Thursday, 19 December 2013

DARE joins HRE 2020 global coalition

DARE today joined a new international coalition that intends to strengthen human rights education. HRE 2020 wants to hold governments accountable for international obligations and commitments they have while at the same time strengthening civil society's capacity to monitor these commitments.
HRE 2002 is an initiative of DARE member HREA, Amnesty International, and Soka Gakkai International.


HRE 2020

Global coalition will monitor progress in implementation of human rights education

For immediate release
19 December 2013

HREA, Amnesty International, Soka Gakkai International and nine other organisations today launched “Human Rights Education 2020”. HRE 2020 is a global coalition of civil society organisations that aims to promote human rights education by supporting and strengthening the implementation of existing international standards and commitments.

HRE 2020 is launched on the second anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training by the United Nations General Assembly on 19 December 2011. This landmark document recognises the right of every person to have access to human rights education.

“With the UN Declaration and the World Programme for Human Rights Education there exist clear standards and commitments for human rights education. HRE 2020 aims to systematically monitor these standards and commitments in order to ensure effective implementation”, says Adele Poskitt, Program Associate at HREA and coordinator of HRE 2020. “We call for greater accountability by governments because a comprehensive education in, through and for human rights provides knowledge, imparts skills and empowers individuals to promote, defend and apply human rights in daily life.”

“One of the aims of HRE 2020 is to support and strengthen the capacity of civil society to use international human rights mechanisms, instruments, standards and policies to hold governments accountable”, adds Sneh Aurora, International Human Rights Education Manager at Amnesty International.

“HRE 2020 is a growing global coalition and we look forward to working together to ensure the implementation of human rights education”, affirms Kazunari Fujii, Director, Soka Gakkai International UN Liaison Office in Geneva.

The growing global coalition works with organisations internationally. The current coalition members of HRE 2020 are: Amnesty International, Arab Institute of Human Rights, Democracy and Human Rights Education in Europe (DARE Network), Forum Asia, Human Rights Education Associates (HREA), Human Rights Educators USA (HRE USA), Hurights Osaka, Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC), Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA), People’s Watch, Peruvian Institute for Human Rights and Peace (IPEDEHP), Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, and Soka Gakkai International.

For further information about HRE 2020, please visit

Friday, 13 December 2013

New Report: Citizen Schools

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), a UK think tank, published the report: "Citizen Schools: Learning to rebuild democracy". According to IPPR, "a 'Citizen School' is a school that explicitly creates a democratic culture through its role as a civic institution." The report can be downloaded on this website, which also contains the following summary:

Based on new primary research, this report investigates the relationships between a school, students as 'active citizens', their communities and efforts to renew the democratic instinct.
Over 80 in-depth interviews were carried out with students, members of the senior leadership team, teachers, governors, parents and community leaders across these four schools:
Although each is successful in different ways, the report finds that these schools share certain features:
  • Ensuring citizenship was an integral element of the school’s purpose: Citizenship, in some form, has been identified as crucial to the school’s vision and therefore success.
  • Creating a democratic and participative culture of citizenship: Processes of internal democracy have evolved whereby young people, teachers and community members participate in the life of the school.
  • Enabling learning through action: Citizenship has been taken beyond the classroom to achieve tangible changes in the community.
  • Connecting citizenship education to the school’s improvement strategy and work to raise overall educational standards: High-quality citizenship education supports a culture of raising standards.
As a result, it makes the following recommendations for maximising the potential of Citizen Schools.
  • Headteachers and their governing bodies should be supported to become engaged with the idea of Citizen Schools and to organise their own Citizen School development plans based on the principles and key features of best practice
  • Regional and area-based curriculums should be updated to include relevant active citizenship opportunities
  • Current and future government citizenship initiatives should be devolved to a more local level and Citizen Schools encouraged to deliver them to ensure that this work is institutionalised, sustained and shared.

The new EU Program Call and Guide on ERASMUS+ is out

The European Commission has released this week key Erasmus+ documents on this new webpage.
You can find there many useful resources and in particular the legal basis (see article 9 of the Regulation for the mention of European NGOs) signed on Wednesday by Martin Schultz in the presence of Doris Pack and Androulla Vassiliou (entry into force 1st January), as well as the general Erasmus+ call for proposals.
The programme guide has also been released where all details on eligibility criteria, deadlines, funding, etc. can be found (as you can see, the Key Activity 3 including cooperation with stakeholders is the least developed; reminder: calls for operating grants should be released next week). Some draft application e-forms have also been published to get better prepared (see programme guide section).

