Human rights education: developing a theoretical understanding of teachers' responsibilities

CAROL ROBINSON, Ann Quennerstedt, Louise Phillips

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The United Nations (UN) asserts that children and young people should have access to Human Rights Education (HRE) and that schools are one of the key means through which HRE should be made available (UN, 1993; UN, 2006). However, there is currently limited knowledge about the presence and form of HRE in school contexts, and there is no established means through which HRE provision within schools is evaluated. This paper proposes a theoretical framework to support the classification of teachers’ responsibilities in relation to HRE and argues that systemic change is needed within education systems if HRE provision is to be realised in more extensive and consistent ways. The curriculum documents of three nations - Australia, England and Sweden - were analysed to determine teacher responsibilities for educating pupils about human rights. The viability of the developed framework was then tested through applying it to the outcomes of these analyses. The theoretical contribution made by the paper deepens knowledge and understandings about the nature of responsibilities placed on teachers to educate pupils about human rights, and provides a foundation from which to stimulate debate about what constitutes effective school-based HRE practices.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalEducational Review
Early online date19 Sep 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Sep 2018


  • human rights
  • teacehr responsibilities
  • human rights education

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