Human Rights and Public Education
Cambridge Journal of Education, 42:1, 53-65, 2012
22 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2012
Date Written: June 15, 2012
This article attempts a contrast to the contribution by Hugh Starkey. Rather than his account of the inexorable rise of human rights discourse, and of the implementation of human rights standards, human rights are here presented as always and necessarily scandalous and highly contested. First, I explain why the UK has lagged so far behind its European neighbours in implementing citizenship education. Second, a comparison with France shows that the latest UK reforms bring us up to 1789. Third, the 20th century second generation social and economic rights are still anathema in the UK. Fourth, the failure to come to terms with Empire and especially the slave trade means that the UK’s attitude to third generation rights, especially the right of peoples to self-determination, is heavily compromised. Taking into account the points I raise, citizenship education in the UK might look very different.
Keywords: human rights, education, citizenship, UK, France
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