The right to education under the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) establishes a foundation for children’s rights and responsibility towards others. This is can be seen in the way the CRC defines the right to education in articles 28 and 29. While article 28 defines children’s right to access to education, article 29 outlines the purposes of education for children and young people. The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) provides for rights as well as responsibilities for children and young people. They have responsibilities towards their families, society and the state.
According article 29 of the CRC, children have the right to education which develops their personality, skills, respect for others, respect for human rights and the environment. This provision not only adds a qualitative dimension to the right to education under Article 28 by making education a matter of values as it is of access, but also insists on the need for education to be empowering.
According to Article 29, children’s and young people’s education should help develop their minds, talents, mental and physical abilities. It should also lead to the development of respect for other people, for human rights and the environment. According to African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC), education should also be directed towards ‘the preservation and strengthening of positive African morals, traditional values and cultures’. Education should prepare the child for a responsible life in the spirit of understanding, peace and tolerance; a life of harmony and friendship with people from different sexes, ethnicity, religious background, etc.
“Education should help children and young people care for the word” (CYP Commissioner, Scotland)
In line with the CRC provisions, education should lead to children and young people’s development of respect for the following:
While education systems have a vital role in developing the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that enable children and young people to contribute to and benefit from an inclusive and sustainable future, and schools are facing a growing demand not only to prepare students for the rapid economic, environmental and social changes; they need to equip students with the necessary skills for becoming active, responsible and engaged citizens. In relation to this, SODEI aims to support initiatives around providing technical support in development of school curriculum and training package on child rights education.
The sustainable development agenda (particularly SDG 4) recognize young people as a driving force for development but only if they are provided with a set of 21st century skills and opportunities needed to reach their full potential, succeed in an increasingly knowledge-based global society, and become informed and active citizens. This, SODEI recognizes the critical role of education in reaching sustainable goals, calling on Cameroonian leadership to ensure, by 2030, that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills to promote sustainable development, including among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, equality, promotion of a culture of piece and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity.