'Rights of The Child' Include the Fundamental Right to an Education

TORONTO, Nov. 16 /CNW/ - On November 20, 1989, Canada was among the 140 United Nations member states that signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Twenty years later, lack of access to education and health care, and the impact of poverty continue to be serious issues affecting children throughout the world, including here in Ontario.

In Ontario, almost one in six children is growing up in poverty. Poverty has a huge impact on children's ability to learn, effectively compromising their fundamental right to an education, says Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) President Sam Hammond.

"Teachers see the effects and consequences of poverty every day in their classrooms. They know how hard it is for their students to learn when they are hungry or excluded because they cannot afford fees, materials, or proper clothing," Hammond said.

A main objective of ETFO is to foster a climate of social justice and provide leadership in such areas as anti-poverty, non-violence, and equity. The Federation has focused on lobbying for social change at the provincial level and developing resources and professional development to share with educators across Canada.

Two years ago with funding from the Ontario Ministry of Education, ETFO began an intensive program of addressing poverty and its impact on education. The goal of ETFO's 'Education and Poverty' project is to educate teachers and in turn the broader community about the impact of poverty in the classroom and to develop strategies to address some of its impacts.

ETFO has also developed lesson plans along the theme of children's rights in recognition of the 20th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

"Access to an education is a fundamental right. Educators must continue to develop partnerships with government and local communities to find creative educational solutions that minimize socio-economic challenges as determinants of student achievement," said Hammond.

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 73,000 elementary public school teachers and education workers across the province and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.

SOURCE Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

For further information: For further information: Sam Hammond, President, ETFO, (416) 962-3836 (Office); Larry Skory, ETFO Communications, (416) 962-3836 (Office), (416) 948-0195 (Cell)

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Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

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