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Lund University establishes an institute for children’s rights

2015 Ivory Coast school visit during the Child Rights programme
2015 Ivory Coast school visit during the Child Rights programme

After 12 years of conducting work for the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Child Rights, Classroom and School Management programme has resulted in the establishment of an institute for children’s rights. Based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the institute will work to stimulate and support continued research and education promoting children’s rights.

The initiative to establish the institute, called the Child Rights Institute at Lund University (Cri@LU), was taken by teaching staff and researchers at the faculties of Social Sciences and Law, as well as the Raoul Wallenberg Institute. The idea is that the institute will serve as a platform, promoting interdisciplinary research, education, and external engagement regarding children’s rights.  

“The research is based on the CRC, and will integrate knowledge about the child perspective in various social processes, to thereby promote the well-being of children”, says professor Per Wickenberg – one of the lecturers active in the Sida project who has also been involved in creating the Child Rights Institute at Lund University. 

Besides focusing on innovative research, the Child Rights Institute will be working with both nationally and internationally oriented courses, such as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). The institute will also organise public events, specifically focusing on children’s rights.

The origin of children’s rights programmes

The CRC was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1990 – a convention aimed to ensure children their economic, political, and social rights. Based on this convention, the Lund University Commissioned Education office has for 12 years, on behalf of Sida, managed the programme Child Rights, Classroom and School Management, in countries such as Colombia, Indonesia and Uganda. The programme is an initiative for change in the work of trying to implement the CRC into education in developing countries.

During the 12 years of the programme, the work for change has accelerated, professional networks have been established, and knowledge on the CRC has spread to many different actors and institutions.

“The programme has developed participatory expertise and experience, and to uphold this expertise and to maintain networks, the Child Rights Institute has now been founded”, says Maria Flores – customer relations manager and overall programme manager for the French- and Spanish-speaking Child Rights, Classroom and School Management programme.

FACTS – Child Rights, Classroom and School Management

The Child Rights, Classroom and School Management programme is carried out through five different phases, divided into 18 months, where vice-chancellors, teacher training staff, and someone from (or in close relation to) the Ministry of Education of the host country, collaborate on projects for change in school contexts. During the course of the programme, participants are trained in how to apply the CRC into practice, and visit Swedish schools and other education institutions to broaden their views on children’s rights. Towards the end of the project, a follow-up seminar is organised, where participants from participating countries gather and share their experiences. The lessons and knowledge gained from the programme are compiled into a report that will serve as a support to participating countries.