Child’s Voice, Child’s Right: Is Philosophy for Children in Africa the Answer?

Amasa Ndofirepi, Michael Cross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


In this concept paper, we explore the notion of the child’s right to be heard, starting in the classroom. The idea that children have unique needs has paved the way for the admission that children have a similar spectrum of rights as adults do. The notion that children are valued as citizens, and have significant contributions to make now and in the future is the foundation of the path to listening to children’s voices. There has been mounting interest in the importance of listening to children’s voices and their points of view. Notably, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child has informed conceptions of children as capable, competent and agentic. Giving the child a voice from early childhood is possible if opportunities and environments are availed them, particularly during their early school years. However, the majority of children around the world are yet to realise their right to be heard. We posit and defend the introduction of the Matthew Lipman-initiated Philosophy for Children (P4C) programme in schools as a fertile means of nurturing children’s right to have their voices heard. P4C is a critical thinking skills programme designed to contribute to the development of rational, open-minded deliberation among young children, as befits a democratic society. Our argument is that P4C’s community of philosophical inquiry as pedagogy is the best approach for the development of a critical, open-minded and right-bearing citizen, capable of living according to democratic principles in twenty first century Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-238
Number of pages14
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2015


  • Community
  • Critical thinking
  • Democracy
  • Individuality
  • Participation
  • Philosophising
  • Rights

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • General Social Sciences
  • Law


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