Teaching and Training

D.Phil. in Child Rights and Childhood Studies

Admission to the D.Phil. programme will be provisional. The duration of the programme shall normally be 3-5 years for full-time students as set out in the Graduate Studies Regulations. After six months and before 12 months of full or part-time study, each candidacy will be reviewed. Successfully completing the D.Phil. programme will be dependent on a candidate’s ability to design and execute a solid body of research in child rights and childhood studies.
Course Description
NHCR900 Provisional Year of Review/Provisional Registration (120 credits)

Admission to the D.Phil. programme will be provisional. Candidates will be required to demonstrate satisfactory progress during the period of provisional registration in order to continue with their research. Candidates will be expected to write a substantive research proposal, which shows evidence of the ability to conduct a detailed literature search and review, clear and specific research questions framed at the appropriate depth, coherent rationale for the research, and a firm grasp and application of methodological and ethical issues relevant to their research. Candidates will be required to give an oral presentation of the proposal to their Doctoral Committee as enshrined in the University Graduate Studies Regulations. All of these requirements must be met before admission to the D.Phil. programme is confirmed. It is expected that candidates will use this period to make decisions on the practical elements of their research in consultation with their Doctoral Committees. The Doctoral Committees will also use this period to assess the candidates’ ability to communicate clearly, both orally and in writing. If confirmation of admission is not granted, then either provisional admission may be approved for a further period equivalent to a semester or the candidate will be required to withdraw. If, after a period of extension, admission is not confirmed, the candidate will be required to withdraw or to register for an M. Phil. Degree in Child Rights and Childhood Studies. The candidate will carry their credits into the M. Phil. programme.

NHCR901 Doctoral Thesis (240 Credits)

Successfully completing the D.Phil. programme will be dependent on a candidate’s ability to produce a seminal piece of thorough, valid and original individual research. This is the doctoral thesis where a candidate is required to design and execute a solid body of research in child rights and childhood studies. In this course, candidates will be required to take a fresh approach to a subject of their choice within the broad scope of child rights and childhood studies. The fresh approach can be conceptual, theoretical or methodological. Candidates will be required to put a thesis together in order to be awarded a degree. Candidates will need to choose a specific topic instead of a broad subject. The research topic must be very specialized for D.Phil. candidates, and the candidates can expect to spend a lot of time building up general knowledge about the subject before moving to the in-depth research. The candidate will be expected to first formulate a few sentences (no more than three) that express their thesis. Deciding on a thesis requires a student to choose something that can be appropriately researched. The Doctoral Committee must agree that the statements form a valid thesis statement. The thesis must be significant, original (no one has yet demonstrated it to be true), and it must extend the state of scientific knowledge. The thesis will demonstrate a complex interlocking of primary and secondary data through its analyses, conclusions and recommendations.

Master of Science degree in Child Rights and Childhood Studies

The duration of the programme is two years. The programme has a total of eight courses taken in two semesters. The remaining two semesters will cover an internship and dissertation.

Semester 1

NHCR 511 Child Rights in the African Context 
NHCR 512 Advocacy, Public Policy and Child Rights 
NHCR513 Children and Agency in Africa 
NHCR 523 Sociology and Conceptions of Childhood in Africa 

 Semester 2

NHCR 521 Child Rights and Psychosocial Support 
NHCR 522 Parenting Skills and Child Rights 
NHCR 514 Child Rights Budget Analysis and Programming 
NHCR 524 Advanced Research Methods 

 Semester 3

NHCR 525 Internship  

Semester 4

NHCR 526 Dissertation

Course Synopses

NHCR 511 Child Rights in the African Context (18 Credits)

The course critically analyses the child rights concept on the back of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The course examines the manner in which the principles of the CRC are being implemented and reviewed in the African context. Students explore the challenges and progress that has been made in domesticating the UNCRC into laws and policies in Zimbabwe and selected African countries. Students also examine child protection processes, systems, and practices that have been developed in pursuance of UNCRC mandate. Challenges and opportunities for strengthening child protection systems in African countries in light of the domestication of the UNCRC are examined in the context of African values and norms. Contextual analysis on five main themes that focus on abuse of child rights will be done and these themes are child Labour; children in contact with the law; children with disabilities; sexual exploitation and violence against children.

NHCR 512 Advocacy, Public Policy and Child Rights (18 Credits)

The course focuses on the formulation and implementation of public policies that affect children in Africa. The impact of the policies on children’s wellbeing are critically analyzed with a view to developing innovative processes or mechanisms aimed at improving the formulation and implementation of the policies. The role of Government, law makers, the media, civil society and international organizations in the public policy discourse are critically examined. Focus of analysis is also on the opportunities and barriers on the participation of children in the public policy debate. Students are expected to interrogate the different levels and approaches to child advocacy i. e. research, policy analysis, lobbying and communication.  

