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Childrenʼs Rights and Education

International Perspectives


Beth Blue Swadener, Laura Lundy, Janette Habashi and Natasha Blanchet-Cohen

This book compares ways in which children’s rights in, to, and through education, formal and informal, are viewed and implemented in a variety of social and political contexts, aiming to shed light on how policies and practices can improve equal access to high quality education in an environment which is respectful of children’s rights. Chapters focus on understanding the opportunities for and challenges of addressing children’s rights to participation and to inclusion. Authors draw from a variety of disciplines, including critical and cultural studies of childhood, and bring internationally comparative policy perspectives to share nuanced and contrasting examples of ways in which a rights-based approach to education might empower children and youth. The book deepens and complicates research on children’s education rights, and will contribute to courses in comparative education, childhood studies, education policy, and children’s rights.
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7 Renarrativizing Indigenous Rights-Based Provision Within “Mainstream” Early Childhood Services

The Rights of Indigenous Children



Renarrativizing Indigenous Rights–Based Provision Within “Mainstream” Early Childhood Services

Jenny Ritchie & Cheryl Rau

Aotearoa1 New Zealand is a small island country in the southern hemisphere with an Indigenous population, the Māori, comprising approximately 15% of the total population of 4.4 million, and 22% of the school population (Statistics New Zealand. Tatauranga Aotearoa, 2012). In 1840, Māori chiefs and the British Crown signed the Treaty of Waitangi/Tiriti o Waitangi, which in exchange for the allowance of British settlement, confirmed that Māori would retain their lands and everything of value to them, including their belief systems and language (Orange, 1987). Unfortunately, the incoming British settlers largely ignored these commitments in their determination to obtain land for their own purposes. They not only alienated Māori from their whenua (traditional lands), but through their usurpation of “democratic” processes also greatly impacted the intergenerational transmission of traditional knowledges and language (Walker, 2004). Through Māori determination and persistence, the last quarter of the 20th century saw a gradual recognition of Māori rights of retaining their language and gaining restitution for losses of lands and resources. As a response to a claim by Māori to the Waitangi Tribunal (Waitangi Tribunal, 1986), the Māori Language Act of 1987 recognised te reo Māori as an official language (New Zealand Parliament, 1987). The educational system, which had historically played a predominant role in the invalidation of the Māori language, began...

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