Second International Conference on child rights in Batumi brought together educators and officials throughout the country to discuss child rights education
Key child rights experts, diplomats, government officials, and professors gather on 23-24 September to discuss child rights and share experiences on child rights education
BATUMI, Georgia, 23-24 September 2021 – The second International Conference dedicated to the incorporation of child rights into university educational programmes and curricula was held in Batumi. The conference was organized by UNICEF, in partnership with Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University, the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports of Adjara AR, and was under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia.
The two-day conference brought together professors and students, officials from the Government, members of Parliament, the Public Defender’s Office, NGOs, the diplomatic corps in Georgia, representatives from UN agencies, respective international organizations, school teachers, and administrators. At the opening of the conference, the participants were welcomed by Mikheil Chkhenkeli, Minister of Education and Science; Maia Khajishvili, Minister of Education, Culture, and Sport of Adjara AR; David Sergeenko, Deputy Chairperson of the Parliament of Georgia and Chair of the Permanent Parliamentary Council for the Protection of the Rights of the Child; Nino Kadagidze, President of the Supreme Court of Georgia; Afshan Khan, UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia; Merab Khalvashi, Rector of the Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University; and Ghassan Khalil, UNICEF Representative in Georgia.
The conference aimed to provide space for teaching and learning about child rights, and to help empower future specialists to put this knowledge into practice in their day-to-day lives – at home, at school, and in their communities. The conference enabled all state universities in Georgia to share their initiatives aimed at incorporating the rights of the child into university programmes for the education of future child rights advocates in the fields of education, law, business, and other disciplines.
"The accessibility of education and building the skills of the professionals in contact with children such as teachers, school administration, and other staff, is of paramount importance." - Maia Khajisvhili
“Child rights protection is a cross-cutting line marking the vision of the Government of Adjara in every sphere. The accessibility of education and building the skills of the professionals in contact with children such as teachers, school administration, and other staff, is of paramount importance. Accordingly, introduction to local legislation base in the university curricula is particularly relevant for the preparation of professional staff. The conference held in Batumi will play an important role both in empowering the future activity of the involved universities and the development of the further vision of the Ministry”, said Maia Khajishvili, Minister of Education, Culture, and Sport of Adjara.
"BSU and UNICEF share many years of cooperation that has resulted in the implementation of many interesting projects. I believe the international forum will prove to be very successful." - Merab Khalvashi
“We are glad that this time it is Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University that is hosting the International Conference on Child Rights. BSU and UNICEF share many years of cooperation that has resulted in the implementation of many interesting projects. I believe the international forum will prove to be very successful. The participation of the domain experts will on the one hand contribute to the implementation of innovative approaches in this regard, and on the other hand, to a better future of our children, strengthening of democratic values in the society and sustainable and stable development of the country,” said Merab Khalvashi, Rector of the Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University
"Education on child rights is crucial for raising a new cohort of teachers and professionals who know about child rights and are able to further promote rights-based approaches in their work." - Ghassan Khalil
“I am delighted that the second International Conference on Child Rights is organized in the Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University as part of its plans to incorporate child rights into the University programmes and curricula”, said UNICEF Representative in Georgia, Dr. Ghassan Khalil. “Education on child rights is crucial for raising a new cohort of teachers and professionals who know about child rights and are able to further promote rights-based approaches in their work. I believe the International Conference on child rights in Batumi, and the establishment of the Child Rights Centre at the University, will contribute to strengthening the culture of child rights in Georgia. UNICEF will continue partnering with Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University and other universities to promote child rights education in Georgia”, Khalil added.
The conference sessions provided avenues for rich discussions and included presentations by well-known national and international specialists and teachers, as well as the student winners of an essay writing contest and presentations of school projects. The role of universities in promoting child rights, influencing social norms, and bridging the digital divide was central to the discussions. In total, 42 theses by 52 authors were presented on education, law, social policy, protection of child rights in preschool and school space, child poverty, juvenile justice, and bridging the digital divide to increase access to education.
The International Conference in Batumi is the second annual conference on incorporation of child rights into university curricula. The first such conference was held in 2020 at Akaki Tsereteli State University, Kutaisi, where it provided a platform for structured exchange among international and national experts on theory, research, policy, and practices relating to child rights. Between the first and second Conference, seven Child Rights Centres have been established.
The International Conference in Batumi called for student essays and school projects on child rights. As a result, two student essay authors and 15 schools from all over the country were awarded with certificates to further advance their work on child rights issues.
As a side event, a series of webinars took place on topics such as violence against children and its impact, challenges facing teens, and quality early childhood education. The webinars were led by prominent experts on child rights and child development.
Training on digital advocacy for young people was also organized as part of the Conference in Makhunteti, Keda municipality. The training participants presented their advocacy topics and plans to the UNICEF Representative and to the conference participants, which included advocacy on reduction of the digital divide to ensure access to quality education for children in the mountainous area of Adjara.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/georgia/