Thursday, 31 October 2013

COE Commissioner Nils Muižnieks reports on Spanish EDC/HRE removal from curricula

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, released a report earlier this month expressing his concerns about the Spanish government’s move to abolish human rights and citizenship education. The report comes several months after a petition signed by 60 Spanish and European NGOs called upon the Council of Europe to take action against the Spanish government for their breach of commitment to deliver Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education within all levels of the Spanish education system.
Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education has been a controversial issue in Spain since it was incorporated in the education system in 2006 by the Education Act 2/2006 (LOE), following recommendations from the Council of Europe. Strong objections came from certain political and religious groups and resulted in the opponents of citizenship and human rights education presenting legal challenges against the programme. On 11 February 2009 the Supreme Court ruled that the Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education course was legal and legitimate.
Despite the legitimacy, constitutionality and legality of the Education Act of 2006 there have been moves within the Spanish government to eliminate Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education from primary, secondary and higher curricula. The conservative government of Mariano Rajoy, which took power following the November 2011 elections, presented a draft law in September 2012 to make changes to the content of the education programmes. The bill foresees the abolition of the teaching on topics including awareness-raising on children’s rights, gender equality, non-discrimination, combating racism, anti-Semitism and homophobia.
The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights distinguished the difference between austerity measures and political opposition as the reasons for removing citizenship and human rights education in his recent report. The Commissioner’s report notes that the amendments to human rights education “are not directly connected to austerity measures... the Commissioner found it important to discuss it with the Spanish authorities as he firmly believes that civic and human rights education is key to combating all forms of discrimination and intolerance and for developing generations of active and responsible citizens necessary in a democratic society.”
Spanish NGOs accuse the government of masking their attack on human rights education as part of the austerity measures and failing to respond to citizen protests and demonstrations.

source: COE

Monday, 21 October 2013

NECE Conference 2014: “The European Union and the Promise of Democracy: What can Citizenship Education and Civil Society contribute?, 14-16.11.2013, The Hague

NECE - Networking European Citizenship Education - Conference

Europe’s ongoing economic crisis has engendered a crisis of confidence in the European project and the costs and benefits of further European integration. The democratic deficit of the European Union has now become more and more visible and contributes to the backlash in support for the EU. It has also become very clear now that the economic crisis is dividing Europe and may ultimately lead to the break up of the EU.
 
Against this background this year´s NECE Conference will deal with resulting challenges for citizenship educators across Europe. With an eye to the elections to the European Parliament in May 2014, NECE 2013 will explore the topics of participation and democratisation and focus on the EU's democratic deficit for discussing possible consequences and the role for citizenship education. The conference in The Hague will offer opportunities for a critical debate on four levels:
 
1. Scenarios and outlines for the future of the EU
2. European civil society and the 'democratic deficit' of the European Union
3. Role of citizenship education in the European crisis
4. Practical approaches and projects of citizenship education
 
Opportunities to actively take part will be provided in numerous workshops, a world café and an open forum. Also, a project market for European models and good practice projects in citizenship education is offered. At the end of the conference, participants are invited to draw up a public ‘Conference Paper’ with recommendations on the topic of democratisation and participation in the EU.
 
Frans Timmermans, Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, the well-known Dutch publicist Paul Scheffer, professor of European Studies at Tilburg University and Lorenzo Marsili, executive director of European Alternatives have already confirmed their participation.
 
The current conference programme is attached. Conference language is English (without simultaneous translation).
There is no conference fee. The organisers do not cover travel and accommodation costs. Places are limited!
Register here: https://lcem.lab-concepts.de/registration/nece-conference-2013/en
 
We are looking forward to welcoming you in The Hague - hometown of our NECE partner ProDemos - House for Democracy and the Rule of Law and centre of governance in the Netherlands, as well as home to many institutions aimed at improving international justice and peace!
 
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the conference management at:
 
lab concepts GmbH
on behalf of the Federal Agency for Civic Education, Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 30 / 252 932 56
Fax: +49 (0)30 / 252 932 61
E-Mail: nece-thehague2013@lab-concepts.de 
Web: www.nece.e
u

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Report: Citizenship Education in England

Ofsted has just released a report on the state of citizenship education in England: Citizenship consolidated? A survey of citizenship in schools between 2009 and 2012:
This report evaluates the quality of citizenship education in primary and secondary schools. It is based on evidence from inspections of citizenship between September 2009 and July 2012 in 126 maintained schools in England, including four special schools. Inspectors observed 146 primary school lessons and 567 secondary school lessons, met with subject leaders and school leaders and interviewed just over 1,700 pupils and students.
Part A focuses on the strengths and weaknesses identified in the 32 primary schools and 94 secondary schools inspected during the survey.
Part B provides specific examples of good practice in teaching and learning in citizenship.

DARE BLUE Lines #2/2013 out now: Demanding Fundamental Rights

Documenting the experiences of a 2 years lasting European Learning Partnership the participating organizations compiled their experiences from the level of educational practice to a new issue of the DARE BLUE LINES!

Demanding Fundamental Rights: Law Related Education in Adult Learning

Law related education aims to improve the ability of adult learners to understand and apply elements of law that affect their everyday lives, as well as raising awareness of fundamental rights as core social and civic entitlements. Knowledge of rights and legal issues empower individuals and communities’ to participate in the democratic process, gain access to public services and demand their fundamental rights. Moreover, law-related education programmes have the potential to re-engage adults in life-long education and enables them to take more control over their lives and careers.

Recent European research in the field of Law-related education and wider access to justice issues has highlighted significant gaps in the ability of Europeans to understand their rights and the processes that are available to gain redress. Low-levels of knowledge, skills and confidence in dealing with law-related issues have a disproportionate impact in disadvantaged groups and can result in entrenched social exclusion and increased risk of rights violations and discrimination.

The learning partnership brings together seven European organisations to cooperate on the topic of ‘Demanding Fundamental Rights: Law Related Education in Adult Learning’. Over the life of the project they exchanged promising practices, identified key elements for success, and learned about tools and methodologies that could be used to support law-related education amongst groups of adult learners. Among the approaches we have shared are innovative low-threshold courses to improve access to justice, empowerment of victims of domestic violence, law-related simulations as educational tools, court observer schemes and creative outreach and dissemination strategies for migrants.

The issue is available for free download here

Friday, 11 October 2013

Report: Human Rights Education in Australia

Ever wondered what Human Rights Education "down under" looks like? Here's a new report:

Human Rights Education in Australian schools report (16 August 2013, download the report)
This study is the result of a collaborative effort between government and non-government organisations in all Australian states and territories involved in the important work of human rights protection and education. (...) This report documents the first national Australian investigation of the place of human rights education in the school curriculum of the new national curriculum and that of each state and territory, and the extent of current opportunities for teaching and learning about human rights. It has taken place at a time of an increased focus on human rights education, which is part of an effort led by the United Nations (UN) over the last two decades. Recently both the UN and the European Union (EU) have given strong support to human rights education. In 2010 the UN Human Rights Council, through its Advisory committee, produced a draft Declaration On Human Rights Education And Training and the General Assembly of United Nations adopted the declaration in December 2011. This means that access to human rights education and training is considered as a fundamental right and will apply to all levels and forms of education, from preschool to university. This report is one major step in the implementation of human rights education within out national school curriculum.