The mission of the Jaan Tõnisson Institute (JTI) is to promote
forming and strengthening civil society in Estonia. Since the
beginning of its activities JTI has considered education to be one of
the key issues in that process.
For introducing and teaching the ideas of democracy at school, the
Institute created an independent Civics Programme in 1993. The main
goal of the Programme was to support the compulsory school teachers in
teaching about the basics of Democracy in the classrooms.
The importance of teaching Civics in a transition society like Estonia
was fully recognised by the State in 1996, when Civics was
incorporated into the Estonian National Curriculum as an independent
and compulsory school subject.
In 1996, the Civics Programme was developed into an independent
substructure of the Jaan Tõnisson Institute: Civic Education Centre (CEC).
During the years we have broadened dealing with Democracy Education
also in other spheres of society than education. We have established
partnership relations with plenty of partners in Estonia and abroad.
Today there are various areas of activities for the CEC related to
civics mainstreaming. The activities of the Centre are diverse,
including research, in-service training courses, developing teaching
materials, publishing, consulting, providing expertise etc.
In 1999, UNESCO Secretary General Mr Frederico Mayor and Estonian
Minister of Culture Ms Signe Kivi signed a declaration about
establishing an UNESCO Chair in Civic Education and Multicultural
Studies at the CEC.