HR education for human rights educators

Received by e-mail: From: Felisa Tibbitts, Date: 09/12/2009

Dear Colleagues, I have followed closely and with great interest the discussion in relation to HRE for human rights educators and, in particular, Alenka Begant’s message calling for standards in relation to quality HRE.

In collaboration with some colleagues I have developed a preliminary set of competencies for human rights education, intended for young adult and adult learners. I feel quite strongly that practitioners need to develop a common understanding of learner outcomes in order to advance in understanding of what “quality human rights education” means. At the moment, we have a range of definitions that can inform the principles, but not the substance, of practice.  

The draft competencies can be found at this website and are intended to spark a conversation among practitioners. I also hope that the ultimate result will be areas of agreement about learner outcomes that might apply to young adults as well as adult learners in a range of settings. In other words, these competencies could be used not only for school and university teaching but also for nonformal education of professional groups and community members. Ideally we will come up with some kind of working list to coincide with the finalization of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training, which will be presented to the Human Rights Council in its March 2010 session.

The final list should include competencies that are central to, and perhaps unique to, human rights education. In the future I hope that we will be able to carry out a similar exercise for citizenship education, peace education, etc. The elaboration of such competency-based frameworks would greatly assist school-based educators in understanding similarities and differences between these approaches, which has often been a source of confusion.

In regards to the draft HRE competencies list, a more elaborated document might identify those specific competencies that would be “minimally” required in order to identify a program as human rights education (as opposed to human rights awareness). It may also be that these competencies can serve as a basis for more fully elaborated competencies specific to certain adult learner groups. Issue areas might also be naturally linked with the learner outcomes. But we start here, and see where we go.

I warmly welcome the edits and suggestions of listserv members!

Very best wishes, Felisa Tibbitts, Director, Human Rights Education Associates (HREA) – US office, 97 Lowell Road, Concord, MA 01742, Tel: +1 978 341-0200, Fax: +1 978 341-0201, e-mail, Website.

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