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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Opinion

Human rights curriculum is necessary in schools


Human rights curriculum is necessary

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Human rights principles are very valuable to our daily lives, yet it has been ignored by many governments and business leaders. This could be due to the lack of human rights curriculum in the education system.

Unfortunately, human rights are not inherent. They are not just basic facts, but a set of principles that must be taught to young people today. This way they can create better communities and societies that care more about values than materials. 

Schools and universities must create new curriculums that emphasize respect for human rights and equality.

As governments, businesses and schools enact new laws protecting women and minorities, they must also build the educational foundation that will create the logic and reason to make these laws work. 

A human rights curriculum will build a new society that will reject fear mongers who try to rule the country autocratically and in a discriminatory way.

Educational institutions must spearhead the efforts of building better communities by establishing an instructional model based on human rights. 

Establishing a human rights curriculum is easier said than done. It has to be detailed and well organized for it to work. 

For example, Nicholas Goldrosen suggested in his TED talk that the way science is taught can be shifted from just equations and elements, to teaching students how science can be used to give people access to medicine; a fundamental human right. 

There should be human rights classes that teach the youth about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Bill of Rights, Free Speech, Free Press, etc.

This will incentivize the youth to pursue more humane and value-driven jobs instead of the bland business jobs that contribute nothing to the progress of human rights. 

Teaching human rights will also inspire generations to advocate for more economic rights where teachers are paid as much as a movie star, and men and women are paid equally for equal jobs. 

Another important part of the human rights curriculum is that schools should use assembly meetings to invite prominent human rights activists. Nicholas talked about how Hunter College invited a speaker who documented human rights abuses in Guatemala. 

Hunter College invited a United Nations mathematician who showed students how numbers can be used to increase humanitarian aid in crisis zones around the world. 

Schools can use the assembly meetings to discuss what type of activism they will be doing for the week, such as an art activity or a human rights festival. Schools should use their resources to show students how human rights must be a top priority at any place in life.

The idea of a human rights curriculum is, thankfully, not new. In fact, the Danish Institute for Human Rights released a video talking about how human rights must be as important as math in education. 

I believe that students at UH must also push for a human rights curriculum in the United States and in Houston, one of the most diverse cities in the U.S.

The diversity of UH students shows why a human rights curriculum in schools in important. Human rights are fundamental for protecting the rights of minorities.

With this curriculum, this country and the world will change for the better.

Abdullah Dowaihy is a political science senior who can be reached at [email protected]

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