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Part of a seminar series interrogating the concept of rights of the child and implications for research, policy and practice

In Article 29(a), UNCRC recognizes the goals of education as it ‘develops every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full.’ To meet this objective within different contexts, educators might rethink the conventional forms of learning to support every learners’ potential based on their values and needs within their cultures. This panel investigates various views on children’s right to education and culturally-responsive pedagogies. It also brings examples of creative pedagogies in contexts, which have attempted to develop children’s talents and personalities through an unconventional form of education.

About the speakers:

Chair: Steve is Associate Professor of Teacher Education. He is a curriculum tutor for the Geography PGCE and MSc Learning and Teaching. He holds an MA in Educational Leadership and Innovation from Warwick University, an MSc in Educational Research Methodology and DPhil in Education from the University of Oxford. He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He researches at the intersection between the academic discipline and school subject of geography, including recent collaborations developing through the Smart Cities Network for Sustainable Urban Future project. He is currently leading research on Climate Change Education Futures in India (GCRF) in collaboration with colleagues at IISER, Pune, and on the role of cultural heritage in curriculum making in Kolkata. His research on teacher education focuses on the contribution that geography education research offers to the conceptualisation and practice of teaching.

Speaker 1: Hugh Starkey is Professor of Citizenship and Human Rights Education at IOE, UCL’S Faculty of Education and Society. His research interests are education for democratic citizenship and human rights education (EDC / HRE) developed in an intercultural perspective. He is co-convenor, with Audrey Osler of the World Educational Research Association’s International Research Network on Human Rights Education. His latest book (2021), co-authored with Lee Jerome, is Children’s Rights Education in Diverse Classrooms: Pedagogy, principles and practice. His current and recently completed doctoral students research citizenship and intercultural education in contexts including East Asia, Middle East, Latin America and Europe.

Speaker 2: Dr. Shauneen Pete is from Little Pine First Nation in Treaty 6 territory (Canada). She works in the Faculty of Education at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada. She teaches courses in Indigenous Education. Her research includes the indigenization and decolonization of Canadian higher education. Dr Pete has served in several leadership roles including: Executive Lead Indigenization at the University of Regina, and both Vice President (Academic) and Interim President at First Nations University of Canada.

Speaker 3: Bernadine Anderson (Dip. AMI,Dip Ed, MA Education, reading for MA in Peace Studies,) Sri Lankan educationist with over 3 decades’ experience in USA & Sri Lanka, who oversees 10 Sri Lankan educational institutions including sponsored schools, catering to students from 18 months to 18 years. Established a State-approved teacher training programme in Montessori Primary and organized Sri Lanka’s first colloquium on Montessori Primary. With international and national recognition/awards for education, capacity building, social outreach, rehabilitation and peace work, including the N-Peace Award in 2018, this mother of three and grandmother of two lives in Colombo.


Part of a seminar series interrogating the concept of rights of the child and implications for research, policy and practice

Article 1 of the UNCRC defines a child as an individual below the age of 18 years. This definition is now used and adapted across countries and contexts. However, this definition of a child is specific to the 21st century; different eras in history defined the child in different ways. Furthermore, while the UNCRC identifies this definition of the child as universal, different cultures (used to) define the child and childhood in different ways. This seminar looks at different definitions of the child as understood through histories and cultures to interrogate the nature of ‘child’ and how it is socially dependent. 

About the speakers:

Chair: Dr Catherine Sloan is a social and cultural historian of nineteenth-century Britain at Hertford College, University of Oxford. Her research focuses on the changes to education, youth, and childhood in this period, with a particular interest in young people’s role in shifting the direction of these changes. She is currently the co-ordinator of academic skills support for undergraduate students at Hertford, as well as a Career Development Fellow in History. 

Speaker 1: Dr. Peter N. Stearns served as Provost at George Mason University until 2014 where he was also a Professor of History. His currently University Professor, Provost Emeritus in the Department of History and Art History at George Mason University.  He has taught previously at Harvard, the University of Chicago, Rutgers, and Carnegie Mellon; he was educated at Harvard University. Professor Stearns has written widely on world history, including two popular textbooks. Other books include The Industrial Revolution in World History, Gender in World History, Consumerism in World History, Western Civilization in World History, Childhood in World History, and Global Outrage: The Evolution and Impact of World Opinion. He edited the Encyclopedia of World History, 6th edition. 

