Human rights education: developing a theoretical understanding of teachers' responsibilities

Carol Robinson, Louise Phillips, Ann Quennerstedt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The United Nations (UN) asserts that children and young people should have access to Human Rights Education (HRE) and that schools are one of the key means through which HRE should be made available (UN, 1993; UN, 2006). However, there is currently limited knowledge about the presence and form of HRE in school contexts, and there is no established means through which HRE provision within schools is evaluated. This paper proposes a theoretical framework to support the classification of teachers’ responsibilities in relation to HRE and argues that systemic change is needed within education systems if HRE provision is to be realised in more extensive and consistent ways. The curriculum documents of three nations - Australia, England and Sweden - were analysed to determine teacher responsibilities for educating pupils about human rights. The viability of the developed framework was then tested through applying it to the outcomes of these analyses. The theoretical contribution made by the paper deepens knowledge and understandings about the nature of responsibilities placed on teachers to educate pupils about human rights, and provides a foundation from which to stimulate debate about what constitutes effective school-based HRE practices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-241
JournalEducational Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2018

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Educational Review on 19/09/2018, available online:


  • human rights
  • teacher responsibilities
  • human rights education


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