Magazine 2012
Human Rights Education : The Collective  
Educational Struggle for Producing Change  
Ms. Maria Shaikh  
R. J. College,Mumbai.  
Individual welfare and a complete erasure of human sufferings is the ultimate task of Human Rights Education.  
To make this dream a reality is no easy task b  a massive and collective educational struggle must be launched  
to expose and condemn discriminatory practices. Human Rights must be incorporated into the curriculum and  
education must struggle to create the desired social change. A societal transformation can be brought about  
by Human Rights Education as it breaks rigid mental barriers and orthodox beliefs change into progressive  
Human rights are inseparable rights b  an individual is born with these rights b  from basic rights of survival to civil  
and political rights and also much more important are social, economic and cultural rights and another significant  
development is b groups rightsb  at the national and global level.  
There are major roadblocks to realise the goals of Human Rights Education. In the competitive world of present  
times, core subjects like Maths, Science etc. which offer lucrative careers are given more importance. These  
can be major obstacles in the home, community and the school. As individuals place their Self above all  
things, rights of others may not be considered. People fight wars and shed blood in great battles for protection  
of their own rights but they never bother about the rights of others b  and that is where the problem arises and  
here the white coat struggle of Education for Human Rights begins. Human Rights Education not only creates  
an awareness of an individualb s personal rights but it also sensitizes the masses to respect the human dignity of  
others. Teachers must, first, respect the individuality of learners and so extensive pre-service and in service  
training sessions on childrenb s rights should be conducted to avoid academic injustice and to prevent dominant  
cruel power practices on the child. Along with performing their duties, teachers should initiate a strong fight not  
only for their own rights but against all forms of exploitation done to weaken the morale of the teaching  
Many topics in the present day curriculum highlight serious Human Rights issues so we can conclude that the  
curriculum is not defective b  for example, the human reproductive system can foster in learners the idea of the  
worth of the life of a girl child. Hence Human Rights Education can blend beautifully with the existing curriculum  
without burdening students with an additional subject but there is an overwhelming fear that teachers may rush  
with strong academic focus on the evaluations and the other examination schedule and due to time constraint  
they neglect core Human Rights issues . Hence there is a strong need for revamping the curriculum with new  
innovations and plans to integrate human rights officially with the curriculum but there is danger of teachers  
omitting, deleting and shortening discussions on human rights issues cannot be ignored. Therefore a strong  
moral commitment is required from teachers. A committed teacher will resourcefully integrate Human Rights  
Education with the strong course content and touch the hearts of his /her students. The teacher must bring out  
the real picture of victims of discrimination rather than fear discussion over controversial issues and the silence  
of the teachers over such issues may not only create negative images of the individuals and communities but  
they may also sow seeds of discontent and hatred in the minds of young learners.  
Although learners are imparted rigorous training and the education system struggles to generate awareness of  
their rights b  right to education, play, recreation, etc., they also have the right do demand protection from  
physical and sexual abuse, corporal punishment, economic exploitation (fee hikes) and safe teaching and  
learning environments but when students forcefully assert their rights, it is regarded as an offence and severe  
disciplinary action is taken.  
Human Rights Education could be integrated into the curriculum while teaching Languages, Social Studies,  
Science, Civics, Political Science, Sociology, Law etc. Both in Schools and at higher educational levels. The  
content of Human Rights Education can include "many recent trends in Education such as Conflict Resolution,  
Law -Related Education, Development Education, Issues related Education, Peace Education, anti-bias Education,  
Multicultural Education and Global Educationb . Moreover the focus should not be only on imparting theoretical  
knowledge but on assuring that thoughts and ideas should accompany appropriate actions.  
Forming Inclusive Heterogeneous Co-operative Learning groups can help in conflict resolution promoting  
community values and at the same time inculcating multicultural Education. Schools then become Human  
Rights communities fostering values of peace, unity, co-operation, tolerance and respecting the dignity of  
Human Rights Education cannot be confined to school learning. Dissemination of Human Rights Education can  
be done by channelizing valuable human resources to reach out to the masses. The human resources, that is  
management, teachers and students should take crucial steps to mobilise the community and educate them on  
Human Rights. Students who are trained in Human Rights can create an awareness in the community, Teachers  
and learners with the assistance of NGOs can break down traditional thinking patterns by educating the masses  
on issues like child labour, dowry and women Education. Films on Human Rights and training grassroot  
communities can go a long way in realising the goals of Human Rights Education. Also the community can be  
invited to participate in competitions, co-curricular activates, conferences, seminars, symposium conducted in  
Students should be acquainted with the Human Rights movement-the civil liberties phase, the democratic  
rights phase, the Human Rights phase. This will give them an understanding of the evolution of Human Rights  
and they must also understand the role of UN specialised agencies like UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO and the non-  
governmental bodies (NGOs) who work tirelessly to make Human Rights a reality .  
Social Change and progress is brought about by communication through the flowering of diverse languages.  
