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Global partnership to promote children’s rights

Press release issued: 1 February 2011

Specialists in childhood and policy from the University have teamed up with colleagues in the Middle East and Europe to help them create a practical qualification that will advance the rights of children.

Specialists in childhood and policy from the University have teamed up with colleagues in the Middle East and Europe to help them create a practical qualification that will advance the rights of children.

Funded by the European Union through the TEMPUS programme, the new postgraduate Diploma in Public Policy and Child Rights aims to promote policies and practices which better respect, protect and fulfil children’s rights in the participating countries.

From February, the course will be taught at Cairo University, Assuit University, The University of Jordan, and Hashemite University in Jordan. Work is underway to develop student exchanges with the University of Bristol and to allow the diploma to be used as credit toward qualifications in European partner universities. 

Whilst previous approaches to improving children’s rights have been led by practitioners and charities, this initiative seeks to effect change from an educational perspective by training practitioners and policy makers to advocate for children and to inspire more child-focused working.

Dr Debbie Watson, Senior Lecturer in Childhood Studies with Bristol’s Centre for Research in Health and Social Care, said:

‘The idea of this diploma is to help professionals working with children, as well as policy makers and parents, to improve the lives of children.   We’re not going to effect change just by working with street-based practitioners, but through a combination of approaches that bring together all those who can make a difference.’

Dr Heba Raouf of the University of Cairo added:

‘I hope this diploma will educate a wide range of participants about different issues, strategies and mechanisms to serve the rights of children and the policies that can support and protect children's welfare and society at large.’
The project partners in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands are collaborating with practitioners in Jordan and Egypt who work with and for children, and the contents of the diploma have been developed with input from all of the project members. The project is also supported by UNICEF and Research in Practice, a UK-based organisation which provides advice and guidance to institutions engaged in evidence-informed practice and social policy.

The diploma comprises eight modules, and is tailored to suit students who are full-time workers and experienced practitioners, including NGO workers, policy makers, and media and ministry personnel. In Egypt, for example, professional social workers taking the diploma will be able to advocate for children in police stations.

Professionals’ willingness to devote additional time to this training, coupled with the backing of the governments in Egypt and Jordan, is, Dr Watson says, indicative of the high level of commitment to promoting positive change in children’s well-being and participation.

There is a dedicated website for prospective students wishing to find out more about the course.

Further information

  • TEMPUS supports the modernisation of higher education and creates an area of co-operation in countries surrounding the EU. Established in 1990, the scheme now covers 27 countries in the Western Balkans, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, North Africa and the Middle East.
  • The Centre for Research in Health and Social Care is one of seven centres within the University of Bristol’s School for Policy Studies. It is a focus of both applied and theoretical research relating to key health issues at national and international level. It has thirty members including staff and postgraduate students working in a range of research areas including inter-professional and interagency work, evidence-based care, health inequality, mental health and health issues relating to ageing, children and gender.
Please contact Dara O'Hare for further information.
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