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Teaching after a violent past: the secondary school history curriculum and a child’s right to education in present day Rwanda

Marina Henry

Title:
Teaching after a violent past: the secondary school history curriculum and a child’s right to education in present day Rwanda
Author(s):
Henry, Marina
Thesis Advisor(s):
Martin, J. Paul
Date:
Type:
Theses
Degree:
M.A., Columbia University
Department(s):
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Persistent URL:
Geographic Area:
Rwanda
Abstract:
The primary purpose of this thesis is to determine the impact the present history curriculum, taught in secondary schools in Rwanda, has on a child’s right to education. The thesis analyzes the teaching of history before the genocide, and the manner in which it contributed to the 1994 genocide. Thereafter, the national government placed a moratorium on the teaching of history, until 2006. Put under pressure by national and international non-governmental organizations, as well as by civil society organizations, President Paul Kagame’s government created a new history curriculum for secondary schools. This syllabus portrays pre-colonial Rwanda, post-independence Rwanda and the narrative of the 1994 genocide in a biased and one-sided manner. Consequently, this thesis determines that the curriculum violates a number of articles included within both the Convention of the Rights of the Child, and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. These are related to the freedom of expression, the best interests of the child, the right to education and the freedom of thought, conscience and religion. However, the Rwandan Constitution, adopted in 2003, ascertains that the respect of these different rights is determined by Rwandan national law.
Subject(s):
History--Study and teaching (Secondary)--Curricula
Right to education
Human rights
Political science
Education, Secondary
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Suggested Citation:
Marina Henry, , Teaching after a violent past: the secondary school history curriculum and a child’s right to education in present day Rwanda, Columbia University Academic Commons, .

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