among the key priorities. The National Plan and the pilot project set strategies for systematization of good practices in human rights education. The Education Ministry is simultaneously implementing other programmes such as citizenship skills or an inclusive education programme emphasizing the knowledge of diverse vulnerable groups.
Since 2003, the Government has further implemented the Human Rights Culture Project (Proyecto de cultura de derechos humanos), which targets civil servants and civil society organizations and has resulted in the elaboration of a Plan of action on human rights culture for public servants through inter-institutional cooperation of the Ministry of National Education, Transport, Mines and Energy, Presidential Programme for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law and other entities. A basic training module on human rights culture for public servants was developed in 2008, aiming at introducing a human-rights based approach to public policy. The training has been followed by employees from pilot ministries as well as by officials from the Escuela Superior de Administratión Pública (ESAP). The publication “Al encuentro de lo Posíble: Cultura de Derechos Humanos” (on http://www.derechoshumanos.gov.co) presents the results of this project.
Information received: 9 December 2008 and 27 July 2009
Source: Permanent Mission of Colombia, Geneva
The Constitution of Ecuador recognizes the right to education and provides that education will guarantee holistic development in the framework of respect for human rights, sustainable environment and democracy. The 2006 National Law on Education for Democracy states the obligation to include education for democracy in primary and secondary education, as well as in vocational training programmes and extracurricular activities. Within the framework of the Ten Year Education Plan 2006 - 2015 (Plan Decenal de Educación 2006 - 2015), the National Programme of Education for Democracy (Programa Nacional de Educación para la Democracia) was created in 2007. The National Programme aims at promoting and bringing together projects and initiatives, developed by the Ministry or others, to be implemented in the school system and the Ecuadorian society in general. The implementation of the National Programme includes developing activities such as the campaign “Vivamos la Fiesta en Paz”, leadership workshops for secondary school students, practical guide for knowing and applying children’s rights, national system for building a culture of peace, application of human rights to be included in bachelor’s programmes in social sciences and others. Other specific national programmes such as sex education, health education and preventive education, together with the strengthening of education for people with special needs, environmental education, parenting courses and patient education in hospitals, support and expand human rights education. Efforts are focused inter alia on the development and application of Codes of Coexistence (“Códigos de Convivencia”) at the national level, the network of regional coordinators for the National Programme of Education for Democracy, the establishment of a national network of student councils and clubs, the quality of primary education services, and the integration of all children in basic education.
Information received: 19 March 2008 and 17 December 2008
Source: Ministry of Education and Ministry of Justice and Human Rights
The State of Guatemala promotes the policy of building a culture of peace, with the values of solidarity and respect for human rights. The Presidential Commission on Human Rights or COPREDEH (La Comisión Presidencial Coordinadora de la Política del Ejecutivo en Materia de Derechos Humanos) has strengthened the implementation of strategies and actions for teaching and learning about human rights by (1) generating strategies that institutionalize the human rights theme in the state’s policies, (2) strengthening human rights education and peace culture especially among public officials, and (3) fostering the campaign “YO VIVO LOS DERECHOS HUMANOS” (I live human rights) with the aim of informing people about their rights. The dissemination and implementation of a human rights focus (particularly on such issues as public safety, human security and prevention of lynching) has been introduced in activities of the National Civil Police Academy and the School of Penitentiary Studies. Courses have been provided to commissioners of the national police to raise awareness of the relevance of preventive work especially as concerns lynching.
The Education Ministry (MINEDUC) has undertaken activities both at the local level and in coordination with 19 Latin American countries under the auspices of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights – for example, an exchange of experiences and projects on the issue. MINEDUC has carried out, for example, curricular reform including the updating of contents and methodology. “Democratic life and the culture of peace”, a component of the national basic curriculum, promotes civic participation. MINEDUC has further elaborated a Civic agenda 2008-2012 for the national education system. Mariano Galvez University has incorporated a course on human development in all study programmes in order to promote the study, practice and diffusion of human rights concepts. The Ministry of Culture and Sports has carried out a number of awareness-raising events on human rights issues, particularly the rights of indigenous peoples and women.
