Z. K. Shnekendorf,
MSc in Pedagogy,
Professor of Moscow Pedagogical University,
Fellow of Academy of Pedagogical and Social Sciences,
Honored Teacher of the Russian Federation
Attending to children’s rights, and caring about their life, development and education is now one the worldwide human issues.
Two main aspects can be singled out in the problem of childhood protection: social-legal (enactment of legislation acts, setting up a comprehensive system of social, medical, cultural and other institutions for children) and psychological-pedagogical (creating proper favorable environment, style of common citation, conditions for creative work of children at home and in educational institutions and more).
Many experts argue, that legal guarantees, fixed or proclaimed in the legislation of the Russian Federation, embrace practically all sides of life of children and youth. But nowadays they don’t conform to economic resources of the state.
Yet, psychological-pedagogical aspect of providing these acts, aimed at realization of ideas of the Conventions on, humane attitude and harmonization of life of the child in modem complicated conditions, does not need such investments, it needs first and foremost new priorities in our mentality, establishing truly humane attitude to every person, including children.
It is especially true for modem Russia, where many adults — teachers, doctors, people working in law-enforcement institutions, parents and children themselves are not aware of the Conventions on children’s rights.
School is the most important societal institution. It should not only explain the essence of rights and responsibilities of a person, but also establish their unity. Daily school life should create conditions for moral and legal protection for every of human rights and rights of child; creation in the libraries humane atmosphere oriented towards children and teenagers, of the environment which quite often serves as an asylum, an alternative and protection from aggression of surrounding world.
Libraries could do better in this direction as they learn more about UNESCO concepts and projects. They are the most available free institutions in Russia, and, as such, can offer an amiable environment for promoting a culture of peace and non-violence. They could be of much help and be in demand of not only children and parents but also of those who develop this direction in teachers, educators and other specialists in this field, as well as children and parents.
Many Charters restrict children’s rights in managing school to the right to choose their representatives in the School council. The charters don’t specify what rights and responsibilities they possess.
School charters were adopted in 1993-1996, they are morally obsolete and don’t specify many rights of the undergraduates (teaching according to an individual curriculum, additional educational services, protection from physical and psychological violence, freedom of conscience, free expression of personal outlooks and believes and more).
We are of the opinion that rights of children in the sphere of education should include not only their right to education, but personal rights as well. Their realization is directly linked with organizational and pedagogical norms, which are to be observed and cultivated in the system of education. Personal rights can be determined as rights to health protection, rest and leisure, to freedom of thought, conscience and religious freedom, to free associations and peaceful meetings, to protection from violence, rude attitude or neglect and more.
Analysis of school charters allows to come to the following conclusions: the rights of children specified in the Conventions on children’s rights, are only partially reflected in school charters, which don’t mention many rights of the child; in order to improve the system of nonnative provision of rights in the sphere of education it is expedient to work out the packages of model normative documents (Charter and other documents).
The Federal law 'On Main Guarantees of Children’s Rights in the Russian Federation3 dated 24 July 1998 (No. 124-F«), had to correct these drawbacks by giving some special rights to school children organs of self-governance in the sphere of protection of rights of the child. But many teachers and school administration don’t know this as well as other legislative acts.
There are many laws in Russia, but some of them do not work. One reason why it is so is that both specialists and society at large are not informed enough about children-related documents.
Source: Молодежь России перед лицом глобальных вызовов на рубеже веков (Как противостоять агрессивному экстремизму, ксенофобии и насилию среди молодежи) : Материалы Международной конференции, 18–19 ноября 2000 г., Москва, Россия / под научной и общей редакцией И. М. Ильинского. Перевод на англ. яз. М., 2001. С. 261–263. ISBN 5-85085-643-9.