NHCR 513 Children and Agency in Africa (18 Credits)

The course explores issues of child agency, participation, leadership and the practice of child rights in practical social, political, legal and economic situations. The course is rooted in the principle that children’s participation is a key component of the child rights-based approach, and that meaningful child participation leads to the development and implementation of more effective programmes and policies, that increase the realisation of children’s rights. The course  also critically explores the concept of leadership and agency displayed by children in different contexts, e. g children heading households and children in politics. The different strategies that enhance children’s leadership and participation on issues affecting them at different levels (families, schools, communities, local and national governance and policy development) in Africa and beyond are analysed. Barriers or opportunities to effective children’s participation are explored based on specific case studies drawn largely from Africa. The course examines theories of children’s agency and resilience as they relate to child rights. 

NHCR 514 Child Rights Budget Analysis and Programming (18 Credits)

The course examines the child rights-based approach as a conceptual framework for budget analysis and programming informed by the approach. The course is premised on the understanding that programming to improve the realisation of child rights should be based on an analysis of the existing situation of their rights. The barriers, obstacles and opportunities in the way of children realising their rights and the roles played by different key stakeholders are explored. The course focuses on project and programme development from a child rights perspective with special attention to budgetary processes in terms of resources allocated towards programmes that enhance the situation of children. Students will develop critical skills in applying the principles of children’s right to be heard, non-discrimination and best interests, as well as accountability to the various phases of project planning, development and implementation. Students also will learn about the monitoring and evaluation cycle, tool development and methodologies for carrying out the monitoring and evaluation exercise that takes child participation into consideration.

NHCR 521 Child Rights and Psychosocial support (18 Credits)

The course explores concepts in child rights-based approaches to providing psychosocial support to children facing different levels/contexts of vulnerability. The course explores the relationship between the fulfillment of child rights and the provision of psychosocial support. Students will deepen their understanding of psychosocial activities that respect the child’s dignity and culture. The course also examines child-focused social policy through an analysis of policy theory, development, practice and outcomes.  Students explore the domains of social policy practice in a variety of settings including government departments, faith-based organisations and non-governmental organisations and through particular examples such as mother and child health policies, and poverty alleviation programmes. 

NHCR 522 Parenting Skills and Child Rights (18 Credits)

The course examines different parenting theories/orientations and how they relate to parenting from an African perspective. The implication of parenting skills and approaches in Africa are discussed in relation to the perceptions and conceptions of child rights in Africa. Different parenting styles in selected African countries are discussed to provide context to the analysis done in the course. The course explores the common African values and practices that enhance good parenting through an analysis of outcomes of good parenting. Conversely, the course examines values and practices that mitigate the effects of bad parenting from an African perspective. The purpose and relevance of the extended family system, folktales and puberty rites of passage as they relate to child rights from an African perspective are critically analyzed.     

NHCR 523 Sociology and Conceptions of Childhood in Africa (18 Credits)

The course uses the sociological perspective to explore the meanings of childhood and how these meanings change over time, place, and social context. Students examine the different ways childhoods are experienced in different parts of Africa and how the definition of what a child is affects the resources, rewards or sanctions available to the one so defined. The course focuses on the interface between child rights and the social constructions of childhood from an African perspective. The course also unpacks the different ways in which children are socialized by adults and how children themselves shape their own experiences. Students explore ways in which children’s lives have been shaped by the  broader systems of inequality and how public policies shaping children and adolescents’ lives are formulated. Different specific policies are examined to demonstrate how they sometimes serve to replicate various inequalities. 

NHCR 524 Advanced Research Methods (18 Credits)

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NHCR 525 Internship (36 Credits)

Students will go on internship for a period of 3 months in an organisation that deals with child rights or children’s issues. Students will be away from campus and required to work under supervision in an appropriate organisation, providing services to the host organisation and, where applicable, collecting data for their individual research.  Students are expected to initiate and organise their own places of attachment in appropriate organisations.  They should expect to offer suitable service to such organisations in return for the invaluable opportunity of observing and participating in the work and life of such organisations.  

NHCR 526 Dissertation (18 Credits)

Students will carry out research on areas relevant to child rights and childhood studies. Students will work closely with their assigned supervisors in the process. Students will be primarily engaged with analysing their research materials and writing up their dissertations.  Students are expected to work closely with their assigned faculty advisors.

Career Jobs and Opportunities

Upon completion of the programme graduates will be equipped to undertake employment in a variety of sectors including many governmental and non-governmental organisations offering child protection and family support services.

Graduates from this programme may have the opportunity to work in fields such as research, social welfare, education, child protection and advocacy services, media, religion, public and private sector.

Child Rights Undergraduate Courses

The CRRC also does service teaching to sister Departments in the College of Social Sciences, Theology, Humanities and Education. Modules available to any undergraduate students in the Social Sciences, Education, Humanities and Theology are:

  1. Child Rights in Context
  2. Social Work and the Law

Short Courses

The CRRC offers customised short courses spanning but not limited to the following:

  • Child Participation and Agency in Africa
  • Child Rights in the African Context
  • Research Methods in Child Rights and Childhood Studies
  • Guidelines to Child Rights Programming and Budgetary Analysis
  • Child Rights Advocacy and Public Policy in Africa
  • Ethics in Child Rights Research
  • Child Protection and Social Norms in Africa
  • Child Protection, Poverty and Rights
  • Violence against children and parenting orientations
  • Researching children with disabilities
  • Practical steps to Child Participation in Africa

The duration of the short courses varies between 1-4 weeks, depending on the needs of the trainees.