Information received: 30 July 2009
Source: Permanent Mission of Guatemala, Geneva, and Comisión Presidencial Coordinadora de la Política del Ejecutivo en Materia de Derechos Humanos
National Human Rights Institution
Article 71 of the Constitution of Guatemala establishes the state’s obligation to provide and facilitate education to its inhabitants without any discrimination. The Education Law (decree 12-19) refers to human rights education and declares as national interest and public necessity the systematic teaching of the Constitution and of human rights, the purpose of education in Guatemala being the strengthening and defense of human rights.
COPREDEH (La Comisión Presidencial Coordinadora del Ejecutivo en Materia de Derechos Humanos) published in 2005 the National Policy on Human Rights Education 2006-2015 that necessitates a coordinated effort between different agencies, government institutions, universities and others. This document sets out principles, objectives, policy guidelines, strategic actions, action plan, methodology, tools, monitoring, evaluation and monitoring of the policy. The institution of El Procurador de los Derechos Humanos (Guatemala’s national human rights institution) has carried out multiple activities such as training programmes on human rights for all sectors (both in school and out of school), diplomas in human rights education and civic training for students and teachers of the national education system, diploma in school coexistence and prevention of school violence aimed at primary and secondary school teachers, and the programme for strengthening of full citizenship and human rights in teacher training schools.
Information received: 16 March 2009
Source: Procuraduría de los Derechos Humanos
The Government of Honduras (Secretaría de Educación de Honduras) carries out various national programmes and projects for the promotion and implementation of human rights. For example, PRONEEAH (“Programa Nacional para las Etnias Autoctónas y Afro-antillanos de Honduras”) is focused on curricula for ethnic groups as well as on developing textbooks in indigenous languages for the indigenous and Afro-Honduran population and methodological materials for their teachers. The Healthy School Programme (“Programa Escuela Saludable”) supports healthy environment at schools and students’ physical, mental, emotional and social development, while a separate education programme concerns the prevention of HIV/AIDS. Other programmes and projects offer free tuition and scholarships for students, seek to build educational networks, raise awareness of environmental and gender issues, reform of the judicial system and witness protection, eradicating illiteracy (“Yo, sí puedo” and “Educatodos”), and distance education (“Telebasica” and “Semed”). The National Basic Curriculum sets guidelines for the national education system, while promoting equity, inclusiveness, participation and identity as well as fundamental human rights principles. The Intercultural Bilingual Education Model defines the education system for indigenous peoples and Afro-Hondurans, recognizes diversity and aims to eradicate all forms of racism and discrimination. Special teacher training has been provided to this end.
Information received: 31 December 2008
Source: Government of Honduras
According to the Mexican Constitution (article 3), education provided by the State must be free and promote the values of justice, equality of individuals as well as the knowledge and respect for human rights. National and sectoral education policies with strategies for fostering a culture of promotion and protection of human rights include Plan Nacional de Desarrollo 2007-2012, Programa Sectorial de Educación 2007-2012 and Programa Nacional de Derechos Humanos 2008-2012 (National Programme for Human Rights 2008-2012). A key component of the Government’s education policy is to strengthen human rights practices at all levels and in all forms of education, while fostering the recognition and appreciation of cultural and ethnic diversity. This last programme therefore targets the general public, while placing emphasis on indigenous peoples. The objectives are strengthening the human rights perspective in public policy, implementing mechanisms for collaboration between various branches of government, as well as strengthening compliance with international obligations and legal instruments. In order to consolidate a culture of human rights in public institutions, public servants are also trained.
Actions implemented by the Mexican Secretariat for Public Education include intercultural and bilingual education, training of teachers especially from rural and indigenous backgrounds, as well as activities related to diverse human rights and indigenous issues as well as towards eradicating stigmatisation. Many of these initiatives have been conducted by the CGEIB (Coordinación General de Educación Intercultural y Bilingüe). A university degree programme on intercultural and bilingual primary education has been designed for teacher training and experiences have been exchanged on intercultural education. The Sub-secretariat for Basic Education has promoted the security of school communities through the programme “Escuela segura”, which aims to strengthen public schools as spaces free from violence. It also considers fundamental principles such as the respect for dignity, diversity and non-discrimination. The Secretariat for Public Education has appointed the Director-General for International Relations as the focal point for the integration of human rights education in primary and secondary school systems.
