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FOCUS December 2002 Volume 30

Human Rights Education Study Tour: Delegation from China

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) organized on 16-24 September 2002 a study tour to the Philippines for a Chinese delegation. This study tour is part of the technical assistance of OHCHR to the People’s Republic of China for the development of human rights education programs for the police, judges, teachers and other professionals. This is also a follow-up to the recommendations made by Chinese educators for primary and secondary schools in a human rights education seminar held in Beijing on 8-9 November 2001.

The recommendations for primary and secondary schools include the development of a national human rights education in schools program by adding the international human rights standards to the existing curriculums on legal education and moral education; review of human rights curriculum, textbooks, and teaching methodologies in other countries; development of materials; and strengthening of teacher training.

Study tour program

A ten-member Chinese delegation went to the Philippines for the study tour. It was composed of four officials from the Ministry of Education, one official from the Ministry of Justice, two officials from the Ministry of Public Security, two officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Vice Dean of a university law school.

The nine-day study tour consisted of the following:

  1. Briefing on government programs on human rights education in schools by officials of the Philippine Department of Education, and the Commission on Higher Education (for the teacher training curriculum);
  2. Briefing on programs on human rights education in schools of other institutions - the Philippine Normal University (with observation of two classes on human rights), and the Institute of Government and Law Reform (in the University of the Philippines’ Law Center) on Popularizing the Law Program which includes teaching of human rights to school children;
  3. School visits to observe human rights classes in a primary school (Aurora Quezon Elementary School), and a high school (Manila Science High School) in Manila city. An additional demonstration class with Grade Six students was held in the University of the Philippines’ College of Education;
  4. Workshop with education officials from Thailand, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.
  5. Session on the synthesis of the Chinese delegation’s learnings from the study tour program, as well as ideas on how to develop a program on human rights education in Chinese schools.

The Chinese delegation presented China’s program on legal governance and moral education subjects, as well as the general school curriculum which contains subjects mentioning human rights principles. A soon-to-be published teaching material for secondary school, containing discussions on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, was also presented. The delegation also mentioned that other publications for primary school, teachers, and school administrators will be developed soon.

PHOTO : Chinese delegation members talking with students
Chinese delegation members talking with students at the Aurora Quezon Elementary School in Manila

Last note

The recommendations of the Chinese educators in the 2001 Beijing seminar regarding human rights education in Chinese primary and secondary schools deserve support. Since the study tour to the Philippines is a follow-up to the Beijing seminar, the members of the Chinese delegation who joined the study tour to the Philippines have the responsibility of supporting the fulfillment of the recommendations. How they will carry out this responsibility is still to be seen. The most awaited development, in any case, is the final form of the Chinese national human rights education program in primary and secondary schools.


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