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WHAT DOES CHILD
EMPOWERMENT MEAN TODAY?
Child empowerment is high on policy agendas
• The nature of modern
childhood is changing:
Children are increasingly seen
as competent social actors
• Research suggests meaningful
participation of children can
contribute to better outcomes
Empowered children have the opportunity and ability to act on issues important
and relevant to them, can learn by making mistakes, and are key contributors to
democracy.
3
What does child empowerment mean today? A working definition
Equity
Age and
maturity
Adults’
roles
Choice &
willingness
Importance &
relevance
Child
rights
4
Perspectives on empowerment
What does
child
empowerment
mean to you in
your context?
Student: We must avoid decoration,
confront manipulation and make
participation accessible. The impact
of “one good adult” should not be
underestimated, and the challenge
of being the only young person in
the room overcome.
Teacher: Students must be
exposed to real-world challenges,
helping them develop cognitive,
ethical, social, emotional, and
intercultural skills to construct their
solutions.
Policy: Maintaining equity in a
context of ‘wicked’ policy problems
requires collaboration and
innovative partnerships, including
with children and young people
themselves.
Private sector: Children should be
empowered to become creative,
engaged and lifelong learners,
equipped with the curiosity, creativity
and motivation to learn. Changing
mindsets, pedagogies and
assessments is key.
Research: Successful solutions
require the people who will be
directly affected to be part of the
process of creating it. A shift from
research for youth toward research
with youth offers a great opportunity
for empowerment.
Key themes and topics
Children are no
longer seen as
future citizens
but citizens of
today.
Their civic and
citizenship
skills/knowledge
can grow with
learning
opportunities
and inclusion in
decision making
processes.
Certain trends
in child well-
being were
exacerbated by
the COVID-19
pandemic.
Well-being
underpins child
empowerment.
Interventions
tend to require
significant time
and resources.
Critical media
engagement can
help children
develop a sense
of purpose and
prosocial
behaviour.
Media education
can be one where
children
contribute with
their own lived
experiences.
Digital inequalities
are pervasive and
risk undermining
empowerment.
Provision of digital
services, learning
opportunities, and
support for risk
management can
help all children
reap the benefits
of the digital
world.
Citizens of today COVID-19 and
well-being
Media
engagement
Digital
inequalities
Key themes and topics
Children are no
longer seen as
future citizens
but citizens of
today.
Their civic and
citizenship
skills/knowledge
can grow with
learning
opportunities
and inclusion in
decision making
processes.
Certain trends
in child well-
being were
exacerbated by
the COVID-19
pandemic.
Well-being
underpins child
empowerment.
Interventions
tend to require
significant time
and resources.
Critical media
engagement can
help children
develop a sense
of purpose and
prosocial
behaviour.
Media education
can be one where
children
contribute with
their own lived
experiences.
Digital inequalities
are pervasive and
risk undermining
empowerment.
Provision of digital
services, learning
opportunities, and
support for risk
management can
help all children
reap the benefits
of the digital
world.
Citizens of today COVID-19 and
well-being
Media
engagement
Digital
inequalities
Citizens of today: A rationale for child participation
Children
enjoy it
Upholding
child rights
Policy and
societal
benefits
Benefits for
student well-
being
Children like participating, and
tend to be eager and
enthusiastic to participate in
decision making.
Research suggests children
want to have a greater say on
decisions that affect them
UNCRC outlines children’s
“participation rights”, including
Article 12 “the right to be heard
on matters affecting them”.
The weight given to their views
will vary based on factors such
as age and maturity.
Participation can reinforce civic
behaviours in children,
supporting future political
engagement.
It can also promote social
cohesion, and contribute to
policy outcomes that are
tailored to children’s needs.
Participation can promote a
sense of belonging in learners,
and develop their self-esteem. It
also positively contributes to
school climate.
Authentic forms of participation
have been positively related to
student well-being.
