Dear colleagues, The discussion is intriguing and important. There is a great variety around the world concerning the implementation of HRE in education. That is for sure. We all seem to agree on the great importance of the role of the state in promoting and implementing HRE (cfr. Abraham Magendzo (13-02-2007) and the reaction on his statement). In almost all countries the state is also responsible for primary and secondary education (cfr. the UNDHR, the CRC and all the Concluding Observations on the five years state reports of the committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva). Together with this responsibility most states also finance, facilitate, set standards and control in different ways teacher education. I wonder why so little input on this important question comes from institutionalised teacher educators in countries around the world, particularly since the Plan of Action deliberately focuses on primary and secondary education! Are they not part of the list? In the case of the Netherlands I am able to give you a short summary. Decentralized policy is still at the heart of today's western policy. Meaning that national governments only set marginal policy frameworks, in particular for education in my country, leaving a lot of the actual decisions to (educational) institutes and civil society. Although the committee on the Rights of the Child has urged the Dutch government twice (1999 and 2004) to develop HRE and implement it in schools, the Dutch government has not given much response yet. "The Committee is concerned that not enough attention has been given to the inclusion of human rights education in the school curricula, particularly at the primary level. The Committee urges the State party to consider introducing human rights issues into the school curricula at earlier ages and to ensure that the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its provisions are adequately covered in the existing curricula for older children and in new curricula for primary school pupils". October 1999." "However, recommendations regarding, inter alia, the establishment of an independent mechanism to monitor children's rights such as an ombudsman for children (para. 12), alternative care and the need for alternatives to residential institutions for children deprived of a family (para. 16), female genital mutilation (para. 18) and human rights education (para. 21), have not been given sufficient follow-up. The Committee notes that those concerns and recommendations are reiterated in the present document. February 2004 I know that the committee in her 'consideration of reports submitted by states parties' urges every country in the General Conclusion to develop and implement HRE at schools. It would be a great research item to find out which countries repeatedly are confronted with the lack to do so or are complimented by the committee for their efforts. This research could possibly show a good insight in state of the art of HRE in the world. For more than 10 years I am able to introduce all teacher students for primary in the CRC and in HRE. The students develop educational material and try this in school practice. Last November 2006, I managed to organise a first national conference on human rights education "Children's Rights, basis for education" together with Defence for Children International DCI-Netherlands. In 2007 a similar conference will be organised in Flanders / Belgium. At the first of January 2005, together with the start of the World Plan of Action, we started a project between Belgium and the Netherlands to experiment with the implementation of HRE in classroom and schools. How can it be done? Classes and schools in Belgium and the Netherlands, six from each country are finding ways of delivering and dealing with HRE and the spirit of HRE. They also exchange ways of HRE and cultural attitudes with their partner school. At the same time we are informing and trying to include other teacher education institutes in the Netherlands and Belgium in our project called: integration through child rights education. One of my students is conducting a theoretical study towards the definitions of HRE in UN documents including the decade and the first phase, in documents of the Council of Europe and Dutch documents, trying to find out: developments, differences and resemblances between supranational, regional and national orientations towards HRE. Finally, I am trying to develop a European teacher education college which I want to base on the human rights culture to overcome parochialism and nationalism which is inevitable at the heart of any national education. Teachers influence values and behaviour of children to a great extend. If anyone should be aware of this. They should. At this point I want to support Patrick Karanja. Culture is crucial for education and indeed HRE can serve as "an important liberating tool to empower people to rise above conceptual oppression". But culture is a two way cutting sword. Like the hand that can hold a glass of wine or gently caress a cheek, the same hand can also slap you in the face and squeeze your throat. Culture, we can not do without, but it can also kill us! A culture of diversity, of exchange of thoughts and behaviour -an attitude of openness and interaction- and confrontations with 'other' solutions than those we are used to, is fundamental for any education that wants to be more than just reproducing conformity. This is true for developed and underdeveloped countries. Jan Pouwels _________________________________________ Drs. Jan G. Pouwels Philosopher of Education, co-ordinator international relations University of Professional Education of Arnhem and Nijmegen (HAN) Faculty of Education, Department Primary "Pabo Groenewoud" Groenewoudseweg 1 6524 TM Nijmegen The Netherlands Tel. 024-3233778/ direct 3823820 Fax. 024-3603402 Website: www.han.nl ======== Global Human Rights Education listserv ======= Send mail intended for the list to < >. 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