The Voice of Youth


About this course

In the course the Voice of Youth you learn about issues like the rights of young people, the social and political engagement of youth, and youth participation. Children grow up in a context and future that they have not created nor chosen themselves. As a result, it is not seldom that their rights are violated or their voice is not heard. Still, in most countries it is a right of young people to be heard in matters affecting them (article 12, UNCRC).

The course focuses on timely topics in our current societies that concern young people’s live and future, such as the decision making around climate change, family arrangements in situations of divorce, and provisions for refugee children. These topics touch upon youth’s position and role related to major societal issues both at the micro level, such as post-divorce family arrangements and schooling, and at macro level, such as migration, globalization and sustainability.

Students learn to understand youth agency, child participation and the rights of young people against the background of cognitive developmental stage theories that explain what youth are capable of, and theories dealing with dependency and autonomy during development that explain how youth’s sense of agency and participation can be promoted. You also learn to place these insight against the background of current societal developments such as the growing overprotection of youth and the inclination to increasingly regulate children’s lives in Western societies.

Presumed prior knowledge
Prerequisite knowledge for exchange students and students from other departments:

  • knowledge of different theoretical perspectives concerning child development and childrearing (in case you do not possess this knowledge, there is the possibility to read up on this topic in the first 2 weeks of the course);
  • experience with academic writing
  • able to find academic literature using search engines like Web of Science, PsycINFO or Google Scholar;
  • able to write an academic paper following APA (American Psychological Association) rules of style.

Learning outcomes

Upon finishing this course, you will have:

    1. Advanced knowledge and insight into the literature of the rights of young people, youth agency and youth participation in relation to the classic theories of pedagogy and changing societal contexts.
    1. Knowledge of societal issues in which agency and youth participation play a role in a comparative perspective, paying attention to different national contexts.
    1. The ability to apply theoretical insights into a practice related to the rights of young people, youth agency, youth participation (such as an intervention or a particular youth policy), and to advise stakeholders on this theme.

Link between purpose and contents
During the lectures you will be taught about the main conceptual issues related to the rights of young people, youth agency an youth participation. You will learn to link these to the classic theories of pedagogy. You will learn about dilemmas concerning youth participation in our societies, and how to position these against the background of different historical and cultural contexts. You will also learn to compare different national contexts.

Students are asked to read the course literature and write a short position paper in which they are asked to show their understanding of and own position in reaction to the lectures and the course literature.

In order to further process and apply the course literature to societal issues, as well as to practice related dilemma’s, interactive work groups will be organized in which students will discuss the literature and important societal challenges, and receive guidance for the group work. In the group work students are asked to describe and analyze one situation or intervention of their own choice in which youth participation is at stake, such as youth’s participation in the decision making on climate change policies, or youth’s role in the decision making on family arrangements after a divorce. The group will interview young people to capture their perspectives as part of the group assignment. Students will be asked to write an advise for stakeholders to propagate, support and implement the voice of youth as well as possible.
A presentation in the last interactive work group will serve to share, discuss and develop solutions for giving young people a voice which also takes into account their capabilities and place in society.

Required prior knowledge

You must meet the following requirements

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Utrecht University.


  • Start date

    3 February 2025

    • Ends
      18 April 2025
    • Term *
      Period 3
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      4 Nov, 09:00 - 22 Nov 2024
    Enrolment starts in 143 days
These offerings are valid for students of TU Eindhoven