When MCPs met with Scottish Government Directors in September, MCP Elisha raised the importance of considering equity, as well as equality, when thinking about children’s lives. She addressed this again when presenting at the Eurochild Conference in Opatija, Croatia, where she delivered an exercise to workshop participants.
We found Elisha’s explanation incredibly succinct and clear. So, here is how she spells it out. First, she passed out slips of paper to five people and then, one by one, asked them to read out what was written on them.
Person 1: I have a small cut on my arm.
Elisha: Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Here’s a plaster.
Person 2: I have a headache.
Elisha: I’m sorry – here’s a plaster.
Person 3: I broke my leg.
Elisha: Here’s a plaster
Person 4: I have a cold.
Elisha: Here’s a plaster.
Person 5: I was attacked by a shark!
Elisha: Oh! Have a plaster.
Once all the slips had been read out and everyone had received their plaster, Elisha asked, “So is everyone happy? You all got the same thing – that’s fair, right? No, it’s not because everyone needed something different, and the plaster only helped one person.”
Elisha feels this is particularly true in school – not all children have the same needs, and sometimes someone may need special help in order to participate and learn.
So, we agree. Equality is important, but equity is listening, responding accordingly, and putting the child at the centre.
Children’s Voices Manager, Children’s Parliament