New legal and pedagogical guide on fundamental and human rights in education!

The University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Educational Sciences has published a learning resource on common legal challenges in Finnish institutions of education. The guide is intended for education students and experts. It has been created in cooperation with the Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman and is a unique compilation of typical complaints. The learning material connects law and education in an innovative way.

The guide can benefit everyone in the field of teaching and education, but is particularly useful to teacher students, teacher trainers, working teachers, head teachers and municipal directors of educational and cultural administration. The idea for the guide came from the enthusiastic feedback from teacher students who participated in a course on democracy and human rights education in 2019. The course material featured the parliamentary ombudsman’s resolutions on education.

The new guide focuses on everyday challenges and their legal regulation. The 10 themes of the guide are: safe learning environment, equality and non-discrimination, student welfare, learning support and the organisation of special support, issues relating to disabled children and adolescents, religion and worldviews, peaceful working environment, freedom of speech, good governance and decision-making, school transport and cooperation between school and home. The solutions presented in the guide are intended primarily for teachers and head teachers, but also for the municipal leadership of educational and cultural administration. The case studies also highlight the perspectives of children, adolescents and their parents.

– Fundamental and human rights are crucial principles of a democratic society and education. The parliamentary ombudsman is responsible for judicial review, and must ensure that these principles are upheld, says Pasi Pölönen, deputy ombudsman.

From abstract principles to daily practices

What do fundamental and human rights mean in the daily work of educational institutions? What is the teachers’ responsibility? What kinds of complaints are submitted to the parliamentary ombudsman? Why must every teacher understand the basics of good governance?

These are some of the questions that the guide answers in practical terms. At the same time, it boosts the professional identity of teachers while emphasising the significant social role of teachers in ensuring the human rights of each student.

– The learning material and the related assignments which are derived from real-word situations are an excellent tool for education professionals to deepen their expertise and understanding of the rights and responsibilities of both students and education officials. I believe and hope that this resource will help in the challenging work of education, states Deputy Ombudsman Pölönen.

Further information

Tuija Kasa, project planning officer, University of Helsinki, tuija.kasa@helsinki.fi, +358 (0) 2941 20665

Guide (in Finnish)

Fundamental and human rights in education. Legal and pedagogical guide for the fields students and experts.