The United Nations has a convention on the rights of the child, which is a step forward for mankind, no doubt, but ignores the primary human right which I believe all humans should possess- the right to self-determination! That is, the right to choose one's own path, to the best of one's ability.
Because children are not seen as mature enough to make their own important life decisions adults are given that role. This is fair in the case of very small children but as the child grows and matures I think they should be given increasingly more autonomy and the freedom to make their own important life decisions. Unlike many people, I actually think that if children had greater control over their life there would be a better outcome, not only for them, but for society in general.
As it is today, children and youths are treated as babies until they reach their late teens when they are given some control over the direction of their life. The compulsory schooling system offers children and youths very little control over their life which results in a disconnect in many children and the building of resentment against their adult caregivers, and society in general, due to their lack of control. If they were given more command over their lives, and access to a broader range of interesting activities during their schooling years, then I believe young people would engage more deeply with life and contribute more richly to the culture in which we live. As it is, we encounter many problems with youth who find their considerable energies and talents largely wasted or stymied as they are forced to sit in classrooms and carry on with largely boring and irrelevant classes that have been foisted upon them.
See also: Teachers should not be prison jailers- children need choices, Enhancing the education system for all, and Schools not school.