The Australian Human Rights Commission promotes and provides education and training which seeks to build a universal culture of human rights.
The aim is to give people the knowledge and skills they need to understand their rights and to bring about positive change in their lives and in their communities.
Human rights education in the vocational education and training sector
- Embedding human rights education and skills in TAFE courses nationally
- Piloting a human rights skill set in TAFE
- Developing resources and training that support teaching human rights competencies nationally
Human rights education in TAFE
The Human Rights Commission was engaged in a number of projects beginning in 2013 that sought to integrate human rights education, content and resources in the vocational education sectors.
The Commission partnered with TAFE through the School of Social and Community Services, Granville College. Established in 1884, historic Granville College is South Western Sydney Institute’s largest college training over 15,000 students in more than 250 diverse courses each year.
The college offers education and training in the following industry areas – aged care, nursing and community welfare, architecture, automotive, business, butchery, beauty therapy and hairdressing, interpreting, refrigeration, electronics and more. It is a major provider of off-the-job training for many trade industries including automotive, painting and decorating and plastics and polymers. Other specialist areas include hairdressing and beauty, taught at our onsite salons, and engineering and manufacturing qualifications, such as refrigeration and welding. The trainee Butcher’s Shop is open to the public on Thursdays, and is popular with locals and visitors.
The Commission partnered with the School of Social and Community Services, to develop and deliver a human-rights skill set and resources as a two day course.The course was trialled with over 100 learners, workers and teachers in HACC, disability, aged care, mental health services and general community development at TAFE.
This exciting new human rights education program ensures that the resources and strategies that make human rights education, knowledge and skills accessible are available to learners, service and pre-service workers.
Launch speech Friday 14 June 2013, Granville College
Graeme Innes AM, Disability Discrimination Commissioner, http://bit.ly/1IP4thm
The project we are launching today is a partnership between the Australian Human Rights Commission and Granville College, South Western Sydney Institute.
It has been made possible through the commitment and perseverance of Philomena Carneiro and Amrit Versha, (from Granville College). They came to us with great ideas about how to ensure that the unique course developed by Paula, and piloted with the Commission in 2012, could be made available to hundreds of workers and teachers. We recognise them, and Maria Katsabanis at the Commission.
This partnership will ensure that the resources and strategies that make human rights education, knowledge and skills accessible are available to learners, service and pre-service workers everywhere, everyday.
Some of you may be wondering why the Commission is involved in TAFE. In fact, this is only one (albeit a very important one!) of a number of projects the Commission is engaged in that seek to integrate human rights education, content and resources in the Australian school curriculum and the vocational education sectors.
The Commission has a mandate to undertake educational programs that promote human rights, and to assist in the formulation of programmes for the teaching of, and research into, human rights, and to take part in their execution in schools, universities and professional circles: this doesn’t mean human rights education is limited to what human rights lawyers do. It’s not all about us.
Nobody questions that knowledge of discrimination law and human rights are necessary to protect the rights of all people – we’ve seen that in the 20 Years: 20 Stories we have screened here today.
But, it is just as important that we understand that human rights is also about ensuring that all people, including marginalised, vulnerable people, are treated with dignity, respect and that our assumptions about their needs do not drown out their voices.
In the words of one of the graduates from the Cert IV course:
Human rights are more than the principles in a book. It’s about how we embody these principles. About our own behaviours, how we treat other people, how organisations empower individuals, to treat people with dignity, equity, with fairness and with transparency.
We want to continue this important work. We want to do it by ensuring human rights education is systemically embedded in mainstream education. Developing and piloting this skillset with Granville College, TAFE, means we will engage workers, pre-service workers and learners enrolled in Aged Care services, Disability services, Refugee services, Home and Community Care, and general community development – ‘frontline human rights workers.’
Most of you are here because you are committed to, and interested in, finding out more about human rights. Some of you are here wondering how this skill set will benefit your industry. We say, as an industry, you can only benefit from workers who are trained in, and understand the importance of, how to maintain rights-based legal and ethical work practices, and use this knowledge to critically reflect on, and maintain legal and ethical workplaces.
For students and workers, wondering how they can benefit from this project, here are some quotes from graduates of the Cert IV in Human Rights Education and Advocacy:
My view of human rights has changed. I used to see it as a package of rights you fought for, on behalf of others…but really, at the same time, it’s also about how you treat other people.
We have reflected on what human rights education means in practice, for us as workers, and how we can use our knowledge and skills to become more effective, and how we can develop human rights culture in our groups, organisations, workplaces and in the broader community sector.
To prevent myself from being the typical person who thinks they are ‘helping’ [vulnerable people], while really disempowering them or creating an unsafe space.
Without human rights education, the most marginalised and vulnerable can neither access, nor realise, their rights. Without human rights education, human rights principles remain abstract.
The project we are launching today makes an important contribution to these objectives. With this project, we want to make sure that the transformative potential of human rights education is realised.
I am very proud to have had a small involvement, and to launch this project. A really practical, powerful example of community activism.
Storytelling is how we share meaning, educate, and advocate; using digital media to do this is a powerful tool that allows us to convey the broader, universal impacts of our often deeply personal stories.
This is Sanna’s story
…about the racism her family has endured for being Muslim. She says her family left a war zone to come to Australia but didn’t expect to face violence in the suburbs.
This is Viji’s story
…. about becoming an advocate for people with disabilities after her sister, who has an intellectual disability, experienced mistreatment whilst in care.
This is Sana’a’s story
…about the day a neighbour knocked on her door during a violent assault. Sana’a says that from that day forward she knew she had to fight for women’s rights.
This is Amal’s story
…about her journey from Egypt to Australia. Leaving behind loved ones, Amal first moved to Brisbane and then to Sydney. She talks about the challenges she has faced, including racism and discrimination, and her hopes for a new life.