Speaker 2: Siân Halcrow is a professor at the Department of Anatomy, University of Otago. Siân’s research interests lie in understanding major human transitions in the past through the experiences of the most vulnerable people in the population: infants and children. Her work interrogates central archeological questions of the intensification of agriculture and human responses to this seminal time in prehistoric Southeast Asia, East Asia and South America. She also contributes to topical issues in her discipline through her work on the ethics of the study of human remains. Since 2007, Siân has had more than 100 peer- reviewed publications, and has gained grants from the Marsden Fund, Australian Research Council, FONDOCYT, Fulbright NZ, Wenner-Gren Foundation, and National Geographic.

Speaker 3: Professor Marilyn Fleer holds the Foundation Chair of Early Childhood Education and Development at Monash University, Australia, where she has been the research leader since 2001 for Child and Community Development. As former President of the International Society of Cultural-historical Activity Research (ISCAR) and recipient of the Vygotsky Institute medal for contributions to advancing cultural-historical research, she is passionate about developing different forms of knowledge. She has been a visiting research fellow for the Ministry of Education, Singaporean Government, and at Beijing University, University of Garvle Sweden, University of Copenhagen Denmark, Bergen University College Norway, and was the Erskine Fellow, Canterbury-Cambridge, New Zealand.


Part of a seminar series interrogating the concept of rights of the child and implications for research, policy and practice

Article 19 of the UNCRC addresses violence against children, emphasising that State Parties must have proper laws in place to prohibit violence, and requiring States to implement administrative, social and educational measures to protect children. All forms of violence, both physical and mental, fall under article 19. In 2019, 1.6 billion children (69%) were living in a conflict-affected country. Approximately, 426 million children (over one in six) were living in a conflict zone in 2019. This constitutes a 2% increase from 2018. The ramifications of conflict on the implementation of UNCRC and other treaties aiming at protecting the rights of children are worthy of investigation as they delve into the issue of power dynamics. The third seminar of this series discusses the state of the child in conflict states, from the point of view of different stakeholders. The speakers include researchers, government officials, and civil society/NGOs from the occupied Palestinian territories and Kashmir. 


About the speakers:

Chair: ​​Federica D’Alessandra is the Deputy Director of the Blavatnik School of Government’s Institute for Ethics, Law, and Armed Conflict (ELAC), and the founding Executive Director of the Oxford Programme on International Peace and Security, based at ELAC. She is also an Academic Affiliate of the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, a member of the Steering Committee of the Oxford Network of Peace Studies, and a mentor for the Oxford Character Project. Federica has been recognised by Forbes magazine as one of “30 Under 30” leaders with “the likelihood of changing the field of law and policy over the next half-century”.

Speaker 1: Omar Awadallah is a career diplomat, an Ambassador, and Assistant Minister for United Nations and Other Specialized Agencies at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the State of Palestine. He played a critical role in developing the State of Palestine’s institutional framework to join the United Nations and its agencies, as well as its array of treaties and conventions. He oversees the State of Palestine’s engagements with international covenants including the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, as well as the States of Palestine’s reports and discussions at the Human Rights Council.  He also ensures the harmonization of these human rights conventions into Palestinian law.  Omar has a substantial policy experience in Multilateral Diplomacy and International Organizations and oversees specialized files, including UNRWA, and thematic issues like terrorism, disarmament, among others. He has more than 20 years of diplomatic experience and has previously served as a Charge’ d’Affaires and Political Counselor at the Embassy of the State of Palestine to Ukraine, where he also received his PhD in International Relations.

Speaker 2: Brad Parker specialises in issues of juvenile justice and grave violations against children during armed conflict, and leads DCIP’s legal advocacy efforts on Palestinian children’s rights. Brad regularly writes and speaks about the situation of Palestinian children in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. He co-leads DCIP’s No Way to Treat a Child campaign. He is a graduate of the University of Vermont and earned his J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law.

Speaker 3: Mirza Saaib Bég is a Kashmiri lawyer and activist. He is the first Kashmiri recipient of the Kofi Annan-Mansfield and Oxford- Weidenfeld-Hoffman scholarship at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. He holds a Master’s in Law and has recently completed a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Oxford. He is a gold medalist graduate of NALSAR University of Law, where he was the president of the university Students Union. Mirza is a prominent advocate for the restoration of the civil and political rights of kashmiris. He has been quoted in several international publications such as Washington Post, The Guardian, France24, Deutsch Welle and other international media outlets.

