Sunday, 26 May 2013

Rethinking Education

Library of the European Parliament posted a very helpful posting about EU Education Policy:
"In order to reduce the potential amount of information on a subject like “rethinking education” to a manageable size and to highlight the issues at stake, the Commission’s November ’12 Communication (Procedure 2013/2041 (INI)) has been analysed. Key points have been identified as well as the key documents that accompany the Communication."

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

The EU Citizenship Report 2013 is out!



In its 2013 EU Citizenship Report, the Commission is putting forward twelve new actions in six key areas to further remove obstacles standing in the way of citizens’ enjoyment of their EU right.

They contain 

  • * the need to remove obstacles for workers, students and trainees in the EU 
  • *  protecting the more vulnerable in the EU
  • * participating in the democratic life in the EU

The small publication is published in the framework of the European Year of Citizens 2013. Worth reading are besides the 3 chapters mentioned above the reports on the actions taken by the EU on recommendation from the 2010 EU citizens report. Among the 12 new key actions recommended in the new report there is particularly the recommendation to propose constructive ways to enable EU citizens living in another EU country to fully participate in the democratic life of the EU by maintaining their right to vote in the national elctions in their country of origin.

Again the report underlines the view of the EC following a rather narrow approach of citizenship which followas a clearly legal orientation of citizenship. 




MEMORANDUM TO THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE REGARDING THE SPANISH GOVERNMENT’S PROJECT TO REMOVE DEMOCRATIC CITIZENSHIP AND HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION IN SCHOOL CURRICULUM


DARE adheres the MEMORANDUM TO THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE REGARDING THE SPANISH GOVERNMENT’S PROJECT TO REMOVE DEMOCRATIC CITIZENSHIP AND HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION IN SCHOOL CURRICULUM  and recommends its member organizations to promote this case also in their national advocacy channels.


1. THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE PROMOTES CITIZENSHIP AND HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION
Since 1997 the Council of Europe has promoted and recommended the inclusion of Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights education programs in its educational policies.
The movement to support civic education initially began because of the need to correct the deterioration of, and dissatisfaction with, democratic practices in Europe.

Democracy, in its deepest sense, is considered a great achievement of civilization because it extends citizen’s civil, political, and social rights and these must be preserved to benefit all. Therefore, States have the duty to promote change in civic and political culture through education.

The Council of Europe has stressed this idea through numerous recommendations, conferences, and declarations which have been adopted by all of the democratic Spanish governments. Among these are the Recommendation Rec(2002)12 of the Committee of Ministers to Member States on Education for Democratic Citizenship and the Council of Europe Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education CM/Rec(2010)7 in which European Union countries are called upon to: “Make Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights a priority objective of educational policy and reforms – Rec(2002)12" and include "informal education programs in the levels of infant, primary and secondary well as in teaching and education and vocational – CM/Rec(2010)7 "

The meaning of this education is clearly defined:

Education for Democratic Citizenship' as a way to give students "the means to exercise and defend their democratic rights and responsibilities in society, to appreciate diversity and to play an active role in emocratic life, with in order to promote and protect democracy and the rule of law 'and' Human Rights Education 'as a way to "empower them to participate in the construction and defense of a universal culture of human rights
in society with promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms." CM/Rec(2010)7´
The European Union has also shown preoccupation for promoting democratic citizenship through education. Precisely, it was one of the educative directives in the 2010 Lisbon strategy: "Ensure that the school community is effectively promoting the learning of democratic values and democratic participation in order to prepare individuals for active citizenship"

2. EDUCATION FOR DEMOCRATIC CITIZENSHIP AND HUMAN RIGHTS HAS BEEN
INCORPORATED INTO ALL OF THE EUROPEAN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEMS, EACH TIME
GAINING MORE IMPORTANCE IN NATIONAL CURRICULA
Following the European recommendations, according to the latest report “Citizenship Education in Europe” published by The Eurydice Network in May 2012, the Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights has reached high levels in majority of European Union countries. The Eurydice Network report states: 1) Education for Citizenship is present in all education systems at all stages. 2) The European countries share a common vision of both the content and the objectives of Education for Citizenship.
Furthermore, human rights contents are included in the curricula of more than 20 European countries including Germany, Denmark, Holland, Portugal and France.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Report from the 6th Fundamental Rights Platform Meeting

About 200 civil society organisations from across the EU, came together in Vienna for the 6th Fundamental Rights Platform meeting on April 25-26. This annual meeting is organized by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights.

This year´s focus was non-discrimination and hate crime. On the first day, a panel debate explored how civil society organisations and other stakeholders can contribute to advancing anti-discrimination policies in the EU. On the second day, victim support organisations and other practitioners shared their experiences.

Click here to read the Harvesting Letter with detailed meeting reports.

Several DARE members contributed to the meeting:
Wolfgang Benedek and Barbara Schmiedl from ETC Graz (European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights and Democracy) hosted a workshop on the topic “Fighting racism and discrimination through human rights education”. They presented the human rights city concept – using the example of the Human Rights City of Graz - as a model for implementing and promoting human rights at the local level.

Click here to download the workshop presentation.


Kinga Göncz (Hungarian Member of the European Parliament; Vice-Chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, where she is serving as Rapporteur on the Rights and Citizenship Programme 2014–2020) delivered a keynote speech on the European Rights and Citizenship Programme and its opportunities for civil society (see picture above).

DARE board member Alena Elenka Begant (Center for Citizenship Education, Slovenia) used the opportunity to ask about the role and relevance of education for human rights and active citizenship. Mrs Göncz answered that education is key for active citizenship: “You don´t get active citizens without education”. Asked about the link between fostering employability and strengthening education for democratic citizenship (EDC), she answered that EDC provides important transversal skills which are crucial for gaining access to the labour market and for being successful on the labour market in the long run.


Picture above: DARE members Barbara Schmiedl (ETC Graz), Alena Elenka Begant (Center for Citizenship Education, Slovenia), and Anne Stalfort (Humanity in Action) at the Fundamental Rights Platform meeting.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

We Make Europe - Active Citizenship and Lifelong Learning


EUCIS-LLL - the European Platform of Civil society Organisations in Lifelonge Learning - has just published the second edition of its LLL-Mag on “We Make Europe, Active Citizenship and Lifelong Learning”.
This magazine captures some of the sparks of civic engagement and aims to contribute to the debates taking place in the context of the European Year of Citizens 2013. Its purpose is bringing together various perspectives and experiences in order to show the wealth and dynamism but also the limitations and pitfalls of what is active European citizenship nowadays.
The LLL- Mag contains various interviews, sums up reserach, introduces  practice examples from in and outside the classroom, introduces specific projects all targeting at European Citizenship.