International organizations and human rights education curriculum reform




The United Nations (UN) and Council of Europe (CoE) have engaged in the development of a human rights education (HRE) curriculum in Turkey. The study programme for an elective high school course, Democracy and Human Rights, was first developed as part of the UN Decade for HRE initiative in 1999. The programme was later renewed as part of CoE’s Education for Democratic Citizenship and HRE initiative in 2013. This study scrutinises the course’s two programmes with a view to providing insights into the role of international agencies in HRE curriculum reforms. The introduction and development of the course—which is possibly the world’s longest-lived example of HRE taught as a school subject—was a product of the efforts of the international organisations. After discussing the political-ideological influences of the factions that held power when both programmes were developed, the paper ends with suggestions to improve the effectiveness of international organisations in HRE curriculum reform.


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Author Biography

Kerim Sen, Eskisehir Osmangazi University, Turkey

Kerim Sen is an associate professor at Eskişehir Osmangazi University. After receiving his master degree in social studies education from Florida State University in 2013, he completed his PhD in democratic citizenship education at UCL Institute of Education in 2017. His research interest lies in the field of citizenship and human rights education.


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How to Cite

Sen, K. (2023). International organizations and human rights education curriculum reform . Human Rights Education Review, 6(1), 52–71.



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