Citizens of today: Examples of child participation in OECD
education systems
Whole-
school
approaches
• Stakeholders, including students, are involved in the school
community to work towards a common goal
• WSAs have been effective in promoting outcomes like improved
well-being and reductions in early school leaving
• Students can be involved from conceptualisation to implementation
• Community members contribute to decisions on how to
spend a particular budget
• Involving students in these decisions can make budgets more
responsive to student needs and can help increase their
ownership, transparency and accountability
Participatory
budgeting
• Student councils or unions can be found at the school level, or
(sub)national level
• In some countries student bodies are a legal requirement
• Student council participation in school reform can contribute to
success, and can improve school climate
Student
councils
Key themes and topics
Children are no
longer seen as
future citizens
but citizens of
today.
Their civic and
citizenship
skills/knowledge
can grow with
learning
opportunities
and inclusion in
decision making
processes.
Certain trends
in child well-
being were
exacerbated by
the COVID-19
pandemic.
Well-being
underpins child
empowerment.
Interventions
tend to require
significant time
and resources.
Critical media
engagement can
help children
develop a sense
of purpose and
prosocial
behaviour.
Media education
can be one where
children
contribute with
their own lived
experiences.
Digital inequalities
are pervasive and
risk undermining
empowerment.
Provision of digital
services, learning
opportunities, and
support for risk
management can
help all children
reap the benefits
of the digital
world.
Citizens of today COVID-19 and
well-being
Media
engagement
Digital
inequalities
Time spent on digital devices at school and mathematics performance
Based on students' reports; OECD average
Figure II.5.14
420
430
440
450
460
470
480
490
500
None Up to 1 hour More than 1 hour and
up to 2 hours
More than 2 hours
and up to 3 hours
More than 3 hours
and up to 5 hours
More than 5 hours
and up to 7 hours
More than 7 hours
Mean
score
in
mathematics
Time spent on digital devices at school per day
Technology used for learning in school
Technology used for leisure at school
Feeling nervous/anxious when digital devices are not near
Based on students' reports
Figure II.5.16
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Costa
Rica
Netherlands*
Colombia
El
Salvador
Peru
Panama*
Slovenia
Portugal
Mexico
France
Ireland*
Spain
Dominican
Republic
Hungary
Kosovo
Uruguay
Japan
Belgium
Switzerland
Argentina
New
Zealand*
Montenegro
Croatia
Albania
North
Macedonia
Iceland
Estonia
Mongolia
Italy
Morocco
Kazakhstan
United
Kingdom*
OECD
average
Australia*
Serbia
Czech
Republic
Norway
Denmark*
Sweden
Chinese
Taipei
Chile
Germany
Canada*
Lithuania
Uzbekistan
Moldova
Korea
Bulgaria
Finland
Saudi
Arabia
Austria
Singapore
Brazil
Georgia
Palestinian
Authority
Romania
Ukrainian
regions
(18
of
27)
Qatar
Slovak
Republic
Jamaica*
Latvia*
Poland
Jordan
United
Arab
Emirates
Indonesia
Israel
Baku
(Azerbaijan)
Greece
Philippines
Hong
Kong
(China)*
Malta
Thailand
Brunei
Darussalam
Macao
(China)
Malaysia
Türkiye
Never or almost never Less than half of the time About half of the time or more than half of the time All or almost all of the time Not applicable
%
Outcomes of feeling nervous/anxious when digital devices are not near
Based on students' reports; OECD average
Figure II.5.17
-10
-9
-8
-7
-6
-5
-4
-3
-2
-1
0
Mathematics performance
Score-point
difference
-1.0
-0.9
-0.8
-0.7
-0.6
-0.5
-0.4
-0.3
-0.2
-0.1
0.0
Life satisfaction Emotional control Stress resistance
Before accounting for students' and schools' socio-economic profile¹ After accounting for students' and schools' socio-economic profile
Index-point
difference
• “Who?”, “what?” and “how?” are more
important than “how long” when it comes to
the effects of media on children.
• The digital environment and school are two
key spaces where identity formation unfolds
for children.
• Media education which brings in their lived
experiences of this journey can empower
children.
Children’s media engagement: Outcomes, identity and experiences
Children’s media engagement: Teachers are key supporting actors
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
Algorithms
Health literacy
Digital citizenship
Media literacy
Digital literacy
Digital risks
Social and emotional skills
Continuing Professional Development Initial Teacher Education
Key themes and topics
Children are no
longer seen as
future citizens
but citizens of
today.