Following the goals of the World Programme’s 1st phase, the Mexican Government has modified the primary and secondary education curricula; both levels include ethics and civic education (respectively “Programma Integral de Formación Cívica y Ética para la Educatión Primaria” and “Formación Cívica y Ética”) with elements relating to human rights. Books on human rights issues have been supplied to school libraries. Other activities have been carried out by the National Commission on Human Rights (Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos) and by the UNESCO Chair in Human Rights (Cátedra UNESCO de Derechos Humanos) at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (teacher training programmes, seminars, collecting good practice, didactic materials and others).
Information received: 27 February 2008, 30 October 2008, 18 November 2008, 26 January 2009 and 6 August 2009
Source: Secretaría de Educación Pública (27 February 2008) and Permanent Mission of Mexico, Geneva (30 October 2008, 18 November 2008, 26 January 2009 and 6 August 2009)
National Human Rights Institution
The constitution recognizes the right to the education which is also stipulated by the General Law on Education and by other national laws. According to the Commission, the main actions promoting the respect, practice and application of human rights are: incorporating the contents and practices related to human rights in educational plans, stimulating inter-institutional collaboration and the participation of business and civil society entities in the elaboration of human rights education programmes, facilitating the exchange of experiences between educational institutions, and human rights evaluation projects at all education levels. The Commission considers that the state ought to urgently protect the right to education with respect to equal treatment and access to education for all inhabitants. Among good practices mentioned are the Plan of action for the promotion and protection of the right to education and the Master’s degree in Human Rights, Rule of Law and Democracy in Latin America, offered by the Commission in collaboration with the University of Alcalá.
Information received: 18 March 2009
Source: Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos
National Human Rights Institution
The right to education is recognized in the Constitution. Education from a human rights perspective has been considered essential in the transformation of public education curriculum (primary and secondary), human rights being one of the main axes of the training of learners. The Government (Ministry of Education) has determined the need to infuse public education curricula with human rights themes, and to define a specific subject called “Coexistence and Civics”, without compromising human rights across all areas of formal and non-formal education. Law 212 on the “Procuraduría para la defense de los derechos humanos” establishes that the Procurador shall promote the respect for human rights through participative programmes of promotion and education throughout all society. The teaching of the Constitution and of human rights is prioritized and compulsory within the national educational system, in accordance with the provisions of Law 201, which stipulates that the Ministry of Education shall be responsible for elaborating programmes, educational methodologies and texts for different educational levels and that higher education institutions as well as Military and Police Centres must introduce the contents in their study programmes.
The Ministry of Education developed during 2006-2008 a comprehensive strategy for effective curriculum transformation, orienting the educational content from the human rights perspective. The Procuraduría has actively participated in the transformation of the public education curriculum and has strengthened the training of police officers. The institution has contributed to the revision of course curricula at the Military College. It also tracked the implementation of “Didactic Guides on Human Rights of Children and Adolescents”, which were distributed to teachers in public schools across the country (grades 1 to 6). The decision of providing free education and to include a cross-cutting theme of human rights into the curriculum in 2008 was considered by the Ministry of Education as a breakthrough. The Procuraduría underlines that its recommendations have generated changes in the national education.
Nicaragua also promotes the introduction of human rights education in the state penitentiary systems. For four consecutive years the Procuraduría has educated on human rights issues of detainees in various parts of the country. Detainees who complete the relevant curriculum obtain the title Human Rights Facilitator (title can be exercised both inside penitentiaries and after release).
