CALL FOR PROPOSALS
International Summer Course on the Rights of the Child
June 21 to 26 2020, Université de Moncton, Canada
The Right to Education: Access to post-secondary education and the transition to the workforce
The International Summer Course on Child’s Rights (ISCCR) is a forum for professionals who work with children. This event promotes better professional practices and promotes Child’s Rights as fundamental rights of human beings pursuant to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Another purpose is to impact public policy to protect children’s best interests and improve the quality of education in New Brunswick, across Canada, and around the world. The 2020 Summer Course will be about access to post-secondary education and the workforce, and how school prepares children for this transition.
Education is a right that every state must respect and apply. Moreover, the Education 2030 Agenda led by UNESCO as a part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, considers the right to education as a driver of development. The right to education also constitutes the fourth of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
According to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the realization of children’s right to education is interdependent with all other children’s rights. The goal of education is the full development of children including instilling respect for human rights, their identity and their language.
Education includes university studies and continuous education. The goal is to prepare children for the transition to the workforce. According to the non-discrimination and equal-opportunity principles, education must be fair and accessible to everyone regardless of socio-economic status, gender, disability, etc.
The 2018 UNICEF publication Report Card 15 reports the lack of equality between children at the end of schooling when they think about their future. Their aspirations are affected by various factors such as family wealth and education. Canada is one of the top ten most advanced countries in education equality among rich countries (ranked 9th of 38). Inequality tends to decrease the farther children progress in their studies.
This Summer Course is an opportunity to exchange ideas aimed at finding concrete actions to improve work practices among education professionals, raise awareness, and enforce children’s education rights, especially in the areas of post-secondary education and the workforce. Scientific committees and organizers of this course invite researchers and professionals to propose sessions that include conceptual analysis, practical methods and/or that deal with this year’s theme. This forum will be a multidisciplinary exchange on children’s rights. Professionals and researchers are invited to talk about the following subjects:
1. Post-Secondary Education Rights: Accessibility and the Right to a Free Education
Accessibility to post-secondary education is a complex question. Several factors cause inequality such as:
- Origins, gender, language, etc.
- Living standards (ex.: income, place of residence)
- Past schooling (ex.: results, establishment)
- Special needs
The UNICEF report shows that children from well-to-do families are more likely to continue their studies than are children from families with low incomes.
Students are required to pay tuition fees that can be very expensive. In addition, they have to pay other fees including housing, food, furniture and transport. To compensate for this inequality, governments establish financial programs like student loans, grants and bursaries. What are the limits of this compensation? Is it sufficient? We should consider the established mechanisms in Canada and in other countries to evaluate their effectiveness in reducing inequality. We should also reflect on how these mechanisms may be improved.
2. Is School Preparing Students for the Transition to the Workforce?
Youth is the best time to discover one’s aspirations. Canada has a low unemployment rate (5.5% as of June 2019) but a gap exists in employment rates between 15-24-year-olds and those aged 25 and over. Younger people are more affected by unemployment (10%) than are people aged 25 and over (4.7%). This difference exists in most countries. For example, in France, unemployment for 15-24-year-olds was 19.2% of the active population in the first third of 2019, and 7.9% for those aged 25 to 49 in the same period.
Why is there so much difficulty employing youth when the youth represent such a large economic potential? Is school and post-secondary institutions preparing them sufficiently for the workforce? The difficult transition between school and work is even harder in a time of economic crisis, and the most impacted are low-skilled workers, minorities, immigrants, and youth. What policies are in place to ease this transition?
It is more difficult for youth to find work because employers prefer to hire people who already have experience. Another common problem is that university graduates may be overqualified and underemployed. In this context, the discussion should be about the gap between skills learned at schools and skills that employers are looking for. We can consider whether schools and post-secondary institutions are preparing students efficiently to meet the market’s needs and what needs to change in order to resolve this.
The OECD project The Future of Education and Skills 2030 shows the relevance of education and schooling. Education should address various challenges such as accelerating globalization, emerging technologies, and climate change. This report insists it is necessary to teach our students job skills and knowledge as well as life skills and values. Looking towards a bleak future, how can education help to build the world of tomorrow and prepare students for jobs that will exist in the future? According to a 2017 study from Dell Technologies and Institute for the Future, 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 do not exist now.
3. Post-Secondary Education and Inclusive Education
Article 28 of the UNCRC says that states have to, “Make higher education accessible to all on the basis of capacity by every appropriate means.” Education must be inclusive and appropriate for everyone and must allow them to reach their full potential.
However, several inequalities exist, based on various factors. For example, according to the UNICEF Report Card 15, in 30 of the 36 rich countries, girls are more likely to plan to finish their studies than are boys. In Canada, 95% of girls are registered in post-secondary education compared to 69% of boys.
