Young children's right to be heard on the quality of their education

Date: 9th February 2024
Category: Education, Leisure and Cultural Activities

A child learning

This article explores whether young children's right to be heard, especially regarding education quality, has experienced a form of 'rights inflation'—an expansion beyond the legal framework or an interpretation surpassing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) text.

In early childhood education, many researchers and professionals across the world embraced the UNCRC’s call for involving young children in decision-making. The discussion delves into three possible ‘misrepresentations’ relating to young children's participation in decision-making related to the quality of education:

  1. “that all children can, should and want to share views on all matters affecting them”;
  2. “that young children should always be allowed to learn and play freely”; and
  3. “that children are the experts in their worlds”

This prompts a conversation about the boundaries and selectivity of young children's participation within their human rights. The article emphasises recognising the role of parents, guardians, and professionals in facilitating children's access to their human rights, including the right to a quality education. It encourages a balanced approach aligned with the UNCRC's principles while acknowledging the need for guidance and support from adults.