Important to read for all educational organizations: the new program guide on ERASMUS+ which gives concrete guidance on all elements in the new one size fits all educational yand youth actions supported by the European Union!
The first deadline for calls for proposals will be 17 March 2014. The complete program guide can be found for download here:

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

"Making the Case for European Civic Education" DARE talking points at the EP roundtable on 4th DEC 2013

DARE points reflecting the state of citizenship education in Europe at the End of European Year of Citizenship 2013

We welcome the European Year of Citizenship as an opportunity to bring back the issue of Citizenship Education on the European Agenda – DARE has been founded from NGO´s to bring this issue on the Agenda 10 Years ago! Nevertheless at the end of the EYC we fear the year as a missed opportunity start to tackle the rising democratic and social challenges Europe and the European Union faces.

In light of the developments towards the European Elections 2014 the European Parliament Members as well as the European Commission fear the entry of large groups of right wing populists and euro-scepticists to the EP.

Romanian MEP Renate Weber (Chair of ALDE group) on the roundtable Making the Case for European Citizenship Education stated that “the social and democratic situation in EU members states has become unforeseeable dramatic” The increase of right wing and devaluating mindsets in the middle of societies and politics is a risk to the further existence of the European Union.

DG EAC representative Romano Girelli stated at the same roundtable, that key actors of the EC start to realize that a sole focus of the EU on economic policy making based on the assumption of economic competition between worlds´ leading markets seems to be contra-productive to the  democratic and social climate in Europe, also a focus which was presumably too much on the legal aspects of European Citizenship did not soundly take into account democratic and social development Europe faces currently.

EUCIS-LLL President Joke van der Leuwe-Roord stated that the EC and the parliament finally should start to see civil society organizations as their natural ally when it comes to democratic agenda setting o the European level, as those organizations are probably the only capable to positively contribute to the democratic development of the European Union.

The European Youth forum has issued a statement on Citizenship Education in November 2013, as well as EUCIS-LLL organized the European Lifelong learning week 2013 under the focus of “Making the case of citizenship Education” contributing with various events of the member organizations in the EP Brussels.

The removal of core elements of citizenship education from the national curricula in Portugal (2011), Spain (2013) and Ireland (see HRE-list) are case that despite the adoption of the COE Charter on EDC/HRE, member states – arguing with the pressure of financial crisis - are not willing to support Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights in their countries thus questioning the democratic development of their societies as a whole.

The 2012 EC´s communication on “re-thinking education” is challenging the whole field of European Citizenship Education reducing it to be almost irrelevant for the political process of the EU. This should be urgently re-considered and discussed widely also in terms of drawing the right conclusions for encountering the current crisis.

European Citizenship: just a legal concept?

Citizenship and especially the implementation of European citizenship should not be reduced to the legal perspectives as set out in the EU charter on fundamental rights. The concept of democratic citizenship education aims for responsible and democratic societies as a whole and asks for democracy and the rule of law as a lifelong and lifewide concept.
Thus EU Citizenship approach should develop a multiperspective understanding to apply the Rights of Citizens as set out in the EUFRC, the UDHR, the EUCHR. Especially in the situation of a democratic crisis in Europe educational concepts for European Citizenship should look for a holistic approaches taking into regard the multi-facetted mechanisms of groups focused enmity and devaluation of vulnerable groups in societies instead of separately investigating single forms of discrimination.
European Citizenship education should not be treated as a separate discipline: Based on the COE definitions it covers Human Rights Education and Education for Democratic Citizenship as well as is closely interrelated with other educational fields such as Global Education, history education education for sustainable development, intercultural learning, any form of anti-discriminatory education, anti-racism, gender equality and international youth and adult encounters.
These fields often share the same methodologies and aims but the split in different subjects on the political as well as on the educational level causes a risk for a holistic understanding of European Citizenship Education, as developments are treated separately and do not take into account the wide societal cause and effect relations.
The 2012 EC´s communication on “re-thinking education” is challenging the whole field of European Citizenship Education reducing it to be almost irrelevant for the political process of the EU. This should be urgently re-considered and discussed widely also in terms of drawing the right conclusions for encountering the current crisis.

Citizenship Education and the upcoming European parliamentary elections

It appears rather short sighted to reduce the aim of measures of learning about European Citizenship to increase the voting turnout of the upcoming EP elections: Although the ongoing evaluations of the European Youth in Action program have shown a significant connection between participation in the program and the motivation of young people to vote in the next European elections. Recent research such as the Sinus and Shell youth surveys indicate that there might be a difference between what young people define as their engagement on citizenship issues and political participation. Clearly participation in elections is one important aspect of democracy but the understanding of EDC/HRE is broader: Democracy and Human Rights Education – both formative for European Citizenship – ask for learning democracy through democracy.