Thoughts or ideas could be directed towards how to make post-secondary studies more inclusive and relevant to encourage success and help children achieve their objectives. Article 29 says that education should help children’s minds, bodies and talents to be the best they can. Each child has different needs and should be able to achieve their full potential on equal terms.
The fourth Sustainable Development Goal, 4.1, says, “By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes.”
For youth with special needs, New Brunswick human rights law aims to respect the right to equality and non-discrimination in areas of provincial jurisdiction such as the post-secondary school system. There should be no discrimination based on having a physical or mental disability, so higher education establishments should provide accommodation to all students who require it.
Universities in Canada recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion and the necessity to do more. To do this, they commit to abide by Universities Canada’s Principles on Indigenous Education, and Inclusive Excellence Principles.
What other mechanisms exist to facilitate inclusion? How does it work in other countries?
4. Post-Secondary Education, First Nations and Diversity
To perform the reconciliation and inclusion process, a collaboration between universities and Indigenous people is necessary. Canadian universities have created programs and partnerships such as the 2015 Principles on Indigenous Education to promote inclusion of Indigenous people.
From 2013 to 2015, the number of post-secondary education programs tailored to Indigenous students increased by 33% and the number of universities offering Indigenous language courses increased from 44% to 54%.
In 2016, close to 30% of 25- to 64-year-old non-Indigenous Canadians had a diploma compared with 10% of Indigenous Canadians. This is an improvement, as in 2006 just 7.7% of Indigenous Canadians had a diploma, but the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students is still an important problem. Moreover, the Indigenous population continues to undergo a large demographic growth. What measures should be taken to ease inclusion?
A 2018 poll from Indspired called Truth and Reconciliation in Post-Secondary Settings: Student Experience reveals that Indigenous students need more help for food and housing than they are receiving now. Poll respondents said that education programs do not teach enough about issues that are important to Indigenous people, teachers do not know enough about the material, and there are not enough teachers who come from Indigenous communities.
Obstacles to access still exist, in particular, financial issues, distance from their home communities and a lack of participation of Indigenous people in university governance. Decision-making is improving but is still insufficient. What kinds of measures could lead to a better sense of belonging and a better representation on campus and in governing body?
5. Right to Education and Continuous Education
Lifelong learning is voluntary education that people do throughout their lives for personal and professional fulfillment. It is up to schools to instill in students a thirst for knowledge that will inspire them to do this. Experts in pedagogy have found various factors that encourage students to become lifelong learners: autonomy, responsibility and students’ willingness to learn; motivating learning activities; cultural education; discussion and collaboration between learners; and reflection. Education focused on problems, voluntary learning environments, and cognitive education are all methods to nurture these competencies in every student. In what other ways can school help each student to grow as a learner?
6. Various Themes
These previous themes are not exclusive. Other ideas can be discussed if they accord with the main subject of the Summer Course.
Types of presentation:
Please specify the presentation format in your application.
There are four formats available:
- Round tables: 1- to 3-hour presentation by several presenters. Please submit a title, a summary of the presentation, the names of the other participants, and the time needed, accounting for periods of discussion and the number of participants.
- Oral presentation: The length of each presentation (from 20 to 30 minutes) is determined by the Organizing Committee depending on the number of presentations received.
- Workshop: Workshops (from 60 to 90 minutes) can be about techniques for using a tool, an approach or a practice. Workshops are more effective with a smaller group of participants.
- Poster: Posters can be used to present results from research, approaches, tools, or techniques. The maximum size for a poster is 60 by 120 cm (2 by 4 feet), in either portrait or landscape format. Please submit a summary of your poster’s contents by December 3, 2019.
The Committee will do its best to respect your choice of formats, but will reserve the right to use a different format if necessary.
Submission method and the possibility of publication:
Anyone who wants to submit a proposal for an oral presentation in one of the two official languages of New Brunswick and Canada is invited to do so. For almost ten years, the ISCCR has brought together the world's leading experts on the issues of children's rights. In recent years, we have also been seeking to perfect opportunities for dialogue, learning and meeting children themselves through training, by organizing a parallel program for children and young people and also by organizing workshops and plenary conferences between adults and young people. Children and young people under the age of 19 are particularly encouraged to submit their submissions and to indicate their age, school or post-secondary institution, the youth association movement or their sector of employment, if any.
Your presentation proposal must respect the following criteria in order to be reviewed:
- The summary can be no longer than half a page in length. Please specify which of the themes you will address, the presentation format, and the title.
- Your proposal must include a small biography (250 words maximum) and a picture of you, sent as two separate Word or PDF documents. In order to maintain anonymity, your proposal (Word or PDF) must not contain anything that could identify you personally.
- Please specify if you want to be published in the Revue de l’Université de Moncton. The rules for publication will be sent to authors who are confirmed as participants.
Please submit your proposal before December 3rd 2019. The Organizing Committee will assess proposals and evaluate their ability to enrich the dialogue. You will receive a response to your proposal before the middle of March 2020.