Implementation of the Right to Children's Participation:The Case of Two Selected Public Primary Schools in Kampala District in Uganda
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The right to children’s participation in Uganda, recently got attention in 2008 when the Uganda National Child Participation Guide (UNCPG) was published. This resulted from Uganda ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), and the need to focus energies on the alignment of the implementation framework of Article 12 of the same Convention in Uganda. Article 12 of the convention is concerned with the right to children’s participation, typically put as the Right to be heard. With the publication of the UNCPG, it was hoped that there would be a smooth implementation of this right, as guidelines would solve the adhoc way of doing things, of no guidance and Standard Operating Procedures(SOPs), of fostering CP. This study was conducted in Kampala district in Uganda over a period of two and half months in two primary schools in the Central Division; Kitante Primary School and East Kololo Primary School. The study sought to find out the following; (a) How the Child Participation right is perceived by different actors involved in its implementation in the schools (b) What resources are needed for implementation of meaningful Child Participation in the schools (c) What and how the Schools’ characteristics affect the implementation of the Child Participation Right (d) How the behaviours of teachers affect the implementation of Child Participation in the schools (e) How socio-economic conditions affect the implementation of Child Participation right and (f) What are the likely ways of enhancing Child participation in the schools. The data was collected mainly through interviews with the MGLSD officials, Teachers, Schools’ Senior management members, Parents, and Children. Direct observation for some school activities like agriculture and debating activities in the clubs, and non-verbal communication was employed for all respondents. Besides, minutes of various meetings, schools’ development plans, school brochures, school rules and regulations handbooks among others were some of the documents analysed to support the study, anchored on a qualitative research approach. The data collected enabled an analysis that sought answers to the challenges facing the implementation of the right to children’s participation. The ladder of participation, a tool used to rank genuine and non-participation activities, was used as an analytical tool to back up the theoretical framework that employed two major implementation models, namely; the Winter’s Integrated and Van Meter and Van Horn implementation theories. A synthesis of both theories provided explanations to the factors that affect the implementation of the right to children’s participation, and explanations for the findings. The study of implementation of child participation based its analysis on the following theoretical elements: program goals and objectives, target group behaviour, social economic conditions, policy resources and organizational and inter-organizational behaviour. The study findings revealed that lack of clear implementation framework marred with ambiguities in implementation guidelines, inadequate financial and human resources, cultural norms, and beliefs regarding children are some of the barriers to implementation of CP. This is coupled with poor organizational and inter-organizational relations, opposition of child participation by some implementers in the schools and lack of enforcement mechanism by the government to enhance child participation. Given the above, the study therefore analyzed the findings in detail in the subsequent chapters, and the findings contribute to theory building of the two interactive models/theories employed in the study.