Right Now’s August 2014 Issue, Education

By Right Now

Feature Essay

Alice Pung, Back To School.



Claire Feain, Emerging From the Cave.

Tim Robertson, Sentimental Education: How Literature Can Inform Human Rights

Marta Skrabracz, Rewriting Human Rights Education Through Social Media.

Henrietta de Crespigny, Education Is the Key, But To Whose Door?

Madolyn Smith, Can Prisoners Receive Quality Education Without Access To The Internet?


Interviews & Reviews

Hector Sharp, Friday Chat – Interview with Mike Smith.

Hector Sharp, Friday Chat – Interview with Steven Freeland.

Sam Ryan, Higher Education and Lower-End Journalism: Human Rights in the Media in August.


Education is often regarded as the vital ingredient for freedom and equality worldwide. The power education has to change lives and the repercussions of its accessibility make it a fundamental human right. In August, Right Now probed the intersection between education and human rights in Australia. Our writers explored not only the impact access to education has on marginalised individuals, but also the new ways in which human rights education is evolving globally in our technologically-dominated social and political landscape.

Alice Pung’s feature essay Back to School meditates on the role youth education plays in breaking the cyclical nature of poverty and disadvantage. Madolyn Smith questions the repercussions of limited access to the internet in correctional facilities. She argues that the preponderance of security concerns in prisons prevents inmates from accessing the internet and educating themselves in preparation for jobs and social reintegration upon their release.

Applying the implications of education access on a global scale, Henrietta de Crespigny reflects on the relevance of education in boosting international development. Crespigny says that donor countries and development agencies must continue to see education as the answer, as long as it meets the needs of each country.

Taking a more philosophical turn, Tim Robertson looks at how literature has the power to emotionally engage individuals and improve Australia’s human rights education system. Taking To Kill A Mockingbird as its genesis, this article examines the power literature has to turn statistics into people in our minds and foster empathy between seemingly divided individuals. Literature is the ideal place to begin an exploration into the complex issues of human rights.

Marta Skrabracz examines the way in which social media can also be seen as a tool for human rights education. She contends that social media offers a far more captivating model than traditional one-way news outlets through its capacity for interaction and dialogue.

Taking us back to the interaction between education and human rights on the local stage, Sam Ryan’s review of the current state of education rights in Australia draws attention to Christopher Pyne’s higher education reform package which is in breach of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. His piece highlights the problematic disjuncture between national and international law. As Ryan concludes, the breach of international norms is unlikely to prevent Pyne’s reforms from being enforced in a domestic context.