Innocenti Essays No. 4 - Children's Participation: From Tokenism to Citizenship

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A nation is democratic to the extent that its citizens are involved, particularly at the community level. The confi- dence and competence to be involved must be gradually acquired through practice. It is for this reason that there should be gradually increasing opportunities for children to participate in any aspiring democracy, and particularly in those nations already convinced that they are democratic. With the growth of children’s rights we are beginning to see an increasing rec- ognition of children’s abilities to speak for themselves. Regrettably, while children’s and youths’ participation does occur in different degrees around the world, it is often exploitative or frivolous. This Essay is designed to stimulate a dialogue on this important topic.


Roger A. Hart

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