High-level Consultative Meeting on Human Rights Education in Schools in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
23 February 2022
A human-rights-based approach also produces better outcomes for economic development. By promoting universal access to education and overcoming discrimination.
Under the umbrella of the existing technical cooperation program between the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Saudi Human Rights Commission and in partnership with the Ministry of Education, a high-level consultative meeting was held to promote education on human rights in schools in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and to discuss the plans of the Ministry of Education through the exchange of international experiences and the best practices to spread a culture of human rights in schools.
In his opening speech, Mu’ayyad Mehar, the Programme Coordinator of the Technical Cooperation Programme of the OHCHR in Saudi Arabia, emphasised the importance of mainstreaming a human-rights-based approach (HRBA) to education, which according to him should rest on the human rights principles of non-discrimination and equality, accountability and transparency, participation, empowerment, and the right to education to guide and organize all aspects of learning, from policy to the classroom. Duty-bearers, such as parents, teachers, education authorities and politicians are bound to meet their obligations and support children (as rights holders to claim their rights). For example, they must ensure that the education they provide does not discriminate and is open to scrutiny of others, allowing the active participation of learners and other stakeholders. Children and learners are entitled to know about their rights and the right to participate in all decisions that concern them, both directly and indirectly.
A HRBA also produces better outcomes for economic development. By promoting universal access to education and overcoming discrimination against girls, children with disabilities, working children, children in rural areas and minority and indigenous children will serve to widen the economic base of society, thus strengthening a country’s economic capability.
A HRBA also looks towards rights in education, again moving beyond simply giving better access rights to girls. This includes adaption of the school curriculum to suit girls as well as boys. Improving the quantity of education for increased numbers of girls and women does not necessarily have a positive impact on equality if, when in school, these girls learn from curricula and textbooks that perpetuate stereotypes that impede gender equality.
UN entities involved in this initiative
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights