SemiFit is a series of three seminars for intercultural trainers in Human Rights Education. DARE members and freelancing trainers selected through an open call met and shared their approaches and criteria for enhancing the quality of education regarding empowerment and civic competencies of individuals. They discussed the topic from three perspectives. First, the quality dimension regarding the individual trainer following the E.T.S. Second, the quality conditions in planning and managing cooperation between different partners in projects and programs. Third, the qualitative aspects perceived from the perspective of Education for Democratic Citizenship/Human Rights Education.
The exchange took place on December 1-6, 2018 in Almuñécar, Spain. It was supported by a funding of European Commission (Erasmus + programme).
Recommendations based on the cooperation and analysis in the STEPS project.
In more and more countries in Europe basic democratic participation rights are rejected and questioned, large groups in societies, political parties and government promote authoritarian rule, right-wing populist parties and their leaders deny human rights to certain societal groups and are dismantling democracy, ordinary people and elected politicians spread hate on NGO´s and undermine democratic decision-making, mistrust is rising on the capacity of the political levels to solve societal challenges. As a consequence, there is a definite need to consider the role of Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights (EDC/HRE) with young people. With the European project STEPS (E+ KA 1 mobility project), DARE members aim to identify the relationship between populism, post-truth, radicalisation and EDC/HRE as work with young people on the political dimension and on the pedagogical dimension of EDC in youth work.
We face a growing and interdependent variety of challenges of complex natures: economic growth with less jobs to offer, migration and flight, security issues and liberal freedom, global competition, climate change, distribution of wealth and solidarity, access to social rights, to name but a few. These challenges largely affect the basics of solidarity and democratic living together, they are contributing to a resurgence of nationalism in its current form of right-wing populism, which are increasing those challenges even more.
As educators working with young people in both non-formal and formal education, we face a cumulation of challenges which make the populist threat uneasy to react on:
almost on all those levels where right-wing populists enter, a massive campaign against basic human rights for all, and against civil society organisations and youth work as provisions for democracy, begins
the manifold challenging of basic commitments of HR policies and standards in Europe and beyond, manifesting itself in pressure on perceived ‘others’ in our societies, namely all people of different origins – on refugees and migrants
a reflection among EDC practitioners to reach groups affected by extreme ideologies; which is as such reflecting the commitment of EDC in its inherent logic, but also questions the open and voluntary commitment of youth work provisions under a prevention perspective
an ongoing discrediting and suspecting of EDC work from right-populist parties/actors as manipulating youth with liberal ideas
an increase of European and national policies and programs to tackle hate-speech, radicalization , while long term oriented programs that support an infrastructural commitment to train and develop democratic capacities in our societies are lacking
the fatal consequences of the neo-liberal paradigm that affects all aspects of life in our societies, resulting in a disillusionment with the promise of equality, with societal and political participation, an unhealthy focus on competition, even within the educational sectors, while being confronted with the fact that in more and more European countries traditional forms of work/industries get lost or face dramatic changes over the next decades
an overstressing of competence acquisition and STEM focus in Formal Education, with EDC/HRE, youth work and especially the field of non-formal learning remaining in a secondary position. Resource oriented approaches and a strategic development of children and youth oriented learning spaces are lacking on a large scale in most countries as has been confirmed by the analysis of the STEPS project.
In 2015, three organisations – Partners Hungary Foundation, Partners Bulgaria Foundation and SOS Malta – joined forces to launch a pilot project aimed at developing and testing a community-based school programme for effective prevention and treatment of aggression and bullying, based on alternative conflict resolution methods. The long-term goal of the project was to achieve cultural change in schools through the dissemination of nonviolent communication, the introduction of alternative conflict resolution practices, the prevention of bullying and school conflicts, and a decrease in aggressive and other risk-related behaviour. The research results in the pilot schools have shown that an important effect of the programme is related to an increase in respondents’ awareness.
The suggested title Citizens Engagement and Participation should be the guiding idea for the design of the new programme. Its aim should clearly go beyond being an information tool for interested citizens and contribute concretely to support the democratic engagement of citizens and civil society by providing them adequate support.
SemiFit is a series of fora for experienced trainers in Human Rights Education and Education for Democratic Citizenship. It aims to create a space for experienced trainers from different fields to exchange competences (VASK: Values, Attitudes, Skills, Knowledge) and experience on the different domains of intercultural trainings.
A publication from the Competendo project: Why competency centred learning needs more promotion and what policy, school leadership and civil society can do to facilitate better learning conditions for youth in Europe.
The aim of these reflections and recommendations is to provide a proposal for strengthening competency oriented learning in the European systems and frameworks of education. Especially we broaden the perspective toward all kind of formal, non-formal and informal learning taking place in Europe and relevant for gaining the relevant competencies for acting as a successful citizen or professional, the so called key competencies.
From 6-12 June 2018 the STEPS consortium and a wide range of experts from the EDC/HRE and youth field met in Nafplio (Greece) to discuss the key findings of the STEPS project regarding right wing populism, post-factualism and radicalisation and its impact on EDC/HRE.
The project aims to develop educational tools that allow to learn something about the so called “European Values”. What is a value and what makes it European? Seems to be an easy question, but while trying to answer, we realize that its actually more difficult the more we think about it. Especially this happens in a Europe, where a common understanding across the member states becomes even less feasable.
2017/2018 DARE members work on the question how education could respond on current political trends such as populism or post-truth. We discuss these issues from an organisational perpective, taking into account the shrinking spaces for civil society, but as well on the level of concrete pedagogical work.