Information received: 4 December 2008 and 10 July 2009
Source: Procuraduría para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos
In Panama, education is free of charge at all pre-university levels and compulsory in the first level of education (11 grades). Among the relevant legislation is Law 2 (Ley 2 de 1984) which establishes human rights education in the education system of Panama. The National Commission for Human Rights Education and Values (Comisión Nacional de Educación en Derechos Humanos y Valores de la Dirección General de Educación) is in charge of human rights education.
In the framework of the Strategic Plan 2004-2009 of MEDUCA (Ministry of Education in Panama), the Ten-year Plan for Human Rights Education and the Action Plan for Education for All (UNESCO), the Directorate-General for Education has developed various programmes and projects in favour of the promotion and teaching of human rights. For example, the Programme for the Promotion and Strengthening of Human Rights Education and Values treats the issue as a cross-cutting topic across general primary and secondary education. Other national initiatives and projects include Culture of Legality Project, Quality Schools Programme (facilitating and guaranteeing the right to education, provision of textbooks and teachers' guides), Social Commitment for Education (involvement of civil society in improving education), Together for a Community without Violence (preventing student violence and increasing social inclusion of young people), "I play, think and construct my learning" (for kindergarden, 1st and 2nd grades), Office for Women's Affairs (countering discrimination, training on gender issues), project on environmental education (development of teachers' guides, teacher training, technical courses for youth and adults on sustainable economic activities, recycling in schools). In 2008, Panama established the National Office for Bilingual Intercultural Education. Under the National Plan for Inclusive Education, teachers should be sensitized and strategies developed to provide persons with disabilities with access to education. The goal for the period 2008 - 2009 has been to teach and learn about diversity within the education community.
At the regional level, the first inter-American Meeting of Ministers of Education on Teaching Human Rights, organized in coordination with the Inter-American Institute for Human Rights in June 2007, approved the creation of an international institute (Institutio Internaticional de Capacitación y Didáctica para Educar en Derechos Humanos), to be based in Panama. Panama also participates in the project of Latin-American Network on Education, Values, Citizenship and Democracy that provides teachers and technical staff with virtual forums for values education and a virtual sustainable education course.
Information received: 4 August 2009
Source: Permanent Mission of Panama
In line with the World Programme for Human Rights Education, Peru’s National Plan of Human Rights Education, referred to in the Plan Nacional de Derechos Humanos 2006-2010, has as its main objectives for human rights education: contributing to a culture of human rights; ensuring that human rights education receives due attention at the national, regional and local levels; promoting common understanding of the principles and methods for human rights education; and supporting and enhancing existing programmes in this area. This plan identifies the following priority areas: the improvement of the primary education system (under the supervision of the Ministry of Education), public and private higher education system, continuing training of college and university teachers and the field of public service including training institutions for police and military personnel.
In order to promote human rights, the Ministry of Education is developing various activities such as:
- Implementation of a proposal for democratic coexistence in schools that seeks to prevent infringements of the rights of students and train them in mutual respect, democratic coexistence, participation and solidarity;
- Strengthening the campaign titled "Tengo Derecho al Buen Trato" (I deserve a good treatment) which aims to prevent physical and psychological abuse and all kinds of discrimination;
- Issuance of a directive on standards for the development of educational activities on mentoring and coaching that ensures that pregnant young girls have access to education and that the school enrollment process is not subject to any type of discrimination.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Education has developed educational materials with the support of institutions for international cooperation, for example a tutorial manual on human rights and international law, a handbook of prevention of sexual abuse and child sexual exploitation, and a guide to create a friendly environment for HIV positive children in schools.
In addition, the National Human Rights Council (Consejo Nacional de Derechos Humanos) which has as one of its functions to elaborate and to implement training and outreach programs on human rights, has been developing diverse activities to promote human rights education. Among these are the organization of numerous conferences, forums, and workshops on themes such as human trafficking, international humanitarian law and internally displaced people.
Information received: 4 September 2009
Source: Permanent Mission of Peru, Geneva
A “National Plan on Human Rights Education” (Plan Nacional de Educación en Derechos Humanos), which will integrate all education levels in the country, is being developed by the Ministry of Education and Culture.