Formal and non- formal Citizenship and Human Rights Education

A comparison of educational practice examples taken from various European educational fields indicates that the formal system in terms of teaching and developing the competences for European Citizenship Education is far beyond the standard of NFE providers. One aim would be whether member states and responsible authorities should enable sound cooperation of NFE and Formal Education on level of the member states, by reducing legal barriers (e.g. definitions of what is a formal educational setting and what is a non formal educational setting result in funding schemes excluding or hindering both systems on cooperation). A different perception of priorities tasks of formal education which is more targeting on knowledge transfer while the non-formal education focuses training on skills, attitudes and values, still results in different understandings of what European Citizenship Education is: The knowledge about the functioning of the EU and about the legal aspects of European citizenship, or a concept to train and enable and motivate people to claim their rights and apply them in everyday life acting as responsible citizens.
From the perspective of non-formal EDC/HRE we ask for an enhanced understanding of the interrelation of both educational fields: Citizenship is formed by knowledge, values, attitudes and behavior. This results in a demand to support a cross-sectoral approach in citizenship education, especially in the youth field. Especially by cooperating with schools/formal education, NFE providers are enabled to reach all groups of students. As pointed out the removal of legal barriers on level of the national educational systems would be of a great benefit for European Citizenship education.
Do not preach for the converted. European policy instruments supporting citizenship education should not only support mobility schemes for the “3 Million” already converted with additional mobility schemes, but focus to reach out for the ones that literally “stay at home” and are not mobile.

Data gathering on validation and assessment in Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights

Euridyce 2011 and the ICCS studies as well as comparable date from the FRA in neighbouring policy fields (report on Holocaust Education in schools) once again show that teachers Europe-wide feel not confident to teach issues of European Citizenship and claim for better materials, training and support in regard to Citizenship education. A survey conducted among the DARE network in 2013 also pointed out that the formal learning systems still lack capacity and expertise to soundly teach EDC/HRE issues in their schools thus contributing to democratic school development as a whole.
Euridyce 2011 states that Citizenship Education is in all European Countries implemented in curricula or as a cross curricular subject. The understanding and concepts of citizenship education in the European member states widely differ, so that the findings of Euridyce allow no conclusion about the quality of the content. Key findings from the Worlds values survey on the contrary point out, that value education in schools just has marginal influence on the political dispositions of young people.
Europewide there has been produced on all levels an uncountable amount of EDC/HRE training materials for teachers and for democratic school development. There is programs such as the Pestalozzi program of the COE, the support instruments of the European Wergeland Centre, the instruments offered by the ODIHR, the analyses undertaken by the FRA and the vast field of national concepts, instruments and hundreds of ongoing projects  of NGO´s producing good and well elaborated teaching materials, handbooks etc. Somehow they obviously seem not to reach the level of school development.
DARE generally shares these findings but critically remarks that the DATA available (and this counts for all European Citizenship studies) is data provided from the formal educational systems namely targeting on students, thus reproducing again and again the need for better teacher training. The conclusion of the DG EAC to again foster on a program for training teachers European Citizenship in this regard should be critically investigated.
A statistical data gathering on Education for Human Rights and Citizenship in European in Adult Education, Vocational Education and Training, and the Youth field is missing and would be a desireable to cross-measure the findings resulting from data gathered from the formal educational system. Nevertheless due to the widely differing support and reporting schemes in non-formal EDC/HRE this data gathering remains more than complicated.
Providers of non-formal education in the field of EDC/HRE largely cooperate with the formal system, most of them are based on project support scheme. There should be enhanced support for programs that enable NGO´s for long term guidance and trainings to continue these programs.

Measuring and assessing citizenship competences, validation of European citizenship learning

Valid data is crucial for political evidence based policy making!
As we indicated above: data gathering in the non-formal field of citizenship education remains difficult. The studies from CRELL allow for conclusions on the situation of Active Citizenship in the European Union and emphasize the role of learning in Active Citizenship.
Nevertheless measuring and assessing educational outcomes of learning processes in non formal EDC/HRE remains difficult and sensitive.
Due to the logic of non formal Citizenship and Human Rights education and especially due to national widely differing legal and financial support mechanisms for NFE, the focus of measuring should be a descriptive one. NFE has developed certain quality standards that apply for the side of the input: Europe wide there is common use of educational methods, reference instruments and similar reporting schemes of NFE providers. The methods and places of NFE as well as the special settings of citizenship education guarantee a safe space to develop democratic competences of learners. The low threshold enables broad involvement of marginalized and vulnerable groups, whose participation is an effort in itself and should not be threatened through wide assessment. In the youth field some of the existing assessment instruments such as the YOUTHPASS and other validation instruments show promising results, while it has to be mentioned that they largely influence the pedagogical setting of HRE/EDC. Nevertheless they seem to be better fitting than a NQF/EQF orientation of Citizenship learning which forces to formalized standardization (although several fields of EDC/HRE such as cooperation with University/ VET would offer settings for such assessment) .

