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Our stocktaking conference on outcomes and challenges of the UN Decade on Human Rights Education in Soesterberg (Netherlands) has been a very intensive meeting, bringing together DARE-members, practitioners, Human Rights activists and experts from outside. It was the first public event in the life of our young network and a step forward to make the network visible, to share experiences and visions. The conference had been prepared by HREA. We have to thank for the excellent organisation at a cosy place (as Frank mentioned) and the professional, never the less very committed inputs of HRE-experts, but also of each participant.
At the end of the UN Decade and before the start of the European Year of Citizenship through Education we wanted to find out, which lessons have been learned in the rather young field of Human Rights Education. We also aimed at contributing to current and future developments, and opened a platform for the exchange of good practice, of successful approaches and of learning models. The reflection and discourse of Human Rights Education underlined its importance and need as a key element of Life Long Learning, addressing not only the formal education system, but all citizens. The action programme of the UN Decade defines HRE as an instrument to strengthen and to disseminate a general culture of Human Rights. The DARE network feels obliged to these aims and tries to provide a learning culture about Human Rights which encourages all citizens to learn for and through Human Rights.
In Soesterberg we also proudly presented our first publication Why DARE? Networking for Democracy and Human Rights Education in Europe. It had been a hard work to collect, compile, correct and coordinate all contributions. All DARE members have been involved and the process of publishing in itself has been also a process of networking. We have to be grateful for all your commitment, but have to mention explicitly working group one whose members developed the concept, worked on the material and felt responsible for the production. The working group coordinator, our friend Agnieszka from Poland, managed to bring the story to a successful end. Together with the publication an internal series of Reports and Documents was launched, starting with activities in 2003. Also a first small leaflet has been printed. About 200 copies of them will be available for every member in the beginning of the next year.
A few weeks ago in Sofia the European Year of Citizenship through Education was launched. The Year aims to promote education for democratic citizenship throughout Europe and to encourage national policies to provide the necessary infrastructure for EDC. The preconditions differ a lot in European countries and one of the main deficiencies is the lack of support for NGOs whose educational approaches and involvement are essential for a creative learning for democracy. The Year gives the chance to refer to this contribution and I would like to remind you, that we plan a DARE-conference on EDC in Berlin on 11-12/11/2005.
The next DARE-seminar on intercultural learning and education with/for ethnic minorities will take place from the 1-5/6/2005 in Sofia, hosted by Partners Bulgaria. Please, keep the date in mind we hope to welcome you all in Sofia! The next joint meeting of working group 1 and 2 will be on 18-19/3/2005 in Berlin.
With these announcements I would like to finish my last letter for e-DARE in 2004. Thank you all for sharing your knowledge and your experiences. Thank you for being active in the network and for strengthening our common ideas and vision. I wish you a peaceful and happy 2005
1. Conference Human Rights Education in Europe: Taking Stock and Planning for the Future (Soesterberg, 3-4 December 2004)
Fifty educators from all over Europe met in Soesterberg (the Netherlands) on 3 and 4 December for the first public DARE conference. In addition to many representatives of DARE member organisations, participants included HRE staff from Amnesty International-Netherlands, Amnesty International-Norway, Canadian Human Rights Foundation, Flensburg University, Humboldt University, IDEA, NGO Training and Research Centre-Bilgi University, UNESCO HRE Chair-University of Magdeburg, and the University of Nijmegen. It was an opportunity to discuss achievements and challenges to human rights education (HRE) in Europe over the last decade, share successful approaches and learning models, review regional and Europe-wide HRE policies and strategies to strengthen HRE in Europe. Panel workshops were held around HRE in elementary and secondary schools, HRE in higher education, teacher training and training of trainers, training of professional groups, HRE and youth, and HRE and dramatic expression.
The panel discussions, workshops and various small group and plenary discussions made clear how much has been achieved over the past ten years - in the areas of curricular frameworks, materials and text development, training models, the expanding number of human rights programmes (undergraduate and graduate) at European universities, and greater awareness of HRE amongst both educators and policy makers as well as the general public. Despite the growth and success of HRE, however, the national and local context and conditions that human rights educators work in continue to vary tremendously across Europe.
