Human Rights Education in Scotland: realising the right to education and the incorporation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

Daniels, Stephen (2021) Human Rights Education in Scotland: realising the right to education and the incorporation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

On September 1st, 2020 the Scottish Government introduced the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation)(Scotland) Bill. This was a highly significant milestone in the realisation of children’s rights in Scotland and was welcomed widely and enthusiastically in Scotland. The incorporation of the UNCRC into Scots law offers an unprecedented opportunity to improve the realisation of the right to education for all children and young people living in Scotland. Against this backdrop, I make clear the challenges to children’s rights in Scotland posed by the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, long-standing antipathy towards existing key national and international human rights legislation amongst senior UK government figures, and the potential threats to the rule of law and devolution contained in the UK Internal Market Bill 2020.

In this thesis, therefore, I clarify the nature of state obligations relating to the right to education in order to assess how successfully this right is realised in Scotland focusing on the development and implementation of policies and programmes for Human Rights Education (HRE). I argue that improvements must be made in Scotland relating to five key areas for successful implementation: 1) in the clear and comprehensive incorporation of Human Rights Education into the curriculum; 2) in raising awareness of teachers of relevant rights legislation; 3) in the promotion of adequate education in human rights for teachers; 4) in ensuring the creation of rights respecting learning environments ; 5) in ensuring that teaching practices always reflect and promote human rights values. In Part 1, I clarify state obligations for the right to education. In Part 2, I argue the positive case for HRE as a necessary component of realising this right. In Part 3, I offer a detailed analysis of human rights and education in Scotland and identify a series of challenges in the Scottish context. I make the case that the incorporation of the UNCRC into Scots law will only further magnify these issues. I argue here that programmes of HRE must be justified as a compulsory component of state education and argue for much greater attention to detail in the theoretical development of HRE as a concept and as a specific programme of education. In doing so, I identify gaps in the existing literature surrounding HRE and propose new avenues for research and clarification. Finally, I argue that there are a number of potentially radical consequences of the incorporation of the UNCRC into Scots law for education and begin to sketch their shape at the conclusion of this project.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Human Rights Education, UNCRC, children's rights, right to education, Scottish education, Curriculum for Excellence.
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Enslin, Professor Penny and Fagan, Dr. Cathy
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Stephen Daniels
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82117
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2021 16:00
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2021 16:13
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82117
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/82117

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