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.