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Children’s rights and children’s lives: How working children make sense of schooling

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Abstract:

This paper explores how the two central paradigms shaping international development and education policies – the Education For All (EFA) and the Child Rights (CR) frameworks – inform and articulate with each other, as they are used by states to target children in difficult circumstances. While EFA discourses present formal schooling as the central means of protecting children’s best interests, CR-based approaches insist on the participation of children in determining their best interests. Using qualitative data from a rural ‘block’ in southern India, it investigates the tensions and overlaps between the two frameworks in the situated context of child workers’ lives.
EFA-based enforced schooling policies imagine child workers as passive victims of parental decision-making; CR-frameworks, on the other hand, use an ‘agentic’ approach to claim that child workers make informed decisions about their lives. What does it mean for children (held to be ‘marginalized’ by circumstances that require them to work) to be seen as social actors who, despite their tenuous situations, are capable of participating in decisions about schooling and work?
By drawing on qualitative interviews and observations of working children, I attempt to understand how child workers participate in and theorize about the decision to stay in school or drop out to work. If education seeks “to liberate,” I suggest that policy conceptions of children’s right to education must move beyond a polarized framing of work versus school; it must recognize how children’s developmental trajectories are situated within immediate social institutions of family, work, gender, class or caste.

Author's Keywords:

Child work, child rights, international education policy discourses
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Association:
Name: 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
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http://www.cies.us


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p493834_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Thangaraj, Miriam. "Children’s rights and children’s lives: How working children make sense of schooling" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, May 01, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p493834_index.html>

APA Citation:

Thangaraj, M. , 2011-05-01 "Children’s rights and children’s lives: How working children make sense of schooling" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p493834_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: This paper explores how the two central paradigms shaping international development and education policies – the Education For All (EFA) and the Child Rights (CR) frameworks – inform and articulate with each other, as they are used by states to target children in difficult circumstances. While EFA discourses present formal schooling as the central means of protecting children’s best interests, CR-based approaches insist on the participation of children in determining their best interests. Using qualitative data from a rural ‘block’ in southern India, it investigates the tensions and overlaps between the two frameworks in the situated context of child workers’ lives.
EFA-based enforced schooling policies imagine child workers as passive victims of parental decision-making; CR-frameworks, on the other hand, use an ‘agentic’ approach to claim that child workers make informed decisions about their lives. What does it mean for children (held to be ‘marginalized’ by circumstances that require them to work) to be seen as social actors who, despite their tenuous situations, are capable of participating in decisions about schooling and work?
By drawing on qualitative interviews and observations of working children, I attempt to understand how child workers participate in and theorize about the decision to stay in school or drop out to work. If education seeks “to liberate,” I suggest that policy conceptions of children’s right to education must move beyond a polarized framing of work versus school; it must recognize how children’s developmental trajectories are situated within immediate social institutions of family, work, gender, class or caste.


Similar Titles:
Contradictions in Children's Rights in Peru: The Right to Work or the Right Not to Work?

Ethical Decision Making for School Leaders: Lived Experience, Race, and Gender

How to Make a Bad School, Good while making the Bad Children Worse.


 
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