Some of the main recommendations by conference participants for included:
o strengthening coordination of activities in the field of HRE (and EDC)
o lobbying for and monitoring of (at both European and national level) implementation of existing HRE commitments, policies and regulatory frameworks
o focusing more resources on training professional groups (e.g. police)
o fostering the establishment of European pre-service teacher training initiatives dedicated to HRE.
Based on the discussions about needs and priorities for HRE, the DARE Board will prepare a declaration with a set of recommendations, which as a European Year for Democratic Citizenship through Education initiative will be distributed to national governments, Council of Europe, European Union and other educational authorities in January. The papers and proceedings of the conference will form the basis for a short publication about HRE in Europe during the UN Decade (1995-2004), which will appear in 2005.
Frank Elbers, HREA, e-mail: email@example.com
2. Plan of action for the first phase (2005-2007) of the World Programme for Human Rights Education
a) Proclamation of the World Programme for Human Rights Education
On 10 December 2004 the UN General Assembly proclaimed a World Programme for Human Rights Education, starting on 1 January 2005. An extract follows from the message of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, marking International Human Rights Day:
For a society to develop and nurture a human rights culture, human rights education is fundamental. It is a tool for promoting equality and enhancing people's participation in decision-making processes within democratic systems. It is an investment in the prevention of human rights abuses and violent conflicts.
Today, the General Assembly will devote a plenary session to marking the end of the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2004). Possible future initiatives for the enhancement of human rights education worldwide will be discussed and elaborated.
The Assembly will have before it the recommendations of the Commission on Human Rights and of the Economic and Social Council to proclaim a World Programme for Human Rights Education, starting on 1 January 2005. The World Programme will continue to provide the international community with a common global framework for human rights education. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in close consultation with UNESCO and with governmental and non-governmental experts and practitioners, has prepared a draft plan of action for the first phase of this Programme, drawing on the principles and frameworks set by several international human rights instruments. This and other initiatives will have real value, however, only if local and national players use them to mobilize and lobby for human rights education in their communities.
On this Human Rights Day, I would like to pay tribute to the many human rights educators - indeed, human rights defenders - who, in formal and informal settings, in large and small communities, often facing difficult and hazardous situations, contribute to building a universal culture of human rights. Through the development of educational initiatives and by setting standards, they lead by example.
Human rights are our common heritage and their realisation depends on the contributions that each and every one of us is willing to make, individually and collectively, now and in the future".
The full message can be found at:
b) Plan of action
It has been decided that the first phase (2005-2007) of the proposed World Programme for Human Rights Education will focus on the primary and secondary school systems.
An extract from its plan of action:
18. Therefore, human rights education in the primary and secondary school systems necessarily entails:
(a) Policies - developing in a participatory way and adopting coherent educational policies, legislation and strategies that are human rights-based, including curriculum improvement and training policies for teachers and other educational personnel;
(b) Policy implementation - planning the implementation of the abovementioned educational policies by taking appropriate organisational measures and by facilitating the involvement of all stakeholders;
(c) Learning environment - the school environment itself respects and promotes human rights and fundamental freedoms. It provides the opportunity for all interests within the school (students, teachers, staff and administrators and parents) to practise human rights and solidarity through real-life examples and activities. It enables children to express their views freely and to participate fully in school life;
(d) Teaching and learning - all teaching and learning processes and tools are rights-based (for instance, the content and objectives of the curriculum, participatory and democratic practices and methodologies, appropriate materials including the review and revision of existing textbooks, etc.);
(e) Education and professional development of teachers and other personnel - providing the teaching profession and school leadership, through pre and in-service training, with the necessary knowledge, understanding, skills and competencies to facilitate the learning and practice of human rights in schools, as well as with appropriate working conditions and status. A detailed description of the following components and related courses of action, to serve as a reference tool, is provided in the annex.