Speaker 4: Jacqueline Bhabha is a Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at the Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health, the Jeremiah Smith Jr. Lecturer in Law at Harvard Law School, and an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. She is also the Director of Research at the Harvard FXB Center for Health and Human Rights. She received a first class honors degree and an M.Sc. from Oxford University, and a J.D. from the College of Law in London.


Part of a seminar series interrogating the concept of rights of the child and implications for research, policy and practice

In early 2021, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child adopted General Comment 25 which binds States to acknowledge that children’s rights apply to the digital realm, and to take the necessary steps to ensure that these rights are protected. While the General Comment 25 can be recognised as the first vital step towards creating a set of regulations that take the digital world into account when it comes to the rights of the child, it is important to see it as a first step. The existing formulation of the UNCRC may not be sufficient to address the issues and concerns of the child in a digitised world. The UNCRC was written for a society different from the one that exists now, and will soon come to exist with regard to the digital. This seminar brings together academics, researchers, and activists who have been working in the area of children and the digital world, to discuss the possibilities and the challenges that are emerging.


About the speakers:

Chair: Victoria Nash is the Director, an Associate Professor, and Senior Policy Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute (OII). Her research draws on her background as a political theorist, and concern the policy implications of evidence characterising children’s use of Internet technologies. Recent projects have included an analysis of age verification policies as a tool for balancing the interests of children and adults online, and an examination of the data risks posed to children by connected toys and the Internet of Things. She holds several digital policy advisory roles, including membership of the UK Government’s multi-stakeholder UK Council on Internet Safety (UKCIS) Evidence Group.

Speaker 1: Sonia Livingstone DPhil (Oxon), OBE, FBA, FBPS, FAcSS, FRSA, is a professor in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Much of Sonia’s time these days is concerned with Children’s Rights in the Digital Age. Sonia has published 20 books on media audiences, especially children and young people’s risks and opportunities, media literacy and rights in the digital environment, including The Class: Living and Learning in the Digital Age  (New York University Press, with Julian Sefton-Green). Her new book is Parenting for a Digital Future: How hopes and fears about technology shape children’s lives (Oxford University Press), with Alicia Blum-Ross.

Speaker 2: Amanda Third is Professorial Research Fellow in Digital Social and Cultural Research in the Institute for Culture and Society and Co-Director of the Young and Resilient Research Centre at Western Sydney University; and Research Stream Co-Lead in the Centre for Resilient and Inclusive Societies (Deakin; Western Sydney University and Victoria University). An international expert in user-centred, participatory research, her work investigates children’s and young people’s technology practices, focusing on marginalised groups and rights-based approaches. She has led child-centred projects to understand children’s and young people’s experiences of the digital age in 68 countries, working with partners across corporate, government and not-for-profit sectors.

Speaker 3: Anil Raghuvanshi is the founder/president of ChildSafeNet, a leading organization in Nepal working to protect children and young people online. He had worked for more than three decades in nine countries as a child protection professional with Unicef, ILO, UN DPKO, Save the Children, ECPAT International and Plan International. He has been promoting a safer and better internet for children and has started the Safer Internet Day campaign and Stop.Think.Connect movement in Nepal. He has led a number of research studies on protecting children online and is a member of the Global Advisory Group of Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI).



Part of a seminar series interrogating the concept of rights of the child and implications for research, policy and practice

Today, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) represents a definition of childhood and children’s rights, broadly known by different institutions and actors who study child’s rights and development. As the most widely-ratified international human rights treaty, we are interested in investigating UNCRC’s roles and impacts on how children experience childhood nowadays. This panel presents views on the goals and prospects of this Convention, and it also brings diverse perspectives on the effectiveness of UNCRC and its sufficiency in policy and practice within different contexts.


About the speakers:

Chair: Dr Naomi Lott is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Faculty of Law, Oxford University, funded by the ESRC. Her primary research interests are in the field of children’s rights, with a particular focus on children’s economic, social and cultural rights, and particularly the right to play. Naomi completed a PhD at the University of Nottingham on the child’s right to play, examining the right from conception through to implementation. She holds a LLM in Human Rights Law and a Masters in Socio-Legal Research Methods from the University of Nottingham, and a degree in International Politics from Aberystwyth University.

