The project SeBI: Securing the Best Interest of the Child in Educational School Administration is financed by the European Commission, through funds granted by the National Erasmus + Support for policy reform Key Action 3 (KA3) Social inclusion and common values: the contribution in the field of education and training with reference number 612177-EPP-1-2019-1-CY-EPPKA3-IPI-SOC-IN.

The main concept of the project is the Best Interest of Child, a term that has been used in a number of international human rights documents, most notably the 1959 Declaration on the Rights of the Child, the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

According to the CRC: “The best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration in all actions affecting children, there shall be no discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinions, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status, states Parties recognize that every child has the inherent right to life and shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child and children shall be assured the right to express their views freely in all matters affecting them, their views being given due weighting accordance with the child’s age and level of maturity”.  The novel characteristic of this statement of the best interests principle was probably its scope as for the first time, it extended its reach to an obligation on States “to ensure that children’s interests are placed at the heart of government and of all decision-making which impacts on children”.

Since then a clear and precise understanding of the “best interest” concept remains to be further elaborated since it has been subject to different interpretations. At the same time the reality often comes in contrast with the legislation regarding the best interest of the child, not only in cases of social crisis but in normality as well. Despite the important work by the European Union, the Council of Europe and others in the field of ensuring children’s rights, a reality check across Europe suggests that levels of child poverty and social exclusion are escalating.

It is evidenced, not only in the EU, but in other countries around the world, that educational systems are not yet fully build to implement the best interest of the Child. Hence, one of the best ways through which states can address the best interests of the Child is to enshrine them to their educational institutions and practices. The lack of training and knowledge on the part of decision makers at this level in primary and secondary education may prolong the achievement gap and marginalization of disadvantaged children. Such achievement gap can be reduced through relevant practices established in schools based on the forthcoming country specific needs analysis and desk research.

The SEBI project, aims at providing valuable advice and suggestions which can be adopted across Europe regarding the assuring of the best interest of the child in Educational School Administration.

This project aims to identify the key challenges that educational systems face in areas were the determination of the Best Interest of the Child is a prerequisite, and prepare methods, tools and processes to support evidence-based policy making supporting school leaders, teachers and policymakers.

More specifically the project’s objectives are:
  • To identify the key challenges that educational systems face regarding decision making in areas were the determination of the Best Interest of the Child is a prerequisite.
  • To support evidence-based policy making.
  • To develop methods and tools that will enhance collaboration, communication and exchange of good practices in the promotion and facilitation of Determining the best Interest of the Child.
  • To facilitate sustainability and transferability of good practices through the development of policy and practices integration manuals for national educational systems, considering each systems framework.

The consortium includes 9 partner entities:

 

P1: University of Cyprus, Cyprus

P2: Folkuniversitetet, Stiftelsen kursverksamheten vid Uppsala Universitet, Sweden

P3: The Commissioner for Children’s Rights (CCR),   Cyprus

P4: Storytellme, Portugal

P5: The Cyprus Observatory on School Violence (C.O.S.V) of the Ministry of Education and Culture, Cyprus

P6: Department of Law, University of Valencia, Spain

P7: Center for Social Innovation (CSI) , Cyprus

P8: Sweden Email – Romagna Network Associazione (SERN), Italy

P9: Stimmuli for social change, Greece

Project Duration:36 months

Project Start:November 2019

Project End:October 2022

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication (communication) reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Project number: 612177-EPP-1-2019-1-CY-EPPKA3-IPI-SOC-IN.