The long term impact of a sound citizenship Education in Europe is lasting stable democratic societies – thus the results of EDC/HRE both in formal and non-formal education are hard to measure.
The DARE network aims for an integrated and connected understanding of the various educational fields as formative for European Citizenship. We asks for a European Program to support education in this field thus reaching out for interconnected and cascading effects on our democratic societies in Europe.
The European Year of Citizens in this regard is a missed opportunity for the EU. The EU has missed to find an answer on these urgent needs by formulating an adequate future funding program. Even worse the reduction of the future EU for citizens program on 6% in the future MFF goes in the opposite direction. Also an interconnected approach of Citizenship policies and European Educational program such as ERASMUS+ which could better respond to the challenging situation of HR and Democracy in Europe is missing.

further information:
Georg Pirker
DARE network secretary
c/o Arbeitskreis deutscher Bildungsstätten e.V., Mühlendamm 3, 10178 Berlin; +493040040117

Daniela Kolarova spoke for DARE at the the Coordination Group for the European year for Citizens 2013, within the European Economic and Social Committee

I attended the meeting of the Coordination Group for the European year for Citizens 2013, within the European Economic and Social Committee. Presentations have been given by the President of the Committee, Mr.Gobins; the  Council of Europe Program Coordinator, Mr Jean-Charles de Cordes;The Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) representative Mr. Piero Fratini; and the Robert Shuman Foundation, Charles de Marcilly. 
Then I was invited to speak. I talked about the DARE network - who we are and how our unified resources and synchronized actions contribute to the development of the field of EDC/HRE at local, regional and European level.  I talked about the CSOs initiatives across Europe in 2013 and  about the challenges and good practices which CSOs face in their work to promote Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education. 
The committee asked questions and congratulated DARE for our good work! Even the discussion after the presentations was focused on mechanisms and means to make the EU institutions closer to the European people and to the work of CSOs. 
The good news is that since the next year is not announced to be special year on anything it seems that European Year for Citizenship will continue in 2014 as well. Thus extending the opportunity to raise awareness about the need of more Citizenship education in Europe and combating the negative trends (lower funding for the field, split resources and repetitive efforts, skipping Civics in some countries curricula..not to mention the raise of xenophobia and extremism). All these points were well taken and DARE was well presented! 
This committee is summing up its work and still does not know if it will continue next year (TBD) but it seems quite involved in the issues of Citizenship. This week in Vilnius will be the end of the Citizenship year 2013 conference.

learn more: talking points of the presentation


Daniela Kolarova, PhD
Partners Bulgaria Foundation
Jakubitsa 2A, 1164, Sofia, Bulgaria
Tel 00359 888 66 23 01

Partners Bulgaria is a founding member of Partners for Democratic Change International, Rue Belliard 205, Brussels, Belgium,

New funding programme for remembrance of forced labour and forgotten victims - remembrance of national socialist injustice - Foundation EVZ

The extent to which societies come to terms with forced labour under National Socialism still varies widely in Europe. Moreover, in Germany and in the countries occupied by the National Socialist regime or their successor states, there are still groups of victims of National Socialist injustice who do not yet have any appropriate place in the respective culture of remembrance. These are frequently described in Germany by the term “forgotten” victims of National Socialism.

The programme funds
  • primarily international projects with participation of German partners that explore forced labour under National Socialism in exhibitions, documentations, film documentaries and other formats and contribute to anchoring the subject permanently in the European culture of remembrance. → detailed call for application
  • international conferences that deal in a cross-over context with the subject of forced labour under National Socialism → detailed call for application
  • primarily international projects with participation of German partners dedicated to remembrance of “forgotten” victim groups of National Socialism. In the years 2014 and 2015 projects in remembrance of the victims of National Socialist “euthanasia” and the fate of the Soviet prisoners of war will primarily be funded. →detailed call for application 
With this programme the Foundation EVZ is supporting projects that pursue a multi-perspective approach and thus contribute to developing a European understanding of history.

