One of the foundations of SelfDesign is the Declaration of Learner’s Rights and Responsibilities, which was written by a group of SelfDesign Virtual High learners — 6 young people between the ages of 15 and 17. The Declaration was presented at a Rights of the Child Conference in Victoria, BC and to the Minister of Education in June 1995. It was again presented to the UN Conference Habitat II in Istanbul Turkey in 1996.

As you read through this declaration, what is your first reaction? Do you believe that all learners, regardless of their age or stage, inherently have these rights? As you reflect upon your own education, were these rights granted to you? 

Declaration of Learner’s Rights and Responsibilities

1. As a learner I have the right to allow my own experience and enthusiasm to guide my learning.

2. As a learner I have the right to choose and direct the nature and conditions of my learning experience. As a learner I am responsible for the results I create.

3. As a learner I have the right to perfect the skills to be a conscious, self confident and resourceful individual.

4. As a learner I have the right to be held in respect. It is my responsibility to hold others in respect.

5. As a learner I have the right to a nurturing and supportive family and community. My family and community have the right and responsibility to be my primary resource.

6. As a learner I have the right and responsibility to enter into relationships based on mutual choice, collaborative effort, challenge and mutual gain.

7. As a learner I have the right to be exposed to a diverse array of ideas, experiences, environments, and possibilities. This exposure is the responsibility of myself, my parents and my mentors.

8. As a learner I have the right to evaluate my learning according to my own sensibilities. I have the right to request and the responsibility to include the evaluations of my mentors.

9. As a learner I have the right to co-create decisions that involve and concern me.

10. As a learner I have the right and responsibility to openly consider and respect the ideas of others, whether or not I accept these ideas.

11. As a learner I have the right to enter a learning organization which offers, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and physical support, and operates in an open and inclusive manner.

12. As a learner I have the right of equal access to resources, information and funding.