The Minister of Education and Culture has appointed the Director for Human Rights (Directora de Derechos Humanos) as focal point for the Plan of Action for the first phase of the WPHRE.
Last information received: 7 June 2007
Source: Ministerio de Educación y Cultura
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
The Algerian government has included human rights concepts in primary and secondary school curricula and textbooks (especially social education subjects such as civic education, Islamic education, history and philosophy) and also in teachers’ training (both initial training and continuing professional development). The government’s goal is to prepare children to become responsible adults and citizens and to teach them their obligations. Efforts are also focused on developing extracurricular human rights education.
Information received: 22 January 2009
Source: Permanent Mission of Algeria in Geneva
The Iraq Ministry of Human Rights has established the National Institute for Human Rights, which has offered training sessions for ministries, institutions and law enforcement officers, as well as for civil society organizations. The National Institute has further been preparing the National Plan for Human Rights and the Iraqi Plan for Human Rights Education. The Media Centre of the Iraq Ministry of Human Rights has issued magazines and newsletters for human rights awareness-raising. The Ministry has also held annual human rights conferences on the occasion of the International Human Rights Day.
Work on including human rights principles in school curricula and in national textbooks is under way in Iraq. At the Iraq Ministry of Education, the Unit for Human Rights Curricula has undertaken activities towards incorporating human rights norms in curricula, for example studies, symposia and the production of materials about human rights such as educational television programmes and a booklet on human rights instruments. The Unit has also designed, in cooperation with the Institute of Training and Educational Development at the Ministry of Education, a training course on human rights and educational activities. The Human Rights Committee at the Ministry of Education takes action on the promotion of school activities (exhibitions, competitions, debates), monitoring teacher training activities related to human rights content and methodology, and raising awareness of human rights and children’s rights.
Information received: 27 April 2006, 16 July 2009 and 22 July 2009
Source: Permanent Mission of Iraq, Geneva
Jordanian educational policies and procedures towards the improvement of quality and quantity of education have focused on such goals as upgrading basic education and promoting the concept of a free obligatory education to all in order to limit the dropout of students especially in rural and poor areas, providing equal education opportunities and services for all and promoting the principle of lifelong learning, and setting programs to eliminate the disparity between males and females as concerns enrolment and to reduce the gender-based discrimination in education systems, school curricula and textbooks.
The Ministry of Education has lead efforts to integrate human rights concepts in school curricula and textbooks. In textbooks authoring, attention is paid to directing language discourse in the textbook for both sexes, including graphics and images for both sexes in a balanced manner, and balancing between the traditional and the current image of women in textbooks. The UNESCO-supported project “Matrix of Human Rights, Culture of Peace and Common Universal Values” has become a reference for curriculum planners and textbook writers. Enrichment learning activities educate students in grades 1-10 on human rights concepts integrated in school subjects such as Arabic, English, Islamic education and Social sciences. Relevant training courses for curriculum specialists were developed in collaboration with the National Centre for Human Rights.
The Ministry of Education has overseen the development and implementation of the National Plan of Human Rights Education, which has been prepared by a technical committee (chaired by the Curriculum and Textbooks Directorate) and approved by the National Committee for Human Rights Education consisting of several government entities (Ministry of Education, Ministry of Scientific Research and Higher Education, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, Ministry of Political Development and National Centre for Human Rights. The completed first phase of the National Action Plan analysed the current status of human rights education in the Ministry of Education programs, curricula and textbooks. The analysis recommended that human rights education be stated explicitly in the National Education Strategy and that human rights be included as an indication and criteria for education quality assurance and incorporated in professional development and pre-service programmes. Future steps will include further writing of learning activities on human rights, organising training workshops, extra-curricular activities in human rights education at schools (contests, summer camps, posters and brochures, human rights clubs et cetera) and seminars on national media about human rights education.
