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Dignity and Human Rights Education

Exploring Ultimate Worth in a Post-Secular World


Robert A. Bowie

This book addresses the question of human rights education in a world that is witnessing a resurgence of religion in public life, and a continuation of religion across much of the globe, long after secularization theories predicted its decline. Promoting a universal vision of human rights while acknowledging religious diversity is a challenge for schools. This book starts with the basic premise that human rights are grounded in a belief in the dignity and ultimate worth of the human person. Drawing on key philosophical and theological sources for understanding dignity, it builds a vision of human rights and religious education that seeks to square the impossible circle of universal human rights education in a religiously diverse world.

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Chapter 3: Human rights in the English curriculum


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Human rights in the English curriculum

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) encouraged signatories to promote human rights as a central aim of education. In 2007 there was a change in emphasis in the English curriculum aims, from a general inclusion of rights and responsibilities in the moral education of children, towards the specific commitment to human rights (QCA, 2007b) but this commitment disappeared when the curriculum was revised in 2010. This chapter examines the place of human rights in English secondary school curriculum documentation in the light of the international declarations. It focuses specifically on religious education (RE) and citizenship education (CE) though human rights have previously featured in different curriculum areas such as history, and personal, social, and health education. The chapter provides a regional curriculum perspective to complement the perspective of intergovernmental agreements and educational literature in Chapters 1 and 2.

The chapter researches three areas. The aims of the curriculum and moral education examines references to rights and the worth of a human person in the 2007 National Curriculum documents and whole school approaches to human rights. Religious Education examines the place of rights in the RE curriculum. There are three sources for this curriculum: the non-statutory national guidance documentation for RE, a sample of forty-two of the 151 statutory local agreed syllabuses and the GCSE Religious Studies specifications of the four exam boards. The sample was taken of local authorities from across all...

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