Their civic and
citizenship
skills/knowledge
can grow with
learning
opportunities
and inclusion in
decision making
processes.
Certain trends
in child well-
being were
exacerbated by
the COVID-19
pandemic.
Well-being
underpins child
empowerment.
Interventions
tend to require
significant time
and resources.
Critical media
engagement can
help children
develop a sense
of purpose and
prosocial
behaviour.
Media education
can be one where
children
contribute with
their own lived
experiences.
Digital inequalities
are pervasive and
risk undermining
empowerment.
Provision of digital
services, learning
opportunities, and
support for risk
management can
help all children
reap the benefits
of the digital
world.
Citizens of today COVID-19 and
well-being
Media
engagement
Digital
inequalities
Digital inequalities: These are consistently high pressing policy challenges
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
Inequalities in access and tools
Digital citizenship
Inequalities in digital skills/uses
Exposure to dis and misinformation
Cyberbullying
Number of systems
Pressing challenge Challenge
Minimising access gaps and promoting digital skills for all students
ꟷ Programmes to increase quality and quantity of available digital resources, including
devices and access to broadband, both in school and at home
ꟷ Special focus on advanced digital tools such as AI availability, to ensure no students
are left behind
ꟷ Promoting digital skill development in students and teachers through curricular
approaches, teacher educatiaaon and extracurricular activities
ꟷ National digital skills strategies and action plans often include children
Digital inequalities: Policy goals for an equitable, empowered future
Recognising digital risks and how they manifest
ꟷ Pressing digital risks include cyberbullying and exposure to mis and disinformation
ꟷ These risks manifest differently for different student groups depending on factors such
as age, gender, special education needs etc.
ꟷ Programmes are often general, and do not target students who are particularly at-risk
ꟷ Targeted programmes can support those most in need of assistance
Key themes and topics
Children are no
longer seen as
future citizens
but citizens of
today.
Their civic and
citizenship
skills/knowledge
can grow with
learning
opportunities
and inclusion in
decision making
processes.
Certain trends
in child well-
being were
exacerbated by
the COVID-19
pandemic.
Well-being
underpins child
empowerment.
Interventions
tend to require
significant time
and resources.
Critical media
engagement can
help children
develop a sense
of purpose and
prosocial
behaviour.
Media education
can be one where
children
contribute with
their own lived
experiences.
Digital inequalities
are pervasive and
risk undermining
empowerment.
Provision of digital
services, learning
opportunities, and
support for risk
management can
help all children
reap the benefits
of the digital
world.
Citizens of today COVID-19 and
well-being
Media
engagement
Digital
inequalities
Thank you!
For more information see:
http://www.oecd.org/education/ceri/21st-century-children.htm

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Andreas Schleicher presents at the launch of What does child empowerment mean today Implications for education and well-being on the 15 May 2024

  • 2. Child empowerment is high on policy agendas • The nature of modern childhood is changing: Children are increasingly seen as competent social actors • Research suggests meaningful participation of children can contribute to better outcomes
  • 3. Empowered children have the opportunity and ability to act on issues important and relevant to them, can learn by making mistakes, and are key contributors to democracy. 3 What does child empowerment mean today? A working definition Equity Age and maturity Adults’ roles Choice & willingness Importance & relevance Child rights
  • 4. 4 Perspectives on empowerment What does child empowerment mean to you in your context? Student: We must avoid decoration, confront manipulation and make participation accessible. The impact of “one good adult” should not be underestimated, and the challenge of being the only young person in the room overcome. Teacher: Students must be exposed to real-world challenges, helping them develop cognitive, ethical, social, emotional, and intercultural skills to construct their solutions. Policy: Maintaining equity in a context of ‘wicked’ policy problems requires collaboration and innovative partnerships, including with children and young people themselves. Private sector: Children should be empowered to become creative, engaged and lifelong learners, equipped with the curiosity, creativity and motivation to learn. Changing mindsets, pedagogies and assessments is key. Research: Successful solutions require the people who will be directly affected to be part of the process of creating it. A shift from research for youth toward research with youth offers a great opportunity for empowerment.
