Supporting the right to education in Queensland

30 May 2019

UQ Law students are helping families and advocates of vulnerable young people understand their right to education with the release of a community education publication about aspects of the Human Rights Act 2019.

UQ Pro Bono Centre Director Bridget Burton said the Human Rights Act protected 23 fundamental human rights, including a right to education.

“With its focus on inclusion, the new right to education act has the potential to be life changing for students with disabilities in Queensland state schools,” she said.

Pro Bono right to education event
Pro Bono Centre Director Bridget Burton was joined by Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, UQ Law Professor Tamara Walsh, UQ Education’s Dr Rhonda Faragher, Dr Emma Phillips from Queensland Advocacy Incorporated and Loretta Kreet from Legal Aid Queensland for the community forum in February 2019.

Led by the UQ Pro Bono Centre, UQ staff, students and community partners have been working together to talk about this new right with parents, advocates, teachers, principals and policy makers.

The UQ Pro Bono Centre facilitated events to engage with families and advocates of children with disabilities, and school leaders.

The discussions at those events helped UQ Law students prepare this publication which responds to key issues.

UQ Law student Abinaya Ketheeswaran said the short, accessible publication covered the key features of the new law.

“There is no doubt that the introduction of the right to education into the new Human Rights Act has been monumental for Queensland,” she said.

Students Madeleine Jensen and Abinaya Keetheswaran (L-R).

“Its inclusion in the Act represents a development towards more inclusive education, ensuring all children have equal access to education regardless of their abilities.

“Being a part of this project has been an invaluable experience for me. Having the opportunity to personally engage with parents and carers whose children were directly affected by the new law was both heart-warming and confronting.

“Despite the troubling stories that were shared, the level of support and comfort in the atmosphere was unmatched.

“It has been incredible working alongside such inspiring students and academics, who have paved the way for schools and other stakeholders, to ensure the beneficial effects of this right are widespread.”

In April 2019, Professor Tamara Walsh, UQ Pro Bono Centre Director Bridget Burton and Dr Rhonda Faragher spoke with school leaders about the new Right to Education.

Ms Ketheeswaran and fellow UQ Law student Madeleine Jensen led the UQ student group which supported the events and prepared the publication.

“The right to education is both a fundamental human right and an indispensable means of realising other human rights,” she said.

“This project has opened my eyes to the importance of the right to education and has challenged me to consider how we can ensure that this right is afforded to all persons equally and without discrimination; particularly to children with disabilities.

“This project has afforded me the invaluable opportunity to engage with parents and carers and hear their thoughts, concerns and praises of the Queensland Human Rights Act, and also the opportunity to hear from leading human rights practitioners and academics, and discuss views for how the legislation can be effectively enforced to protect vulnerable children.”

Read the community education publication (PDF, 183.7 KB)

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