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With more than 20 primary school teachers in the Egyptian city of Tanta together with Institute Circle have started to conduct workshops on children's rights in their classes as part of the "Education and Awareness Raising on Children's Rights in Egypt" project. They are using the »Our Rights« methodology developed by the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, which is also supporting the project.

Teachers from 10 schools in Tanta and the representatives of the Tanta education authorities participated in a 4-day training on children's rights, during which they learned about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and its underlying principles - non-discrimination, the best interests of the child, the importance of participation and child development. They discussed the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and inalienability of rights. They also gained skills in the use of different interactive methods and tools and how to use the »Our Rights« manual to teach children about their rights.

More than 750 children are now participating in workshops on children's rights. With their teachers they are talking about the rights covered in the manual and the Convention, such as the right to life and development, to a name and citizenship, to education, to play and development, to nutritious food and water, to health care, to participation. In addition, the workshops also cover the rights of refugee children, children with special needs, and focus in particular on the right to protection from all forms of violence.

According to the teachers, the workshops are very well received by the children. Interactive methods such as role-play, poster-making, group work, etc. are something new in the otherwise very formal way of education in Egyptian schools. Children are now learning about rights for the first time - in Egyptian society it is considered that children have duties and are subordinate to adults, both parents and teachers.

The participating teachers were also enthusiastic about the 4-day training, which they said had provided them with new skills and knowledge, not only in the field of children's rights, but also in interactive teaching methods and tools, which they would be able to use in their own work.

Workshops on children's rights are particularly important in Egypt, where children's rights are not discussed in school, in the family and in society in general - children are expected to respect and follow the instructions of adults, there is no space for participation, and children's opinions are not taken into account. Many of the rights enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child are not respected - children are not protected from violence, many work instead of being educated, and many have no access to nutritious and healthy food, education and health care.

These workshops also give children the opportunity to learn about topics not covered in the curriculum, to participate actively and share their opinions, and to strengthen their critical thinking, communication and creativity skills. Teachers are also aware of the importance of raising children's awareness of their rights. Although they are aware of the difficulties in achieving respect for children's rights in Egyptian society, they stress that teaching children about their rights will have a positive impact on them and Egyptian society in the long term.








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