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Ethical guidelines

Ethical guidelines concerning international cooperation.

Approved of the Board June 2020.


These ethical guidelines derive from universal values such as respect, justice, loyalty, reliability, truthfulness, and compassion. As a higher education institution, Queen Maud University College of Early Childhood Education (QMUC) is responsible for ensuring that teaching, research and dissemination activities are carried out in accordance with the laws and regulations governing these. With a focus on early childhood education, we always work towards the best interest of the child.     
Background and purpose 
The guidelines specify ethical ground rules when being involved in international cooperation projects. We want to counteract abuse of power and ensure necessary follow-up procedures if abuse of power occurs. Poverty, conflict and persecution can make people vulnerable to abuse. By establishing these ethical guidelines, we want to address the responsibility and power related to managing funds.  

QMUC’s project partners and participants must familiarize themselves with these ethical guidelines.  
The core values of QMUC are: 

QMUC is challenging and innovative 

  • QMUC researches and promotes children’s needs and rights, nationally and internationally  
  • QMUC expects involvement, participation and collaboration to develop new competence and education of high quality
  • QMUC dares to think new and ask critical questions 

QMUC is diverse and inclusive 

  • QMUC provides an inclusive learning and working environment for students and staff, characterized by diversity and Christian basic values
  • QMUC is characterized by an open and engaged dialogue and reflection about worldview, pedagogical basic view, ethics and value questions.  

It is a prerequisite that projects act in accordance with the organization’s core values. Employees and students should contribute to a safe and inclusive work and study environment for everyone. 
Human rights 
QMUC shall show respect for human rights and students’ freedom when entering into and following up cooperation agreements with institutions in other countries. This means that the work should be carried out without discrimination of the basis of race, gender, social status, sexual orientation, disability, religious or political affiliation. In addition, the principle of academic freedom is important.

Children must be respected and treated in accordance with the United Nations convention of the child. As a person human being, a child is just as complete and valuable as an adult. S/he is entitled to the same rights and shall be treated with the same respect, as s/he is in a phase of life that is just as important to the individual and to the society as any other phase in a person’s life-course. 

Respect for host country’s laws, culture and religion 
When collaborating with partners in other countries, QMUC shall respect the host country’s laws, culture and religion, insofar as these are not in conflict with international human rights standards. All interaction with partners shall be based on cultural sensitivity and respect for local tradition.  

We aim at having low negative impact on the environment and avoid all forms of pollution (biological, chemical, noise, visual). QMUC shall encourage reuse and recycling measures. 
Bullying, racism, discrimination and harassment 
No forms of bullying, racism, discrimination and harassment are accepted at QMUC, including sexual harassment, abuse and exploitation. QMUC does require police clearance certificate from students and employees who will be in direct contact with children through practical training periods in connection with their studies and/or work.  

Employees and project participants who experience bullying, racism, discrimination or harassment are encouraged to notify the project manager and/or Prorector for R&D.  

QMUC’s guidelines for equality and diversity. (In Norwegian).   
QMUC has zero tolerance for corruption and other misuse of funds, i.e. to provide oneself, one’s organization or a third party an undue advantage, e.g. by giving or receiving gifts, travels, discounts, bonuses or other benefits that could potentially influence one’s own or the recipient’s actions in service.  

Drug policy 
Abuse of intoxicating substances in a job context is not accepted. Some partner countries may have more liberal rules than Norway when it comes to drug policy. It is expected that QMUC’s employees comply with Norwegian laws and rules in such cases.  

QMUC's Drug policy (in Norwegian).
Research ethics 
QMUC’s researchers have an independent responsibility for ensuring that research is carried out in accordance with good research practices and recognised scientific and ethical principles. Researchers are obliged to familiarize themselves with and perform their research in accordance with the recognised research ethical standards applicable to the field. 

When conducting research in early childhood education and care institutions QMUC uses child-friendly methods of seeking informed consent from the staff, the children and will obtain the required consent from the children’s guardians. 

QMUC will take careful measures to avoid placing research participants at risk by being sensitive to the specific challenges that arise in connection with researching children and involving children in research. Furthermore, QMUC will emphasise ethical responsibility in the presentation of individuals and their speech. 

QMUC’s guidelines for research ethics (In Norwegian).

Notification and appeals 
All employees have the right and duty to notify if they notice any violations of the ethical guidelines. Examination of such notifications should be undertaken as soon as possible. QMUC recommends that problems are solved at the lowest possible level and recommends that the first step is to talk to the relevant person/organ. 

Investigations will be executed professionally and confidentially. On the “Report problems and discrepancies – Speak up” page, the procedures for different issues are explained in detail. On this page one also finds relevant forms to be filled in.  

With regard to any whistleblower's anonymity: Reporting a problem cannot be anonymous, but the report will be handled confidentially.  

In international cooperation projects, the project manager is responsible for information and follow-up of the ethical guidelines. He/she is also responsible for the implementation of necessary measures if violations are detected.  

Consequences of violation 
Depending on the seriousness of the problem raised, the consequence can be a warning to the partner institution and/or a project participant. Other measures can be consideration of dismissal, termination, or exclusion. The consequence should be decided on without undue delay. The grant provider will be informed about the case and measures. If the seriousness of the case requires so, the case will be handled over to the police authorities.  

During the project period, QMUC provides follow-up and support to victims of e.g. sexual exploitation and other types of violation and prevent retaliations against persons who have notified the organisation of violations of the ethical guidelines.