Monday, May 11 at 15:24

Education is Empowerment

An introductory lecture for the „Human Rights and Education“ group was held by Mona Motakef, a german sociologist from the University of Duisburg/Essen. After briefly presenting her understanding of human rights, Motakef went on to talk about the special importance of the right to an education, described in Article 28 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There, education is understood as a right in itself, as a part of human dignity and as an empowerment right, as a means of achieving other rights.

As a benchmark for the implementation of education as a human right, Motakef named four major aspects: availability, access, acceptability and adaptability. In this 4A-scheme, availablity is the demand for free, government-funded fundamental education, access requires that education must be non-discriminatory and accessible even to minorities. Education becomes acceptable when it is relevant and has a high quality (for example, it includes up-to-date textbooks and content). Adaptability, as a final property, describes the education system’s ability to change with the needs of the students.

Motakef’s two examples of pregnant teerns dropping out of school in Tanzania and low literacy among some of the indigenous peoples of Guatemala were added to by the audience, who used the subsequent Q&A to describe many of their’ nations local problems and to ask Motakef’s opinion on such diverse issues as child labour and education, the influence of education on the spread of HIV in South Africa and the situation of Gypsies in Bulgaria and Romania.


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