Several years ago UNICEF took off on a journey to create child-friendly schools around the world. Their efforts included creating a comprehensive manual and conducting evaluations of so-named environments around the world. However, in their analysis of what created a child-friendly school, UNICEF has routinely neglected to name student voice as an essential component.
For those of you familiar with my work, you’ll know that I would take that engagement of student voice further down the line and propose that to be truly committed to child-friendly schools would be to practice Meaningful Student Involvement throughout the education system. I have called out the child-friendly environments movement before for this type of neglect, and this is an extension of my concern.
UNICEF can take it’s role further, as it must, by thoroughly considering Meaningful Student Involvement. Our world needs nothing less.