  • 5. Key themes and topics Children are no longer seen as future citizens but citizens of today. Their civic and citizenship skills/knowledge can grow with learning opportunities and inclusion in decision making processes. Certain trends in child well- being were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Well-being underpins child empowerment. Interventions tend to require significant time and resources. Critical media engagement can help children develop a sense of purpose and prosocial behaviour. Media education can be one where children contribute with their own lived experiences. Digital inequalities are pervasive and risk undermining empowerment. Provision of digital services, learning opportunities, and support for risk management can help all children reap the benefits of the digital world. Citizens of today COVID-19 and well-being Media engagement Digital inequalities
  • 6. Key themes and topics Children are no longer seen as future citizens but citizens of today. Their civic and citizenship skills/knowledge can grow with learning opportunities and inclusion in decision making processes. Certain trends in child well- being were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Well-being underpins child empowerment. Interventions tend to require significant time and resources. Critical media engagement can help children develop a sense of purpose and prosocial behaviour. Media education can be one where children contribute with their own lived experiences. Digital inequalities are pervasive and risk undermining empowerment. Provision of digital services, learning opportunities, and support for risk management can help all children reap the benefits of the digital world. Citizens of today COVID-19 and well-being Media engagement Digital inequalities
  • 7. Citizens of today: A rationale for child participation Children enjoy it Upholding child rights Policy and societal benefits Benefits for student well- being Children like participating, and tend to be eager and enthusiastic to participate in decision making. Research suggests children want to have a greater say on decisions that affect them UNCRC outlines children’s “participation rights”, including Article 12 “the right to be heard on matters affecting them”. The weight given to their views will vary based on factors such as age and maturity. Participation can reinforce civic behaviours in children, supporting future political engagement. It can also promote social cohesion, and contribute to policy outcomes that are tailored to children’s needs. Participation can promote a sense of belonging in learners, and develop their self-esteem. It also positively contributes to school climate. Authentic forms of participation have been positively related to student well-being.
  • 8. Citizens of today: Examples of child participation in OECD education systems Whole- school approaches • Stakeholders, including students, are involved in the school community to work towards a common goal • WSAs have been effective in promoting outcomes like improved well-being and reductions in early school leaving • Students can be involved from conceptualisation to implementation • Community members contribute to decisions on how to spend a particular budget • Involving students in these decisions can make budgets more responsive to student needs and can help increase their ownership, transparency and accountability Participatory budgeting • Student councils or unions can be found at the school level, or (sub)national level • In some countries student bodies are a legal requirement • Student council participation in school reform can contribute to success, and can improve school climate Student councils
  • 9. Key themes and topics Children are no longer seen as future citizens but citizens of today. Their civic and citizenship skills/knowledge can grow with learning opportunities and inclusion in decision making processes. Certain trends in child well- being were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Well-being underpins child empowerment. Interventions tend to require significant time and resources. Critical media engagement can help children develop a sense of purpose and prosocial behaviour. Media education can be one where children contribute with their own lived experiences. Digital inequalities are pervasive and risk undermining empowerment. Provision of digital services, learning opportunities, and support for risk management can help all children reap the benefits of the digital world. Citizens of today COVID-19 and well-being Media engagement Digital inequalities
  • 10. Time spent on digital devices at school and mathematics performance Based on students' reports; OECD average Figure II.5.14 420 430 440 450 460 470 480 490 500 None Up to 1 hour More than 1 hour and up to 2 hours More than 2 hours and up to 3 hours More than 3 hours and up to 5 hours More than 5 hours and up to 7 hours More than 7 hours Mean score in mathematics Time spent on digital devices at school per day Technology used for learning in school Technology used for leisure at school
