Convention on the Rights of the Child

Teaching and learning about child rights

Teaching and Learning about Child Rights: A study of implementation in 26 countries 

UNICEF has commissioned research to contribute to the global debate on child rights education. This study explores child rights education in early childhood education, primary and secondary schools in 26 countries with a UNICEF National Committee presence. It includes a literature review, results from an on-line survey completed by national experts, seven country case studies and a series of benchmarking statements to guide implementation of child rights education.

The online survey explores child rights education in the curriculum, teacher education and teacher qualifications, the existence of student councils, and monitoring mechanisms regarding the quality of child rights education. The benchmarking statements are divided into seven areas: official curriculum, teacher education, resources, pedagogy, policy alignment across the education system, participation as a right, and monitoring and accountability.

The research was commissioned by the Advocacy and Child Rights Education Unit at the UNICEF Private Fundraising and Partnerships Division, Geneva and undertaken by the Centre for Children's Rights in Queen's University Belfast. 


Child rights education and the child rights approach
Learning about child rights and the child rights approach empowers children and adults to bring about change in their immediate environment and the world at large to ensure that the rights of all children are fully realized.

Child rights education is teaching and learning about the provisions and principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the ‘child rights approach’ – in order to empower both adults and children to take action to advocate for and apply these at the family, school, community, national and global levels. Child rights education promotes a vision, articulated in the Convention, that “the child should be fully prepared to live an individual life in society, and be brought up in the spirit of the ideals proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, and in particular in the spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality and solidarity.”

By building capacity, child rights education aims to support rights-holders – especially children – to claim their rights and duty-bearers to fulfil their obligations. It helps adults and children work together, providing space and encouragement for the meaningful participation and sustained civic engagement of children.

Children’s rights are human rights. Consequently, child rights education is a specific component of human rights education. 

Child rights education seeks:

  • to embed the provisions and principles of the Convention and the child rights approach in formal and non-formal learning curricula and learning environments; as well as in the curricula and training of professionals working directly with children, or on issues affecting children
  • to raise awareness of the provisions and principles and the child rights approach through mass media and other channels to reach caregivers, community members and other members of the public
  • to build the capacity of children (as rights-holders) and adults (as duty-bearers) to advocate for and implement these provisions, principles and the child rights approach in daily life and professional practice

UNICEF Child Rights Education Toolkit: Rooting Child Rights in Early Childhood Education, Primary and Secondary Schools (First Edition)

UNICEF has developed a child rights' education toolkit on Rooting Child Rights in Early Childhood Education, Primary and Secondary Schools.

The toolkit defines what is meant by child rights education and the child rights approach. The toolkit explains the relevance of child rights education to UNICEF’s mission and the ways in which education can take place in a range of contexts--including with professionals, caregivers, the corporate sector, the media, and children’s groups.

The toolkit uses the metaphor of a tree to explore child rights education in the context of school-based initiatives that promote learning about rights, learning through rights (using rights as an organizing principle to transform the culture of learning) and learning for rights (taking action to realize rights), in an overall context of learning as a right. It contains a range of practical tools, checklists, mapping exercises, project examples and evidence of the benefits of high quality child rights education.

Although the approaches in the toolkit are relevant for all countries, the first edition focuses on the work of National Committees in high-income countries. A second edition in the future will also cover the related work of UNICEF country offices.

Main Toolkit
Appendices (as a single document)
Appendix 1
Appendix 2
Appendix 3
Appendix 4
Appendix 5
Appendix 6
Appendix 7
Appendix 8
Appendix 9
Appendix 10
Appendix 11
Appendix 12




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