19. By promoting a rights-based approach to education, human rights education enables the education system to fulfil its fundamental mission to secure quality education for all. Accordingly, it contributes to improving the effectiveness of the national education system as a whole, which in turn has a fundamental role in each country's economic, social and political development.
It provides, among others, the following benefits:
(a) Improved quality of learning achievements, by promoting child-centred and participatory teaching and learning practices and processes, as well as a new role for the teaching profession;
(b) Increased access to and participation in schooling, by creating a rights-based learning environment that is inclusive and welcoming and fosters universal values, equal opportunities, diversity and non-discrimination;
(c) A contribution to social cohesion and conflict prevention, by supporting the social and emotional development of the child and by introducing democratic citizenship and values.
20. All efforts taking place in the school system towards peace education, citizenship and values education, multicultural education, global education or education for sustainable development do include human rights principles in their content and methodologies. It is important that all of them, using this plan of action as a reference, promote a rights-based approach to education, which goes beyond teaching and learning and aims at providing a platform for systemic improvement of the school sector in the context of national education reforms.
Full text of the plan of action: http://www.ohchr.org/english/issues/education/training/programme.htm
(click on Report of the High Commissioner on a proposed plan of action for the first phase of the world programme for human rights education.")
3. 'Learning and living democracy': European Year of Citizenship through Education launched (summarised from a press release from the Council of Europe)
Learn and live democracy - that's the Council of Europe's message for 800 million European citizens during 2005 - the European Year of Citizenship through Education.
Launched on 13 and 14 December the Year aims to bring democracy closer to people by showing how important it is to get involved with issues that concern their everyday lives, including conventional politics and community work.
The Year has been prompted by a trend towards apathy amongst Europe's citizens, evidenced by low turn-outs at recent elections and a general low opinion of politicians and politics. It will focus on children, young people and life-long learning, and use both formal and non-formal education as means for teaching citizenship.
Website of the European Year: http://www.coe.int/T/E/Com/Files/Themes/ECD/
Toolkit for the European Year ('to help professionals and decision-makers put EDC policies into effect in the various national contexts'): http://www.coe.int/T/E/Com/Files/Themes/ECD/outils.asp
4. The International D@dalos Program for Education for Democratic Citizenship (EDC) (more about D@dalos : http://www.dadalos.org/about_us/about_dadalos.htm)
Three New Online Manuals available on www.dadalos.org: Peace Education, Globalisation and United Nations
Peace Education: This Main Subject Group consists of five courses providing a comprehensive overview of the theoretical and scientific background of peace education and presenting a number of good practice examples in the area of conflict resolution and fair play and sports.
Globalisation: The topic of globalisation dealt with in all its facets. D@dalos makes a variety of attempts at a definition; emphasises the multi-dimensionality of the processes involved - which are listed under Globalisation as a generic term; investigates the essential causes, and the resulting problems; and finally deals with strategies for solutions sketched out in the debate.
Both online manuals are currently available in English, German, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian and Macedonian. Albanian, Bulgarian and Romanian versions are expected to be uploaded by the end of the year.
United Nations: This Main Subject Group explains the history and development of the United Nations, its structure and the complex system of attached programs, commissions and specific organisations as well as its problems.
Now available: German. All other language versions will be available by the end of 2004.
Main Subject Groups Planned for 2005:
- Education for Sustainable Development
- Methodological Aids for Teaching Democracy
5. An approach to self-evaluation in HRE
The issue of self-evaluation by teachers/trainers and students as a means of quality assurance and development planning is at the core of contemporary discussions on education in general, and on human rights education and education for democratic citizenship in particular. In order to make human rights education an instrument for a whole school change, it is necessary to alter the policies and practices of teaching/training and learning so as to make all stakeholders knowledgeable and skilled in setting up educational goals, devising and implementing the programmes, evaluating their outcomes and discussing the results.