Speaker 1: Benjamin Perks is the Head of Campaigns and Advocacy in the Division of Global Communications and Advocacy at the United Nations Children’s Fund. He leads on public and policy advocacy on issues related to the survival, development and protection of children. He is a member of the Policy Advisory Group on the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children. He previously served in human rights diplomacy roles as the UNICEF Representative and UN Resident Coordinator ad interim to both the Republic of North Macedonia and the Republic of Montenegro. In both capacities he advocated for reforms to fulfill international human rights commitments and realization of the Sustainable Development Goals. Benjamin has also served in Georgia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, India and Albania. He is Senior Fellow at the Jubilee Centre at the University of Birmingham in the UK, which researches education policy on character, social and emotional development of children. His TedX talk on Adverse Childhood Experiences can be found here.

Speaker 2: David Archard is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Queen’s University Belfast, Chair of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and Honorary Vice-President of the Society for Applied Philosophy. He is an applied moral philosopher who has published widely on many topics, especially the moral and political status of children, the family, and sexual ethics, and who has played a prominent role in public policy through his work as a Member and Deputy Chair of the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority and now as the Chair of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics.

Speaker 3: Dr Conrad Nyamutata is a senior lecturer in law and institute head of research students (Institute for Law, Justice and Society) at De Montfort University, Leicester, United Kingdom.  He is a former journalist in Zimbabwe. He has worked for the Leicester Racial Equality Council and the British Red Cross in the UK. Conrad’s teaching and research interests lie in the broader areas of international criminal law, international human rights, international humanitarian law and terrorism. His PhD focused on children and armed conflict and the philosophy of international law and has published widely on child soldiering and human rights.

Speaker 4: Ermiza Tegal is a lawyer with 15 years of experience in constitutional and family law, representing in particular survivors of torture, arbitrary arrest and domestic violence. As a Chevening scholar, she read for her Masters in Law specializing in Law, Development and Governance at the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London).  With 20 years of experience in human rights, her most recent work involves family law reform, counter terrorism, addressing FGM and promoting a people centered land policy in Sri Lanka. She is the co-founder of Muslim Personal Law Reform Action Group (MPLRAG) and currently is also serving as a legal expert on government appointed advisory committees on family law reform. Ermiza will be representing MPLRAG as its co-founder.


Education has been heavily impacted globally by the pandemic, yet educational knowledge and expertise do not seem to be strongly referenced in policy discussions and decisions about, for example, closing and reopening schools, the effectiveness of distance learning, or the most appropriate forms of assessment. Examinations policy in ‘normal’ times contains a number of tensions, for example, concerns to maintain standards while recognising improvement, along with questions of fairness, parental pressures, and issues around public understanding of assessment practices. These are heightened in crisis, generating intense public interest, raising questions regarding governance and regulation and increasing pressure on political leadership. This seminar presents findings from current research to offer some possibilities for understanding the sources of knowledge and the forms of expertise that were mobilised or not in relation to examinations policy in England in 2020, where the cancellation of national examinations, and outcry about the impact of the algorithm that replaced them, led to a very public policy reversal.


About the speakers:

Prof Margaret Arnott

Margaret Arnott is Professor of Public Policy. Margaret joined UWS as Professor of Public Policy in 2013. Previously she was Professor of Public Policy at Glasgow Caledonian University. Over the past twenty five years she has also held posts at University of Edinburgh and the University of Birmingham.

Margaret’s research interests and expertise include politics of public policy, constitutional politics, territorial politics and governance. She also has a particular interest in the politics of education policy and has extensively researched education policy making.  Margaret also has extensive research experience of Scottish/UK politics. She has undertaken externally funded research in her areas of research expertise including the ESRC funded project exploring Education and Nationalism under the SNP Devolved Government since 2007. She is an Associate Director of the Centre for Families and Relationships a consortium  of Universities on applied policy focused research on families and relationships. She is also currently a collaborator and participant on international research project funded by the Norwegian Research Council lead by Stein Rokkan Centre University of Bergen on ‘Governance , management and organization of policy programs to improve completion of upper secondary education” Margaret also has extensive experience of research and knowledge transfer for policy makers, practitioners and the wider public.


Prof Emeritus Jenny Ozga

Professor of Sociology of Education in the Department of Education from 2010-2015, and before that Director of the Centre for Educational Sociology (CES), University of Edinburgh, Jenny also worked at Strathcyde, Keele, UWE Bristol, and the Open University.

She is an Honorary Professorial Visiting Fellow in the School of Social and Political Sciences, the University of Edinburgh, and has an attachment to the University of Umea, Sweden. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and has been a visiting scholar at Helsinki University, Finland. She holds an honorary doctorate from Turku University, Finland and is a member of the ESF College of Expert Reviewers. She teaches on the EU funded summer school in European Education Studies (SUSEES). The MOOC may be accessed here


Prof Jo-Anne Baird

Before coming to Oxford, Jo-Anne held academic posts at the Institute of Education, University of London and the University of Bristol.

