Children’s right to freely express their opinion in education is very rare, and it is critical for
schools to realise it. Although at times they are consulted about their difficulties, children are
seldom asked to participate in the development of programmes that affect their lives. The aim
of this conceptual article is therefore twofold: (1) to explore the extent to which schools
recognise children as rights holders and protect their right to freedom of expression in
educational matters, and (2) to determine the implications of the previous findings in children’s
right to freedom of expression in their education. Literature on children’s participation in
education was reviewed. Legislations and policies on the right to freedom of expression were
also analysed. The study revealed that regardless of their legitimate position in education and
positive outcomes from engaging children as stakeholders in education, schools resist change.
A significant finding of the study was that learners’ engagement in school affairs deepens
democracy, and hence school improvement. Hart’s ‘Ladder of Participation’ on involvement of
children in school matters is therefore recommended.