Martin Bock
Tel.: +49 (0)30 25 92 97-48
Fax: +49 (0)30 25 92 97-11

Funding opportunities 2014 - Foundation EVZ

Funding opportunity for international school and youth projects between Germany and the countries of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe as well as Israel offered by the Foundation “Remembrance Responsibility and Future” (EVZ).

In its EUROPEANS FOR PEACE programme, Foundation EVZ invites school and youth groups to apply in international partnerships with a school and/or non-school institution for funding of a jointly developed project proposal. The programme aims to strengthen historical awareness and support the active commitment of young people for human rights and international understanding.  The theme for 2013-14 is “Watch Out: Discrimination! Projects on Exclusion Then and Now”, and projects can choose a historical, contemporary, or combined approach. 
Applications are submitted by schools and/or institutions engaged in extra-curricular education. The project participants are young people between the ages of 14 and 21 (not university or college students). The projects will be implemented in the period between July 2014 and July 2015Binational or trinational projects can be funded; at least one partner must be from Germany and at least one from Central, Eastern or South-Eastern Europe or from Israel. 
For further information, including about contact platforms to find project partners, please read the full Call for Applications.  The deadline is January 1st, 2014.

Friday, 22 November 2013

and the new DARE board is....

These nice people will lead DARE through 2013-2015. The new DARE board:

[from left to right:]
Elena Begant (vice-chair, CDV/Slovenia)
Frank Elbers (chair, HREA/Nederlands)
Lillian Hjorth (secretary, Menneskerretigetsakademie/NOR)
Sulev Valdma (treasurer, Jan Tonissoni Institute/Estonia)

Good luck and congratulations!!

DARE network succesfully held its General Assembly in Rome

From 18-19th November 2013 representatives from the DARE network member organizations met in Rome/Italy to hold the DARE General Assembly.
Among other topics strategies for the future network development were discussed, a new board was elected and DARE´s development during its 10 years of existence was reflected.
more info soon...

Friday, 1 November 2013

UN: Resolution on the Third Phase of the World Programme for Human Rights Education (WPHRE)

Human Rights Council resolution 24/15 on World Programme for Human Rights Education (WPHRE) was adopted without a vote on 27 September.

The resolution had been drafted by the Platform for Human Rights Education and Training (comprising 7 Member States: Costa Rica, Italy, Morocco, Philippines, Senegal, Slovenia and Switzerland), and Costa Rica took the lead on this resolution. On the day when it was adopted, the resolution was cosponsored by 81 Member States.

(1) The focus for the third phase

HRC has determined, by this resolution, the focus for the third phase of the WPHRE.

Operative paragraph 3 of the resolution states that the Human Rights Council “decides to make media professionals and journalists the focus group of the third phase of the World Programme for Human Rights Education, with a special emphasis on education and training in equality and non-discrimination, with a view to combating stereotypes and violence, fostering respect for diversity, promoting tolerance, intercultural and interreligious dialogue and social inclusion, and raising awareness of the universality, indivisibility and interrelatedness of all human rights among the general public.”

Accordingly, “media professionals and journalists” will be focused during the third phase. The period of the third phase is set for five years from 2015-2019 (para.6).

Three informal consultations on the draft resolution on this subject were held prior to the date of the adoption. NGOs also attended these intergovernmental open meetings. In this intergovernmental consultation process, a strong emphasis was placed on the thematic approach as described in operative paragraph 2 with regard to:

- education and training in equality and non-discrimination;
- combating stereotypes and violence;
- fostering respect for diversity;
- promoting tolerance, intercultural and interreligious dialogue and social inclusion; and
- raising awareness of the universality, indivisibility and interrelatedness of all human rights among the general public.

The importance of this thematic approach, in addition to “media professional and journalists”, was stressed when Costa Rica, on behalf of the Platform Member States, delivered their statement to introduce this draft resolution at the plenary.

During the informal consultations, the Platform Member States referred to the content of the Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, “Views of States, national human rights institutions and other relevant stakeholders on the target sectors, focus areas or thematic human rights issues for the third phase of the World Programme for Human Rights Education” (A/HRC/24/24).

The Platform Member States clarified, in response to questions from other Member States, their suggestion of the selected focus for the third phase - (i) The focus of each phase should be as concrete as possible and not to be too wide covering many various sectors at a time; and (ii) “Media” was suggested for the third phase in many views submitted to the OHCHR and reflected in this Report.

(2) Plan of Action for the third phase

Operative paragraph 6 of the resolution states that “the Human Rights Council requests the Office of the High Commissioner to prepare, from within existing resources, a plan of action for the third phase of the World Programme (2015-2019) in consultation with States, relevant intergovernmental organizations, in particular the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, national human rights institutions and civil society, including non-governmental organizations, and to submit the plan of action for consideration by the Human Rights Council at its twenty-seventh session.”

