Outcome of Experts’ Meeting: English Version

CONTENT

The group discussed the themes/topics they believe should be addressed at the conference from a socio-political angle that structure our understanding and approaches of CE content (i.e. use specific methodologies, pedagogical approaches, tools, strategies, etc).

The content group was divided into 3 subgroups to delve into the conference’s themes/topics through the following angles:

  • Powerlessness
  • Social inequality
  • Formal versus nonformal/informal education
  1. HUMAN RIGHTS
    1. REFLECTION QUESTION: Do you need knowledge on human rights among citizens in order to eradicate social inequality/poverty, or do you need social equality first in order to secure human rights?
    2. Knowledge about human rights via CE brings change in attitude and change in behavior (citizens can express and demand social security, social rights, etc)
    3. CONTROVERSIAL TOPIC: Could cultural norms be used as an argument to infringe on human rights?
  2. DIGITAL ERA
    1. BLIND SPOT: CE digital literacy programs do not provide tools to address social inequality.
    2. CONTROVERSIAL TOPIC: Can the use of civic education decrease the negative effects of digitalization?
    3. CONTROVERSIAL TOPIC: Should we be worried about the excessive use of digital tools?
    1. COUNTERING VIOLENT EXTREMISM
  3. MIGRATION/REFUGEES: Should training for migrants and refugees be more “aggressive” to help newcomers integrate into the local culture.
  4. YOUTH
    1. REFLECTION QUESTION: Is social solidarity a means or an end?
    2. HOT ISSUE/INNOVATIVE IDEA: In order to tackle violent extremism resulting from social inequality, we need to provide an alternative narrative via social entrepreneurship improving inclusivity and social mobility.
    3. REFLECTION QUESTION: Should we rethink religious education as a topic?
  5. SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP
    1. How can we launch and officialize civic education clubs in order to create and foster a social entrepreneurship mindset?
  6. RELIGION
    1. BLIND SPOT: How can civic education and religious discourse coexist and jointly promote peace?
  7. MEDIA
    1. REFLECTION QUESTION: How can we foster critical thinking amongst citizens in their relationship with the media?
  8. ARTS&CULTURE
    1. REFLECTION QUESTION: How can we make use of the arts and culture in implementing civic education?
  9. MAINSTREAMING GENDER
    1. How to implement gender values in all aspects of education (formal and nonformal) from a young age?
    2. HOT TOPIC: How to change the image of women in educational books/textbooks?

ADVOCACY

  1. CE should prepare people and communities to mobilize and to advocate for their causes.
  2. Should schools be the only providers of CE?
  3. CE programs should be compulsory.
  4. Make CE interesting and appealing through interactive and innovative techniques.
  5. Select the less problematic areas of advocacy as a start: ex. environment.
  6. Avoid politicization of advocacy and focus on it being part of CE
  7. Through fostering changes in individual behavior and mindset, CE can provide sustainable positive change.
  8. How to reform CE to take into consideration the knowledge of new generations.
  9. Coordination between CE providers (CSOs, state, etc.)
  10. What is advocacy for CE?
    1. Familiarize ourselves with the diverse public concerns to gain public support
    2. Mobilization of all stakeholders to achieve sustainable, official, and institutional changes.
    3. Become an architect of dialogue and a broker of the process
  11. Community engagement for CE
    1. Listen to and hear the needs of community
    2. Ask the community how to integrate CE in community life
    3. Get the community to become an advocate for CE
    4. Bridge the community bubbles and comfort zones
  12. Religion and CE
    1. The relationship between CE and religion is highly contextual
    2. Work on common understanding and mutual trust between CE and religion
    3. Excluding religion, a significant part of the community, can be potentially be very destructive one day.
  13. Strong opponents
    1. Focus on the small projects and quick wins to advocate one’s causes to the, “others”
    2. Use social media to disseminate results and raise awareness to get public support
    3. Use proper, exact terminology to avoid misunderstanding
    4. Analyze the source of power and try to use that power to your favor

INSTITUTIONALIZATION

Different approaches to Institutionalization with their pros and cons

  1. Bottom up
    1. Relies on existing
  2. Top down

Dilemmas to institutionalization

  1. Democratization and inclusivity of stakeholders and levels (government, civil society and general culture)
  2. Institutionalization path (Process, formalization, sustainability, citizens involvement) and tools for that
  3. Institutionalizing CE concerns society as a whole. As such, the process should be participatory and inclusive for both governmental and nongovernmental stakeholders. One of the challenges of inclusivity is managing divergent perspectives and values.
  4. Independent CE states should be able to retain their independence, regardless of change of governments. Equally important, nongovernmental organizations, working with governmental funds should be free to access information and to implement their CE work based on their mission and not on the government’s preferences.
  5. Both curricular and extracurricular CE contain pros and cons. Curricular CE has a wide outreach, but could be misused in non-democratic societies for indoctrination purposes. Extra-curricular CE is more flexible, but depends on availability of CSOs, the motivation/skills of teachers, availability of resources, and is not always taken seriously by students and their parents.
  6. Even the greatest institutional set-up cannot make up for lack of general culture of civility of its members.
  7. The lack of clear distinction between moral/religious beliefs and civic values creates confusion about the concept of citizenship. This statement paves the way to a larger conversation about a number of concepts, including private life, public life, and the role of different institutions, including religious, their interaction, local, national and regional traditions, acknowledging the fact the globalization brings in even more challenges.

COMMUNICATION

Civic education does not limit itself to national education or conveying information; it also allows for the development of critical thinking and social skills, and provides opportunities through a supportive environment.

  1. In civic education everyone has the right to express himself and to find ways to get everybody involved.

The dilemma: is this possible?

  1. How do we deal with those who want to participate and exclude the, “others”?
  2. What happens when communication efforts “fails”?
  3. Strategic communication through :
    1. The promotion of the concept of citizenship and civic education begins by building a system of shared values on the concept of civic education and institutionalizing community initiatives in the field of life skills
    2. The development of Civic education will remain incomplete if young people, women and silent groups cannot participate in decision-making .
  4. Civic education is not only limited to formal learning spaces, but it also takes place in everyday human interaction.

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