Such rationale was the basis on which a school self-evaluation instrument was developed in Croatia as an integral part of a comprehensive Primary School Human Rights Education Programme, published in teachers' manual Teaching Rights and Freedoms by the Research and Training Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Citizenship in 2004 through cooperation with HREA and the Netherlands Government.
The approach and the instrument are presented in summary below:
Purpose: the evaluation of HR teaching/training/learning as the basis for school and classroom (self-)planning and development;
Main users: teachers (class), trainers (group), managers (school or other educational
institution), policy-makers, researchers, school inspectors
Main subjects: students, teachers, administration, parents
Main principles of procedures:
Data collection techniques:
Contents: 3 columns:
Outcomes: Classroom/group or school/institution profile as the basis for discussion
and self-development planning
(What teaching/learning areas to observe?)
(What to evaluate?)
|Indicator No. 1:
School Priorities and
|Indicator No. 2:
|Indicator No. 3:
Teaching and Learning Process
Vedrana Spajic-Vrkas, Research and Training Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Citizenship, Faculty of Philosophy University of Zagreb (Croatia), firstname.lastname@example.org
6. Now online: Study guides introducing human rights topics
HREA has developed Human Rights Study Guides. The Study Guides offer introductions to various human rights issues. Each guide briefly introduces the topic, presents definitions, key rights at stake, human rights instruments, and protection and assistance agencies. The guides also offer links to the full text of international treaties relevant to the topic and other useful resources such as teaching and training materials and links to organisations working on the issue.
Currently guides on the following topics are available on-line:
African human rights system, children & youth, European human rights system, ethnic & racial minorities, food & water, freedom of assembly & association, freedom of expression, freedom of movement, housing, Inter-American human rights system, international humanitarian law, persons with disabilities, refugees & internally displaced persons, right to culture, right to a family, right to life, sexual orientation & human rights, slavery & forced labour, sustainable development, the aged, and the United Nations human rights system.
Although the guides are intended for a general audience, we have received enthusiastic feedback particularly from (under)graduate students and teachers about how useful they find the guides in their studies and in the preparation of their teaching activities.
Through the hard work of on-line volunteers from around Europe, the guides will soon all be available in Arabic, Dutch, English, French, German, Russian and Spanish. You can find the Study Guides at: http://www.hrea.org/learn/guides/
Felisa Tibbitts, HREA, email@example.com
7. CIFEDHOP- International Training Centre on Human Rights and
23rd International Session Fundamental Rights: the forgotten objectives of the Millennium?
Target group: teachers, trainers and researchers who have developed activities or innovative projects in human rights education. There will be some fifty participants.
Place and date: Geneva, 4 - 9 July 2005
5, rue du Simplon, CH-1207 Geneva (Switzerland)
Tel.: (+41 22) 735 24 22 ou 736 44 52 Fax : (+41 22) 735 06 53
The goals of this session are:
* to delve further into the issues relating to human rights;
* to present and exchange experiences, methodologies, pedagogical approaches, means of implementation and evaluation;
* to reinforce networking amongst teachers and NGO representatives on human rights education.
Registration fee: 300.-- Swiss Francs
Documentation fee: 200.-- Swiss Francs
Accommodation for the entire week costs 1'300.-- Swiss Francs, including lodging in a double or single room, with breakfast, lunch and dinner, from the evening of Sunday 3 July to Sunday 10 July 2005.
Deadline for applications: 30 April 2005.
8. Some links about the use of drama for citizenship education
Exploring citizenship issues through drama. A Theatre and Citizenship programme, Theatre Royal Stratford East. http://www.citizenshipfoundation.org.uk/main/resource.php?s70
Citizenship issues explored through Drama. REALGAMES workshops
Playing a Part: Drama and Citizenship
Author: Danny Braverman, with a chapter by Carrie Supple of the Citizenship Foundation
|This newsletter is edited by the DARE project, 'Democracy and Human Rights Education in Adult Learning', which receives funding from the European Community (Socrates programme, Grundtvig action).
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