Taking account that the WPHRE is to be implemented in all countries, one challenge for certain stakeholders in a number of countries would be how the plan of action would ensure the independence of media professionals and journalists free from “unreasonable” interference with by State authorities. In this regard, the “consultation process” of drafting the plan of action by OHCHR is expected to be effective to meet the expectation, particularly taking into consideration the views of civil society stakeholders including NGOs and “media professional and journalists themselves”.

The draft plan of action should be ready sometime by the end of summer (possibly around the end of June), presumably in English first so that there would be enough time for translating it into the all United Nations official languages and submit it to the Human Rights Council 27th session (scheduled for 8-26 September, 2014).

(3) First and second phases

Operative paragraph 2 of the resolution states that the Human Rights Council “encourages States and, where appropriate, relevant stakeholders, to, during the third phase of the World Programme, strengthen efforts to advance the implementation of the first and second phases (…).”

This was the point stressed about the first phase when the WPHRE was shifting from its first phase to second.

In the same operative paragraph, several points in this regard are emphasised including “educators in formal and non-formal education and training, in particular those working with children and youth”, etc.

Through the process on this resolution, it was re-confirmed that the efforts for human rights education in all areas and on all sectors must continue and be initiated while each phase of the WPHRE casts a “light” on a specific sector(s) to highlight it in order to pragmatically facilitate national efforts.

The NGO WG on HREL in Geneva will follow up to this and share relevant information with stakeholders.

More information:
Kazunari Fujii
Chair, NGO Working Group on Human Rights Education and Learning (NGO WG on HREL)
of the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO), Geneva
Director, Soka Gakkai International (SGI) UN Liaison Office
150 Route de Ferney, P.O. Box 2100, CH-1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland

Manifesto: Building together the Future of Learning - EU Elections 2014

The 2014 European elections will provide the right momentum to think about the future of learning in Europe. The current economic and social crisis gave a new impetus to deeper cooperation in education and training with a high focus on growth and employment while at the same time austerity measures have weakened our educational systems. EUCIS-LLL believes that a sustainable investment should be made in learning as essential for our social model, in line with their prioritization at EU level. Poor access to lifelong learning limits people’s ability to access quality jobs and participate fully in society. We need a vision to ensure our education and training systems deliver better for economic development, social and civic participation, personal fulfilment and well-being. EUCIS-LLL calls MEPs to consider three top priorities and a set of 12 policy recommendations for lifelong learning in its Manifesto "Building together the future of Learning".

The Manifesto will be officially launched and discussed by MEPs during our Lifelong Learning Week 2013 in a roundtable in the European Parliament on 3 December (9h30 - 13h00). See draft programme and register before 25 November here.
I. Ensure Accessible and Quality Learning for All
eucis-lll 1Encourage pedagogic innovation by putting the learner at the centre. Support enhanced learning experiences and new learning solutions such as e-learning, distance learning and open educational resources.
eucis-lll  2Reflect upon quality, tailored-made assessment and evaluation mechanisms that better reflect the competences acquired during the learning process.
eucis-lll 3Advocate to improve teachers, facilitators and trainers’ initial and continuous training as well as their working conditions; offer a better societal recognition of their role, as well as that of other members of the educating community.
eucis-lll 4Support a wider use of European transparency tools and the setting up by 2018 of national validation mechanisms for non-formal and informal learning to foster flexible learning pathways and facilitate access to the labour market.

II. Invest in the Social Dimension of Education and Training
eucis-lll 5Recognize the role played by non-formal and informal learning for active inclusion and social cohesion. Fight against the marginalization of vulnerable groups and promote intercultural dialogue and tolerance.
eucis-lll 6Defend the idea that learning mobility should be the rule and not the exception and ensure every one can access programmes regardless of their socio-economic and cultural background.
eucis-lll 7 Promote the acquisition of basic skills, in particular foreign language skills, as the lack of such skills hinders citizens’ chances of finding a job and participating in society. Refer to the European Key Competences Framework as a basic framework for all educational sectors.
eucis-lll 8Strengthen and coordinate guidance services from the earliest age, as the learner’s compass to find the best tailored-made learning opportunities at all levels (national, regional, EU).

