Children's Rights

Course - first cycle - 15 credits

Syllabus for students autumn 2016, spring 2016, autumn 2015, spring 2015, autumn 2014, spring 2014, autumn 2013

Course Code:
BU123E revision 1.1
Level of specialisation
Main fields of study:
No main fields
Date of establishment:
14 November 2003
Date of ratification:
27 June 2013
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Education and Society
Enforcement date:
02 September 2013
Replaces Syllabus ratified:
02 March 2012

Course description

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child forms the foundation of the course as it addresses local and global values of childhood rights and children’s participation in society. Students contribute with their own experiences and share international comparisons. Main articles of the Convention and concepts such as “in the best interest of the child” and “perspectives of the child” are critically analyzed and discussed in relation to different issues in the lives of children. The theoretical framework of the course is mainly educational with references to children’s conditions and rights in social institutions such as pre-school and school.

Advancement in relation to the degree requirements

Single Subject Course.

Entry requirements

General entry requirements + English B.

Learning outcomes

After participating in the course the participants will be able to:

  • Account for the content and message of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • Analyze different understandings and implementations of the Convention within local and global perspectives.
  • Critically analyze the Convention in relation to children’s participation and citizenship.


The course offers opportunities of exploring and analyzing childhood and children’s participation on a personal, local and global level. Students present and discuss different issues of children’s rights both individually and in groups, orally and through written assignments.

Course content

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is used as a point of departure to discuss, analyze and evaluate modern childhood and its new frames for understanding childhood and children. The UNCRC is discussed and demonstrated in the light of perspectives such as policy, democracy, culture, school, family, gender, ethnicity and social interaction.

Learning activities

Learning methods consist of designing, participating in and presenting field work, evaluating and analyzing literature and classroom presentations. Working forms include lectures, seminars, individual and group work. The course is based on two assignments: “Children’s Rights in your home country” and “Children’s lives and conditions”. The first (individual) assignment comprises a minor research study based on how the UNCRC is understood and implemented in the participant’s home country, built on personal experiences, reflections as well as information from literature and/or the internet. In the second (group) assignment the participants design a comparative field work study. Data is analyzed and discussed, based on the UNCRC, theories of childhood and course literature. Both projects are presented in class; the first individually, the second in smaller groups with peer review and critical evaluation by other participants.

Grading system

Excellent (A), Very Good (B), Good (C), Satisfactory (D), Pass (E) or Fail (U).

Course literature and other teaching materials

Course literature

The bibliography consists of mandatory articles related to the lectures (which will be made available to the participants at the start of the course) as well as freely chosen literature from the Reference list. In addition to this and in relation to project work articles from scientific international journals and Internet can be included, as well as relevant fiction and literature from the students’ home countries.

Reference list

Barry Percy-Smith & Nigel Thomas (2010), (eds.). A Handbook of Children and Young
People’s Participation: Perspectives from theory and practice.
New York: Routledge (366 p).

Cole, Jennifer & Durham, Deborah (2008), (eds). Figuring the Future: Globalization and the Temporalities of Children and Youth. New Mexico: School for Advanced Research Press (243 p).

Cunningham, Hugh (2005). Children and Childhood in Western Society Since 1500. United Kingdom: Pearson Education Limited (206 p).

Franklin, Bob (2002), (ed). The New Handbook of Children’s Rights. Comparative Policy and Practice. New York: Routledge (420 p).

Greene, Sheila & Hogan, Diane (2005), (eds). Researching Children’s Experience:
Approaches and Methods.
London: Sage (273 p).

Hendrick, Harry (2005) (ed). Child Welfare and Social Policy. United Kingdom: Policy Press(558 p).

Invernizzi, Antonella & Williams, Jane (2008), (eds.). Children and Citizenship. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications (192 p).

James, Allison & Adrian L. James (2004) Constructing Childhood. Theory, Policy and Social Practice. Hampshire: Palgrave McMillan (218 p).

John, Mary (2003), (ed). Children’s Rights and Power: Charging up for New Century.
London: Jessica Kingsley (271 p).

Kehily, Mary Jane (2010). An Introduction to Childhood Studies. New York: Open University Press (208 p).

Mooney, Carol Garhart (2005). Theories of Childhood. An introduction to Dewey,
Montessori, Erikson, Piaget and Vygotsky.
Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Merrill
Prentice Hall (103 p).

Osler, Audrey (2006), (ed). Citizenship and democracy in schools: Diversity, identity,equality. Oakhill: Trentham Books (211 p).

Penn, Helen (2009). Understanding Early Childhood: Issues and Controversies. United
Kingdom: Open University Press (194 p).

Ridge, Tess (2004). Childhood poverty and social exclusion. United Kingdom: Policy Press(170 p).

Verhellen, Eugene (2000). Convention on the Rights of the Child. Belgium: Garant Uitgevers
(179 p).

Course evaluation

Evaluation is an integral part of the course. A concluding oral and written evaluation based on the aims, learning outcomes and methods will serve to further develop the course in the future.