Phillips, L. G. (2016). Human rights for children and young people in Australian curricula. Curriculum Perspectives 36(2), 1-14.
Australia is a signatory to United Nations legislation that requires state parties to educate children and young people about human rights, through human rights and for human rights. To assess how Australian curricula address human rights education, evidence of key civil, political, social and cultural rights relevant to children’s lives was sought through curricula analysis of the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia and the Australian Curriculum (Foundation to Year 10). References to ‘rights’ were searched for and surrounding content read for relevance and implications. Illustrative quotes from the curricula documents were analysed for inferences pertaining to prioritisation and interpretation of civil, political, social and cultural rights and to how children and young people are positioned as rights holders and claimers in education in Australia. Significant discrepancies were found between the Early Years Learning Framework and the Australian Curriculum, conveying incongruent messages to children as to how, when and where they can be rights holders and claimers, along with signalling wide gaps in rights education. Propositions are thus offered for how continuity in education about, through and for human rights could be sustained from the early years and then throughout schooling.