Countering Disadvantage, Promoting Health The Value of Children Human Rights Education


  • R. Brian Howe Cape Breton University
  • Katherine Covell Cape Breton University



The purpose of this article is to show the value of rights-respecting schools in countering the negative effects of social disadvantage and poverty on the education and health of children. The article builds on literature on the social determinants of health, showing a linkage between social position and health, and on education research, showing education to be a protective factor against disadvantage. In reference to a study of children's rights education in Hampshire, England, the authors adds to this literature by showing how schools with comprehensive children's human rights education - schools that model practices consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child - engage children in school and counter the ill effects of social disadvantage. In engaging children and providing them with a positive school climate, rights-respecting schools increase the likelihood that disadvantaged children will do better at school, complete school, and live healthier and more productive lives.