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FSD2553 Children's Rights 2009

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Authors

  • Ministry of Education and Culture. Policy programme for the well-being of children, youth and families

Keywords

children, decision making, human rights, student participation, student-school relationship, voting

Abstract

The survey studied public knowledge and awareness of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Finland. At first, the respondents were told about the Finnish Goverment's policy programme for the well-being of children, youth and families which aims to increase the knowledge of the Convention. The respondents were asked whether they had heard of the UN Convention.

The respondents who had heard of the Convention on the Rights of the Child were presented with a number of statements and asked whether these statements were included in the Convention. The statements were: the UN Convention imposes a legal requirement for the State and municipalities to implement the rights; all children below the age of 18 years are entitled to the rights; it requires the State to inform citizens about the Convention; improves children's chances to participate in decision-making concerning themselves; when making decisions concerning a child the child's best interest shall always be primary consideration; in each country, only children born in that country are entitled to the rights; the Convention diminishes the responsibility of the parents to care for the child; guarantees the child's right to rest, play and leisure; requires that all schools inform pupils about the Convention; requires that the child shall be protected from all forms of violence and abuse.

All respondents were asked whether they agreed with a number of statements regarding to what extent children can participate in decision-making concerning themselves. The statements included, for example: adults can make better decisions if they take children's opinions into account; parents already listen to children's opinions to a sufficient degree; pre-school children are too young to have a say; children can influence matters concerning themselves sufficiently at school; children and young people are too seldom heard in decision-making concerning themselves; it is good that schools have pupil councils where pupils can influence matters; pupils should have a say when the school yard is to be improved; municipal youth councils should have more power; children and young people are too vocal as it is; voting age should not be lowered for municipal elections.

Background variables included the respondent's age, gender, education, economic activity and occupational status, type of contract, marital status, economic activity and occupational status of the person with the highest income in the household, household composition, number and age of children, number of persons in the household, gross annual income of the household, consumer durables in the household, type of accommodation, number of inhabitants and type of municipality, province, region and R's use of Internet.

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