But Education commits a crime- " Language Genocideb  or Language Murder. A child is put to shame, punished  
and penalized for speaking in his mother tongue. Such an attitude of educators destroys not only the language  
but it crushes the childb s identity. Hence Education must protect the linguistic rights of the child by enriching  
languages of majority and minority groups, foreign languages and official languages. Many languages have  
become invisible as their importance has not been propagated by Education. The result is "vast archives of  
knowledge and expertise are spilling into oblivion, leaving humanity in the danger of losing its past and perhaps  
jeopardizing its future as well.... [When] a language disappears traditional knowledge vanishes with itb  [Linden  
991, quoted in Leets and Giles 1995: 37]  
Linguistic Genocide is also committed when languages are labelled as vernaculars and the most brutal atrocities  
are done when the skills and talents of vernacular medium students are underestimated. Hence both teachers  
and learners must understand the meaning of the word b vernacularb . " According to Madras Mail and Hindu,  
Feb 5,1939, the word b Vernab was specifically appropriated to mean homeborn slave and was extended to mean  
slaveb s language or even belonging to a slaveb b . We as teachers cannot degrade students in this way. So before  
teaching Human rights, we must reframe our own language and avoid other forms of hidden language abuse.  
Also learners must understand how "language of rule is used by the governing classes to secure their dominanceb .  
Usage of phrases like Yours humbly, Yours obediently and I beg to apologise is now slavish language taught by  
British masters to exercise their rule over us. So learners must be taught how to use language in order to define  
Protection of the environment from human destruction has been a major issue of concern. With Environmental  
Education, the students must be made aware of their environmental rights and duties. Devastation of the  
Environment leads to violation of Environmental Rights of others. Dominant groups damage natural resources  
and deprive people of their environmental rights by taking away their rights for b Economic Progressb . In this way,  
they can be educated to save water, save electricity, use public means of transport and it goes against their  
conscience to rob the rights of others. When they are taught the concept of Environment as an indispensable  
individual right, they learn that they must also Abstract  
My paper entitled  
Human Rights Education : The Collective Educational Struggle for Producing Change  
Highlights Significant  
Viewpoints on the white coat struggle of education to overcome major roadblocks in Education. Some of the  
major obstacles faced by Educationists are that teachers focus on core subjects to help students face tough  
competition and the problem of time constraint faced by them due to the rigid examination schedule forces  
them to neglect Human Rights Education. Schools have to be open minded when students forcefully assert  
their rights and teachers must fearlessly discuss controversial issues related to Human Rights. The content of  
Human Rights Education can include "many recent trends in Education such as Conflict Resolution, Law -  
Related Education, Development Education, Issues related Education, Peace Education, anti-bias Education,  
Multicultural Education and Global Education.  
Education Commits a crime called Language Genocide or Language Murder when the learner is forced to  
abandon his mother tongue. Hence Education must protect the linguistic rights of all. Teachers should not label  
students as failures or vernaculars or resort to other kinds of language abuse. Teaching Environmental Rights  
goes a long way in protecting natural resources. A Global core curriculum must be designed to incorporate  
both global and national values. An individual must be a global citizen and he must also preserve his national  
identity. Teachers must encourage students to take up a Career in Human Rights and make major contributions  
to humanity. b encompass the right of other species to survive on this planet.b   
A global core curriculum must be designed to help the learner to connect across lines of difference to establish  
a wide network of human relations around the globe and strengthening his own culture. The Globalisation of  
Education has been identified as an intertwined set of global processes affecting education, such as worldwide  
discourses of human capital, economic development and multiculturalism, intergovernmental organisations,  
information and communication technology, NGOs, and multinational corporations. Global Education must  
facilitate understanding of global cultures- Preserving oneb s own identity and being a responsible global citizen  
is the greatest challenge that global education faces today. MNCs and TNCs dominate and exercise power on  
the individual. Lack of participation of the poor and exploitation of local consumers in Global Shopping Mall  
and exploitation of workers as they have no choice of trade unions turns to defend their rights at the Global  
Workplace turns globalisation into a false dream and so minds of educationists and learners must not be swept  
away by the impact of globalisation.  
HRE is life long learning and resourceful teachers must encourage young learners to take up Human Rights as  
a career and explore rich opportunities in the field. Teachers must first invite experts who could speak about  
multiple opportunities arising in governmental, NGOs and charities, academia and law. The nature of work  
could include research, marketing, public relations, lobbying and education. Such information can arouse  
interest and learners will become active Human Rights activists and they will be active agents of social change..  
Value Education and Human Rights, V.T Patil,2008 Gnosis,Delhi,pp173.  
Linguistic Genocide in Education, Tove Skutnabb Kangas, Orient Longman, New Delhi.  
Linguistic Genocide in Education, Tove Skutnabb Kangas, Orient Longman, New Delhi. Pp295.  
Linguistic Genocide in Education, Tove Skutnabb Kangas, Orient Longman, New Delhi. Pp 151.  
Linguistic Genocide in Education, Tove Skutnabb Kangas, Orient Longman, New Delhi.pp311.