  • 11. Feeling nervous/anxious when digital devices are not near Based on students' reports Figure II.5.16 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Costa Rica Netherlands* Colombia El Salvador Peru Panama* Slovenia Portugal Mexico France Ireland* Spain Dominican Republic Hungary Kosovo Uruguay Japan Belgium Switzerland Argentina New Zealand* Montenegro Croatia Albania North Macedonia Iceland Estonia Mongolia Italy Morocco Kazakhstan United Kingdom* OECD average Australia* Serbia Czech Republic Norway Denmark* Sweden Chinese Taipei Chile Germany Canada* Lithuania Uzbekistan Moldova Korea Bulgaria Finland Saudi Arabia Austria Singapore Brazil Georgia Palestinian Authority Romania Ukrainian regions (18 of 27) Qatar Slovak Republic Jamaica* Latvia* Poland Jordan United Arab Emirates Indonesia Israel Baku (Azerbaijan) Greece Philippines Hong Kong (China)* Malta Thailand Brunei Darussalam Macao (China) Malaysia Türkiye Never or almost never Less than half of the time About half of the time or more than half of the time All or almost all of the time Not applicable %
  • 12. Outcomes of feeling nervous/anxious when digital devices are not near Based on students' reports; OECD average Figure II.5.17 -10 -9 -8 -7 -6 -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 Mathematics performance Score-point difference -1.0 -0.9 -0.8 -0.7 -0.6 -0.5 -0.4 -0.3 -0.2 -0.1 0.0 Life satisfaction Emotional control Stress resistance Before accounting for students' and schools' socio-economic profile¹ After accounting for students' and schools' socio-economic profile Index-point difference
  • 13. • “Who?”, “what?” and “how?” are more important than “how long” when it comes to the effects of media on children. • The digital environment and school are two key spaces where identity formation unfolds for children. • Media education which brings in their lived experiences of this journey can empower children. Children’s media engagement: Outcomes, identity and experiences
  • 14. Children’s media engagement: Teachers are key supporting actors 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 Algorithms Health literacy Digital citizenship Media literacy Digital literacy Digital risks Social and emotional skills Continuing Professional Development Initial Teacher Education
  • 15. Key themes and topics Children are no longer seen as future citizens but citizens of today. Their civic and citizenship skills/knowledge can grow with learning opportunities and inclusion in decision making processes. Certain trends in child well- being were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Well-being underpins child empowerment. Interventions tend to require significant time and resources. Critical media engagement can help children develop a sense of purpose and prosocial behaviour. Media education can be one where children contribute with their own lived experiences. Digital inequalities are pervasive and risk undermining empowerment. Provision of digital services, learning opportunities, and support for risk management can help all children reap the benefits of the digital world. Citizens of today COVID-19 and well-being Media engagement Digital inequalities
  • 16. Digital inequalities: These are consistently high pressing policy challenges 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 Inequalities in access and tools Digital citizenship Inequalities in digital skills/uses Exposure to dis and misinformation Cyberbullying Number of systems Pressing challenge Challenge
  • 17. Minimising access gaps and promoting digital skills for all students ꟷ Programmes to increase quality and quantity of available digital resources, including devices and access to broadband, both in school and at home ꟷ Special focus on advanced digital tools such as AI availability, to ensure no students are left behind ꟷ Promoting digital skill development in students and teachers through curricular approaches, teacher educatiaaon and extracurricular activities ꟷ National digital skills strategies and action plans often include children Digital inequalities: Policy goals for an equitable, empowered future Recognising digital risks and how they manifest ꟷ Pressing digital risks include cyberbullying and exposure to mis and disinformation ꟷ These risks manifest differently for different student groups depending on factors such as age, gender, special education needs etc. ꟷ Programmes are often general, and do not target students who are particularly at-risk ꟷ Targeted programmes can support those most in need of assistance
  • 18. Key themes and topics Children are no longer seen as future citizens but citizens of today. Their civic and citizenship skills/knowledge can grow with learning opportunities and inclusion in decision making processes. Certain trends in child well- being were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Well-being underpins child empowerment. Interventions tend to require significant time and resources. Critical media engagement can help children develop a sense of purpose and prosocial behaviour. Media education can be one where children contribute with their own lived experiences. Digital inequalities are pervasive and risk undermining empowerment. Provision of digital services, learning opportunities, and support for risk management can help all children reap the benefits of the digital world. Citizens of today COVID-19 and well-being Media engagement Digital inequalities
  • 19. Thank you! For more information see: http://www.oecd.org/education/ceri/21st-century-children.htm