III. Bring the EU Closer to its Citizens

eucis-lll  9Give priority to European civic education to ensure all citizens have a basic understanding about the EU and its common values.
eucis-lll 10Contribute to the debate about the revision of the governance of EU cooperation in Education and Training (ET2020, Open Method of Coordination; European Semester) and strengthen the engagement of civil society.
eucis-lll 11Acknowledge the role played by European organisations in education and training by implementing an open, transparent and regular dialogue with representative associations and civil society (article 11 TUE). Set up an Intergroup on Lifelong Learning at the European Parliament.
eucis-lll 12Reinitiate the impulse on the setting up of a European Statute for the European Association, giving institutional recognition to the engagement and to the activism of millions of citizens.

Download the Manifesto in PDF
arrow-green-upIf you are an MEP or a candidate support the Manifesto!
Send us an email with your name, political group and country and we will add you as a "EUCIS-LLL Manifesto" supporter. Please share with us why you support this campaign.
arrow-green-up  If you are a practioner, teacher, educator, students or simply someone who wants our education and training systems to be a priority at EU level
Share our campaign by organising debates about the elections or simply by asking your MEP to support officially the Manifesto!


EUCIS-LLL Platform

39, rue des Deux Eglises - 1000 Brussels

@ EUCIS-LLL 2013

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:
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
Web: www.nece.e

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.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Conference: Flight and Rescue of the Danish Jews in 1943

Humanity in Action is pleased to announce an international conference to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the flight and rescue of the Jews of Denmark during the Second World War.

The conference entitled "Civil Society: Reactions to the Holocaust" will be held in the north of Copenhagen from September 30 through October 2, 2013.

The focus of the conference will be the flight and rescue of Danish Jews and the lessons to be learned from the Holocaust relating to minority protection and the role and responsibilities of civil society. This inquiry will include not only the Danish perspective, but also critical international perspectives. Therefore, the conference will also focus on Sweden’s welcome of the Danish Jews, on civil courage among Germans in Denmark in 1943, and on civil reactions to the Holocaust in other European countries.

The conference features a series of dialogues and debates with noted experts and eyewitnesses including Sofie Lene Bak, Bo Lidegaard, Herbert Pundik (Denmark), Ulrich Herbert (Germany), Konstanty Gebert (Poland) and Karin Kvist Geverts (Sweden). The program also includes a visit to the fishing village of Gilleleje, from where many Jews of Denmark fled to Sweden while others were arrested and deported to Theresienstadt. The conference concludes with a special performance at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II and the Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

Learn more about this event and register for the conference here »

Thursday, 12 September 2013

DARE board opinion on EC communication "Re-Thinking Education"

Let us be more ambitious!
 DARE networks board proposes to critically investigate the European Commissions proposal on “Rethinking Education: investing in skills for better socio-economic outcomes” which was published in November 2012 by the European Commission [COM(2012) 669 final].

We welcome the European Commissions´ vision on the Future of Eduation as a valuable contribution to the discussion – but we aim for a deeper reflection within the discussion in order to develop a common vision for the future. The communication issued by the EC is emphasizing strictly on “delivering the right skills for employment, increasing the efficiency and inclusiveness of our education and training institutions and working collaboratively with all relevant stakeholders”  (p.2). No doubt – in the times of crises caused by the financial sector, we face in the countries suffering by the crisis multiple problems, among them rates of (youth) unemployment as one of the biggest challenges for European society. No doubt that more and better than is currently the case needs to be done in order to equip youth (and people affected by the crisis in general) with instruments to cope with the situation and go steps to recover. Nothing is worse than a situation where a political and economical system is not able to take care for the peoples´ needs.

The EC´s approach to set the focus more or less solely on formal education is a missed opportunity for a redefinition of education as envisaged. The approach to put the responsibility for coping with the outcomes of the economical downturn mostly on the shoulder of the individual citizens and rejecting any responsibility of the economical, social and ecological environment for the situation is cynical. To enforce solely the vocational skills of the learners and their employment skills in this regards will have no effect if there is no jobs.

The EC asks for world-class Vocational Education and Training. What is world class VET and in comparison to what? DARE points out that Europe already today is world-wide leading in Human Rights Education and Education for Democratic Citizenship. This is one of the fundaments for the success of economy and societies in Europe. This effort should not be risked nor lost!
The EC Communication points out on the success of countries leading in Vocational Education and Training. From the DARE network we want to indicate that these countries also have sound support for non-formal learning and include EDC/HRE programs in national curricula as well as offer support for non-formal learning.

A highly selective and competitive educational system inherently produces winners and losers. The European commission aims to reduce the rates of low performance but who will be the people losing in 2020 if the educational systems are highly competitive and selective and only about to produce overachievers?
Are streamlined curricula, standardized tests the right instruments to tackle underperformance or should we rather ask for tailor-made approaches fostered for the level learners on the educational grassroots level? Is a strict focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) enabling Europe for real sustainable, smooth and inclusive growth?