Jo-Anne previously held the position of Head of Research at the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance, where she managed the research programme and was responsible for the standard-setting systems for public examinations. Her first degree and doctorate were in psychology and she has an MBA.  Her current research projects include Setting and Maintaining Standards in national examinations, Examination reform: the impact of modular and linear examinations at GCSE, Assessment for Learning in Africa (AFLA), intelligent accountability and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study England national centre.

Her research interests are in educational assessment, including system-wide structures and processes, examination standards, marking and assessment design.  Jo-Anne conducts a lot of work with government and industry partners, including acting as the Standing Adviser to the House of Commons Education Select Committee, a member of Ofqual’s Standing Advisory Group and membership of the Welsh Government’s Curriculum and Assessment Group.  She is a member of the Editorial Board of the Oxford Review of Education journal and the International Advisory Board of Assessment in Education: principles, policy & practice.  She has been a Visiting Professor at the universities of Bergen, Queen’s (Belfast) and Umea.  From 2013 to 2015 she was President of the Association for Educational Assessment – Europe.

Please use this link to join us on the day of the event.

The transition to post-secondary life can be challenging, as students often encounter limited or competitive employment pathways and matriculation requirements for higher education can be difficult to navigate, particularly for students from under-resourced contexts. More critically, there has been a disconnect between career-related policies in the UK and the available higher educational opportunities, especially for students from low socio-economic areas. Indeed, this disconnect has been the topic of several historical and recent debates in policy and programme evaluation. Specifically, how might a career programme be designed and implemented that considers the context-specific needs of under-resourced areas, while also offering quality skill-building opportunities aimed at equipping young people for diverse future pathways?

In this seminar, we will present our study that evaluated the implementation of the International Baccalaureate Career-Programme (CP) within historically under-resourced contexts in Kent, UK. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected from 31 schools with a total of 301 participants, including students, teachers, and senior leadership during 2020-2021, to explore the CP implementation and student/teacher experiences within the CP. We also analysed pre-existing data, including post-CP achievement outcomes, from 379 students who had finalised the CP in Kent. Together, our findings highlight that a multi-dimensional perspective of context, including the community context and student year level, was central to understanding the enablers and challenges of the CP implementation. More broadly, our study provides support for the IB CP implementation model in Kent as a successful career programme that could be applied in other challenging contexts, both nationally and internationally. The CP programme with its focus on local knowledge, civic responsibility, and personal growth, appears to have successfully inspired school leaders, teachers, IB coordinators, and students in Kent. When investigating the success of the implementation, key stakeholders, with support from the Kent City Council and the local community, managed to build a network of support structures between schools and school leaders, from the early piloting phase through the pandemic until the present.

This research was conducted by the research team in the Oxford University Centre for Educational Assessment (OUCEA). The study was funded by the International Baccalaureate.

Therese N. Hopfenbeck is a Professor of Educational Assessment, Director of the OUCEA, and fellow at Kellogg College. She is elected Vice-President of The Association for Educational Assessment-Europe and Lead Editor of the journal, Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy, and Practice.

Therese will be joined by Dr. Samantha-Kaye Johnston, a Research Officer at the OUCEA. She is also an affiliate at the Berkman Klein Centre at the Harvard School of Law.

Non-presenting team member

Joshua McGrane is an Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the OUCEA and fellow at Kellogg College.

This seminar will focus on a new methodological approach in educational research, epistemic network analysis (ENA). Derived from social network analysis, ENA converts qualitative data into a summation of unit matrices that can be quantitatively visualized and analysed. ENA has been used to demonstrate the ways different groups value and connect ideas in domains, how ideas communicated in documents are related, and ways that people and ideas interact which can then be mapped into a learning ecosystem. When used in a repeated measure design, ENA can demonstrate patterns of change among ideas and people. The seminar will demonstrate the variety of applications of ENA and briefly discuss the procedures from initial data collection to visualization. Limitations of the method and future applications will be discussed.


Please join us via Zoom on the day of the event by clicking this link.

Speaker: Dr Peter Kelly, Reader in Comparative Education, University of Plymouth, UK

Talk title: Renegotiating the Public Good: Education Policy Responses to Covid-19 in England, Germany and Italy

Chaired by Maia Chankseliani