Did you know that everyone has rights? Children under 18 have special rights that are described in 54 agreements. By learning about your rights, you can also speak up for them!
Regardless of race, gender or disability, all children and young people have the right to education no matter who they are. On Sint Maarten, we have the law of compulsory education, where all children between four and 18 must be in school and educated.
Through education, you learn new things and gain more knowledge about the world. You can learn certain things in school and through after-school activities like sports and art. People around you, such as your parents and friends, can also teach you valuable lessons. For example, learning life skills, such as cooking or changing a tire, will help you as you grow up and are ready to live on your own.
Education began a long time ago. It started with adults training the young in skills needed to survive, through stories and imitation. As villages and towns formed, so did formal schools. Schools existed already in Egypt over 4000 years ago!
However, did you know that many children around the world cannot or do not go to school? In some places, families do not have enough money, or children have to work for money instead of going to school. In some countries, boys are allowed to go to school, but girls are not.
You might think: “Wait, that sounds like fun! I don’t always want to go to school.” But having an education is important. Take a moment and think about what might happen if you never learned new skills or if you could not go to school.
Every day is a chance to learn something. If you have an idea about what you would like to learn, let your parents or teacher know and maybe they can help you. Or take matters into your own hands and find what you want to learn by using the Internet or visiting the library.
All humans need shelter and food, for example, and these are rights that everyone has. But children also have additional rights such as love, protection, and support to grow and learn safely. In 1989, the United Nations (UN) agreed to a list of children’s rights that apply to all children in the world. It is called: The Convention on the Rights of the Child. Like most governments of the world, the Sint Maarten Government has promised to respect this list of children’s rights.
This six-part series is contributed by UNICEF The Netherlands and the Child Protection Working Group on Sint Maarten. For in-depth articles, visit www.growingupsafe-sxm.com