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e-DARE: Democracy and Human Rights Education in Europe
published by the
DARE network, edited by Dr. Ragnar Mueller (d@dalos)
issue 2013-02 (April 10th, 2013)

Letter from the Board

Dear readers of e-DARE,

2013-2014 seems to be a turning point for education. The second phase of the World Program for Human Rights Education is developing into the third phase. Time to take stock on efforts made and look for the further steps to go. The DARE board decided to give a recommendation to the UN which focuses strictly on the situation of European non-formal Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education (see
here) and which contains a recommendation to widen the Program for Adult learning and Youth Organizations (thus being able to continue with the rather narrow focus set during the first and second phase, but at the same time to bring HRE back to the ground of non- formal education).

The policy developments we face around the formation of the new generation of EU- programs are more than worrying. On the paper there will be more money available for education; rumors speak about roughly 13 million Euro for the period 2014-2020, which is a lot less than the European Commission initially asked for, but more than is currently the case. The worrying issue is that the Directorate General for Education and Culture seems not to be willing to proceed with the operational support of European civil society organizations and instead is willing to focus strictly on project funding – which is not the case in most of the other Directorate Generals. DARE members know perhaps best what this means: DARE has never received institutional support for the network but is always built on the projects and the capacity of its members.

For projects the EC defines new priority areas annually, thus they are much more narrow than an approach to partner up with civil society and lead discussions on eye-level. How should civil society in the field of non-formal youth and adult education be able to built up structures that can compete with the Brussels based professional lobby organizations if not via operational grants from the EC?

In the same line, the European Commissions´ communication on “Rethinking Education” (
see pdf) is also a slam in the face of Citizenship and Human Rights Education. May I quote? “The broad mission of education and training encompasses objectives such as active citizenship, personal development and well-being. While these go hand-in-hand with the need to upgrade skills for employability, against the backdrop of sluggish economic growth and a shrinking workforce due to demographic ageing, the most pressing challenges for Member States are to address the needs of the economy and focus on solutions to tackle fast-rising youth unemployment” (Rethinking Education: Investing in skills for better socio-economic outcomes, COM(2012) 669 final, see p 2).

Reading the full text I got the impression that the EC in its educational perspective rejects any economical and societal responsibility for the current crises, but more or less focuses on the individual responsibility to “SKILL YOURSELF UP, STUPID!” as only solution for better, sustainable and inclusive growth by 2020. Flipping through the document the first time I personally thought of a bad joke, but it seems the document is really meant that way. The DARE board decided to issue a statement on it and communicate it with its members.

In the next weeks, members from the DARE board (and the network) will be present at the Fundamental Rights Platform of the EU-Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA, 24-26 April), at the meeting of the International Contact Group on EDC/HRE (Strasbourg 11/12 April) and at the annual conference of the European Civil Society Platform on Lifelong Learning (EUCIS-LLL, Vilnius 13-15 May) in order to contribute and share views on these developments from the perspective of non-formal Human Rights Education and Education for Democratic Citizenship.

Thanks to our members Humanity in Action (HiA Germany) and Center za Drzavljansko Vzgojo (CDV Slovenia), which are part of a GRUNDTVIG learning partnership on Overcoming Group focused Hostility in Europe (see
here), a wonderful DARE Spring Academy 2013 took place from 3-5th April 2013 in Maribor Slovenia.

DARE commits its 10 anniversary this year. We will reorganize the website a bit, focus more on policy work, and already now invite the members to the annual General Assembly which will take place in ROME again (expected on 17/18 November). We need to elect a new board and will hold a future perspective workshop for the network.

New members are welcome, as networking is essential for all of our EDC/HRE work!

Best regards on behalf of the DARE board

Georg Pirker

DARE issues

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