Children and young people have a right to participate in how their education is governed and how decisions about their education are made. They have a right to influence their learning so that they can benefit from a just, equitable and quality education.
While governments and public authorities are responsible, as duty bearers, for promoting and fulfilling children’s right to education, parents, teachers and local leaders have a duty to support children to participate more fully in this process. We are committed to working with education systems and institutions to ensure they are more accountable for their own performance, and that they are more open and responsive to the voices of children, youth and their communities in generating long-term changes to education.
Our approach involves working in alliance with education authorities to establish and enhance public accountability mechanisms that monitor the delivery of national education commitments, the quality of education services and provide opportunities for redress.
We also work together to generate more effective, participatory and inclusive school management processes. This includes ensuring girls and boys have genuine opportunities to engage in their development, to increase their participation in school governance, to influence adults' decisions on education and to hold decision-makers to account. It also involves supporting child and youth-led participatory initiatives to monitor the quality of education and strengthening the capacity of community members to engage in school management.
Our accountability and participation in education work directly supports Sustainable Development Goal target 4.7 of ensuring that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development.
Case study: Boosting participation in education management
Bolivia’s laws encourage communities to take part in the local management of education – yet despite this participation in public schools is weak, largely due to a lack of knowledge or interest.
To address this, Plan International’s ‘communities improving the quality of municipal education management project’ strengthened the skills of civil society - especially children - to increase their participation and bring about change.
Before the project, school children only participated sporadically in education management at classroom level, while it was non-existent at municipal level.
Principals, teachers and parents did not consider child participation in municipal and school boards meetings as important and felt that children had no capacity or time to support the boards.
With macho attitudes still deep-rooted in rural areas, girls’ participation was also not well received.
Working across 6 municipalities in the departments of Chuquisaca and Santa Cruz, the project has now strengthened 190 student governments – training 3,586 child leaders and more than 3,800 parents and 3,360 teachers to support children’s school organisations.
The project has encouraged the acceptance and participation of girls and ensured gender parity in school and municipal boards, as well as student governments.
Now attitudes have changed and adults understand and accept that girls and boys have an important role to play in contributing innovative ideas to improve their education.