Children have a right to an education that develops their full potential and prepares them for all aspects of life. In addition, decisions about re-opening schools need to consider the full range of children’s rights, which are partially realized through the education system. These include the right to protection from violence, freedom of thought, access to information, the right to play, access to social support, and many others. Schools are “critical infrastructure” for realizing these rights.
Governments have a duty to make the best interests of children a top priority and create conditions in which children can realize their rights. An education re-opening strategy based on children’s rights would provide sound direction, public confidence, and better tools to deal with unexpected challenges.
Based on these principles, the CCRC issued an Open Letter to Decision-makers in the Education Sector. That includes provincial Ministers of Education, school boards, teachers, and others. Children, says the open letter, need to be at the center of a strategy that engages all aspects of their lives and people who support them. It outlines the various rights that are relevant for making decisions at all levels of society. Children’s rights to education and other rights need to be part of the public discussion about re-opening schools across Canada.