The theme of BICE Congress which was held in Collège des Bernardins on May 7th, 2017 was education as a natural and inalienable right for all children. This day rich in reflections and exchanges provided an opportunity to compare experts, partners and participants’ ideas and on-the-ground feedbacks.
Education as a key concern
According to a 2015 report, almost 124 million (¹) children aged from 6 to 15 years old have never been to school, and despite growing awareness and efforts made around the world, access to education remains difficult in many countries.
The commitment to the education and training of children is a key concern for BICE. The 2011 International Congress was devoted to the right to education of children experiencing social and family breakdown, then international advocacy initiatives, field projects, and a discussion on the educational challenges ensued in the Latin American region.
BICE planned this year’s congress according to the interest and direct involvement of several members of its network on this issue, and the importance of taking action more closely with concerned children, families and communities.
Right to Education – Human Rights Education
There are many reasons for the lack of schooling or school drop-out: street life, handicap, belonging to a minority, discrimination on grounds of sex, etc. The right to education requires positive State action and it protects the human person in his/her fundamental freedoms.
At the same time, an effective human rights education means making children aware that it exists another way of living together which is based on mutual respect. It also means helping them develop the sense of responsibility and solidarity and rules governing life in society.
The 2017 Congress
The 2017 Congress which was entitled Right to Education – Human Rights Education: Shared Experiences was part of this dynamic, and so the following issues were discussed:
First approach: The right of children to quality education
- The effective access to education (and not only the right of access to education).
- The quality education criteria and indicators (to give meaning, to provide better living conditions, to develop critical thinking, etc.).
- The role of informal education to facilitate the integration of children into the formal education system.
- The parental involvement.
- The preparation of educators.
- The basic training linked to the professional training.
Second approach: Human / children’s rights education
- The role of human rights and citizenship education.
- The cross-cutting right to education which ensures access to other rights.
- The participation of children and families in the educational process.