Lifelong learning (LLL) and civic competencies, building a core methodology of HRE/EDC, are essential for each individual in modern European, knowledge-based and democratic societies.
As dispositions of learning-to-learn skills and active citizenship shape up in childhood and adolescence, formal and non-formal education seen through the LLL- perspective can make a significant contribution to the enhancement of social and civic competencies as well as to employability skills of adult Europeans.
Eight key competencies, listed in the “Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18th December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning, include among others (e.g. digital competence, cultural awareness and expression, learning-to-learn skills) also sense of initiative and entrepreneurship and social and civic competences. Both have to be seen as fundamental to equip individuals to participate actively in civic society.

DARE points out that Education for Human Rights and Democratic Citizenship over past decades, supported by numerous international, European and national HR instruments, developed modern and expert appreciated methods of addressing a range of vulnerable and marginalized groups of population (including social-economic disadvantaged, with less well-educated background, with employment difficulties), who are in need of empowerment and support to fulfill their educational potential.
The educational system of a democratic society should seek to support all its learners in their development of social and civic competences hand in hand with sense of initiative including entrepreneurship (on all levels of formal, non-formal, LLL and vocational education) in order to empower them to participate confidently in modern, heterogeneous, knowledge-based societies and contribute to development of socially responsible sustainable economy in Europe.
Whats good for the disadvantaged should also be taken into account for the ones that eat the fat of the land: Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights skills are also an educational goal for vast groups within privileged groups in society.

The European Commission asks for the development of transversal skills, such as the “ability to think critically, take initiative, problem solve and work collaboratively” further the communication asks the development of adequate tools for individual assessment of skills, particularly in the areas of problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration[…]. From the DARE network we know no better educational environment to learn these skills as the environment of non-formal Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education, for active citizenship education, politische Bildung etd.  We do not understand why the EC communication does not take these fields into account when the acquisition of these transversal skills is so important for the EU´s future. The EC loses an opportunity by not including the positive experiences of non-formal Education for Democracy and Human Rights as a basic field to acquire these competences!

Among the transversal skills the EC emphasizes especially entrepreneurial skills as desire for education. We have no doubt that among a lot of other fields it can be interesting to learn in school more about entrepreneurship, but one also has to admit that not all young people want to become entrepreneurs. We see it as crucially important to invest in this regard in sound EDC/HRE teaching all over Europe and contribute to the realization of the Council of Europe Charter on Education for democratic citizenship and human rights education. Entrepreneurial investments are made mostly in countries/regions where investors have no doubt about the rule of law and the security of investments. Risk and Forecast estimee for entrepreneurial investments largely depends on the estimation of stable and societies and an investment friendly climate. In this regard Citizenship skills and knowledge are a crucial desireable for any educational system that aims to support a prosperous smart and sustainable growth in Europe. Resulting from the crisis we face in many countries a streamlining of education and a roll-back of EDC/HRE from the formal educational system as currently happening in Spain. Also the political success of populist far right movements in several European states gives us alarming signals which are a clear risk for the stability of societies and the democratic model in Europe.

On the Funding Education aspect the EC lobbies for a model of cost sharing between different partners in the educational process – the state, businesses and individuals, foundations and alumni – with public investment to leverage private sector match-funding. We ask the EC kindly to provide examples of successful PPP´s in the educational field and to provide evidence of good experience which have proven to be successful in the long run.  DARE points out that education is a public good and all members of society should have equal chances and access to any education offered. The EC is further asked to give evidence that PPP´s are capable to offer solutions which are in the long run guaranteeing open societies and a stable social climate.

DARE board
August 2013

contact: Georg Pirker, Secretary of the DARE network, 

Learn more:
In Spring EUCIS-LLL organised two policy debates in the European Parliament echoing the 2012 release of the Commission’s Communication on “Rethinking Education”. The goal was to exchange views between various stakeholders and value some of EUCIS members’ good practices on key topics of the Communication. In May MEP Katarina Nevedalova (S&D) hosted the first event, named “Partnerships for LLL, an new idea?” and co-organised with the European Youth Forum (see the report). Participants notably discussed what sustainable coordination structures could mean to move towards concrete partnerships. In June MEP Heinz K. Becker (EPP) hosted the debate “Entrepreneurship skills: common understanding? Common expectations?”; one of the key messages was the need to agree and promote a broad understanding of the entrepreneurship competence. Read the full report.