Justice, Children’s Rights, and Education

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Mehrdad Shahidi Michael Corbett


In this paper we draw a conceptual differentiation between justice on the one hand and ethical principles and rights on the other. To do this, we explore critically three methodological perspectives including a priori methodologies, a posteriori methodologies, and the context-based methodologies. Using the third methodological view, we argue that justice in child and youth mental health and educational settings is a culturally contextual phenomenon. Both psycho-developmental and cultural requirements of child and youth justice, we argued, portray the deficits of universalizing ethical principles or rights. The main axis of the current paper revolves around justice as a moral virtue that is best established through a cultural proficiency model. The cultural proficiency model was adapted and developed in the current paper as a hypothetical or ideal type to enhance social justice in child and youth mental health care and educational settings. To enhance the applicability of the model, equity pedagogy, adults’ involvement, and critical rational discussion (originated in critical rational philosophy) are taken up in this analysis. Focusing on justice as a moral virtue in the chain of other virtues, we also demonstrate that educational system should focus on educating morally self-regulated children.

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