Information received: 29 June 2008
Source: Ministry of Education - Jordan National Commission for Education, Culture and Science
The Office of External Relations and International Cooperation attached to the Office of the Minister of Education and Higher Education is in charge of coordinating the national implementation of the World Programme. Since 1997, the Lebanese Government has been working under its new education system to meet the goals of the World Programme’s first phase. To that end, it has integrated human rights concepts into educational curricula and textbooks, based on the subject of study, educational stage and the learner’s age. It has focused in particular on citizenship education, which is a compulsory, standardized subject using the same curriculum, textbooks and evaluation methods in public and private schools throughout Lebanon. Practical activities carried out in and outside of schools have included a community service and conflict resolution project designed to forge links between schools and the outside world, a training project for head teachers on children’s rights under school rules as well as targeted training courses to raise teachers’ awareness of children’s rights and of international humanitarian law principles. The Government has also carried out a study on the content and values of the United Nations in citizenship education curricula and textbooks.
Education is considered as a national priority and pre-university General Education Curricula are guided by the principles and goals such as to develop the personality of the Lebanese national as a law-abiding citizen, to increase the respect of individual and social freedoms, to implement compulsory education up to 15 years of age, to reinforce participation in social and political work, and to promote education as a right guaranteed by the Government for all ages and professional groups. Priorities for human rights education and training in schools and for teachers include the promotion of human rights culture, respect for law and the concept of citizenship. Training sessions for twenty thousand Lebanese teachers have covered lessons content, active teaching methods, community service and conflict resolution, as well as sustainable development education.
Information received: 26 October 2006, 26 February 2009 and 22 September 2009
Source: Permanent Mission of Lebanon, Geneva
On 11 November 2004, the Central Commission of Human Rights and Citizenship (Commission Centrale des Droits Humains et de la Citoyenneté) was created by the Minister of National Education. The Committee is composed of pedagogical officials carrying out activities for the promotion of a culture of human rights in the national education sector. The Commission was strengthened in December 2005 by the establishment of 16 regional focal points. The Commission will coordinate the work to elaborate a national strategy to implement the Plan of Action for the first phase of the World Programme for Human Rights Education.
Last information received on: 28 March 2006
Source: Ministère de l’Education National, de l’Enseignement Supérieur, de la Formation des Cadres et de la Recherche Scientifique
School curricula in the Sultanate of Oman include various human rights principles and focus on the dissemination and practice of the principles inherent in the Convention of the Rights of the Child. These principles are included in educational activities both inside and outside the classroom and encourage students to carry out related research.
The following human rights principles are incorporated into the school curricula in the Sultanate of Oman: Citizen’s Rights; Family Rights; Brotherhood Rights in Islam; Freedom Rights in Islam; Right to Housing; Right to Education and Care; Rights of Children over Parents; Proper Treatment of Parents; Right to Education; Right to Social Solidarity; Right to Live in a Clean Environment; Right to Security and Peace; Right to Subsistence Services; Right to Health; Right to Live in Peace; Right to Good Neighborliness; Right to Equality; Right to Scientific and Health Education; Rights of People with Special Needs; Right of Women to Work; Right to Justice and Solidarity; Right to Ethical Education and Social Care; Right to Worship and its Edicts; Right to Movement, Work and Residence; Freedom of Opinion, Expression and the Respect of Other People’s Ideas. School curricula in Oman addresses there principles within several different topics, such as, Human Rights; Why do we educate ourselves?; Children’s Day; Concept of Freedom; I think; Evils of smoking; Choosing Friends etc.
Schools have been tasked with the practical implementation of human rights principles and have formed activity groups. These groups democratically select their executive committees.
Oman has appointed the General Department of School Curricula at the Ministry of Education as contact point for the first phase of the WPHRE.
Last information received on: 18 April 2006
Source: Permanent Mission of Oman, Geneva
The education policy of Qatar (2000) lays down a set of human rights-related objectives, including training individuals in the duties of citizenship and involvement in the community and politics. The Ministry of Education and Higher Education devotes great attention to the teaching of human rights concepts and principles, which have been incorporated into school curricula at primary, preparatory and secondary levels in a variety of forms, including (a) as self-contained subjects under explicit headings concerned with rights and freedoms, e.g. in the subjects of the Arabic language and Islamic education; (b) in other curricula such as traffic safety and environment; (c) as general school activities incorporated into the academic content and explicitly concerning human rights; (d) in content evaluations, which measure the assimilation of academic content; (e) as drawings and illustrations depicting human rights in various school subjects.
From kindergarten level through to secondary level, a general framework for values education promotes values of respect and concern for others and values linked with social and civic responsibilities. Measures undertaken in the context of the educational values programme include activities towards the universalization of educational values, training courses for teachers on methodologies, publication of pamphlets and brochures and participation in the activities of community-based charitable associations and educational institutions. The Ministry of Education and Higher Education has also developed a programme for dissemination in schools of human rights culture and awareness of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Ministry organizes numerous human rights-related visits to social, press, educational and environmental institutions, and supports human rights-based scout camps and activities. Student rights groups have been formed in numerous schools to disseminate the culture and principles of human rights among students in the context of cooperation between the Ministry and the National Human Rights Committee. Student councils are a new framework for raising students’ awareness of their rights and how to claim them.
The Ministry also conducts educational studies, research and report-writing on human rights education and supports pre- and in-service professional development and training. A number of training courses and workshops have taken place on the national and regional level, organized by the Ministry and the National Human Rights Committee. The student assessment process respects transparency, equality and fairness.
The Minister of Education has appointed the Director of the Social Education Department in the Ministry of Education, as the focal point for the first phase of the WPHRE.
Information received: 21 February 2006 and 9 March 2009
Source: Ministry of Education and Permanent Mission of Qatar, Geneva
The Ministry of Education conducted a survey to determine how human rights were covered in school textbooks. A committee was also established to make proposals on teaching manuals and to set up appropriate mechanisms and methods of evaluation. A number of educational supervisors participated in meetings and conferences and submitted working papers outlining human rights concerns in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Some of the practical measures adopted to develop the educational environment in a manner conducive to the promotion of a human rights culture are as follows:
- Adoption of a code of ethics for the teaching profession.
- Establishment of a teachers’ council in each school.
- Promotion of activities that affirm the students’ commitment to the values, concepts and principles of human rights.
- Establishment of a students council in each school
- Formulation of a code defining students’ rights and responsibilities.
- Specification of rules and principle to regulate the conduct of students.
- Issuance of an education pamphlet explaining the role of the family in the upbringing and training to lead exemplary future lives-.
- Issuance of educational guidelines for teachers, student counsellors and school principals and deputy principals with a view to the maintenance of discipline and good behaviour, the rectification of reprehensible conduct and the effective professional integration of all aspects of the teaching process in such a way as to ensure the full educational welfare of students.
Information received: 5 May 2008
Source: Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Geneva
Syrian Arab Republic
A central team has been formed at the Ministry of Education of the Syrian Arab Republic to follow up on the Plan of Action for the World Programme. Surveys of human rights concepts found in the educational curricula for core subjects (religious education, the Arabic language, the English language, social studies) establish that the curricula at all stages from kindergarten to secondary education include, inter alia, the right to education; the right to life; the right to work, equality, justice, democracy, patriotism, citizenship and dignity; the right to resist; freedom; the right to vote; and the right to political participation.
As part of the new national standards for general, pre-university education which were formulated by the Directorate of Curricula and Instruction of the Ministry of Education, the concepts of human, children’s and women’s rights were mapped out for the core subjects (religious education, the Arabic language, social studies and foreign languages) and are now being formalized in writing. Drafting committees are making sure that these concepts are included in curricula in keeping with the terms set out in standards documents and guides. A map of human rights concepts for educational curricula has been drawn up using the national standards document.
The Syrian Arab Republic also provided examples of human rights concepts in existing curricula, included in the socialist national education textbook for the fifth grade of primary education. In the second grade of secondary education, the full text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is included at the end of the course on “freedom” to allow students to compare the different articles of the Declaration, to draw conclusions about them and to discuss them with the teacher.
Information received: 8 April 2008
Source: Permanent Mission of the Syrian Arab Republic, Geneva