The project “Policy implementation support and teacher empowerment for CITIZenship Education – CITIZED” was approved by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) of the European Commission. The project, co-funded by the EU Erasmus+ Programme, is coordinated by the International Institute of Humanitarian Law (IIHL) in partnership with the Fondation des Régions Européennes puor la Recherche, l’Education, et la Formation (FREREF) the Organising Bureau of European School Student Union (OBESSU); the Ministry for Education and Employment (MFED) of Malta; the “Zentrum POLIS”; and the Université Côte d’Azur (UCA).
Re-balancing the aims of education from a strict focus on employability towards the capacity of critical thinking and playing an active citizenship role in modern democracies has become a priority recognised by researchers, policy makers and education stakeholders.
The Paris declaration of the European Commission and the articulated activity of the Council of Europe in this field (Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Citizenship – RFCDC, Democratic Schools Network, Education Policy Advisors Network), the OECD new focus on Transformation Competences and the attention paid to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are all indicators that education policy is willing to correct the almost obsessive trend on employability as only concern of education.
However, the different policy initiatives are still far from producing the desired effect on the daily activities of teachers and schools. Frequently, the need to implement the new priorities clashes with consolidated practice and the limited competences of most teachers in this field. Against this background, CITIZED has the ambition to become an effective catalyst of a multiplication process based on teachers’ capacity building and empowerment and schools’ commitment, by filling existing implementation gaps between policy statements and daily practice in the schools. The ultimate desired impact of the project is to drastically increase and improve citizenship education in European Secondary Schools, to the benefit of all students, and particularly of those who, for any reason, risk to be discriminated or socially excluded.
CITIZED started in December 2020 and will last until November 2023. It addresses four categories of target groups: policy makers and other stakeholders participating in the policy making process at the different institutional levels, teachers’ training organisations, school teachers and schools as organisations.
CITIZED innovative approach is based on three main aspects:
1) Integration of existing elements and development of “missing elements” that will facilitate policy implementation
2) Process innovation by bringing the issue of teachers training for democratic citizenship competences in a multi-stakeholder transnational debate involving policy makers, teacher training institutions, teachers and families and reviewing international good practices in view of its potential transferability;
3) Co-creation of innovative instruments and approaches to contextualise existing models
1) Reviewing, analysing, comparing and classifying existing policy approaches to the development of citizenship education, pointing out what works where and at what conditions, thus identifying inhibiting and enhancing factors in the different contexts;
2) Proposing and testing self-assessment and self-reflection instruments and training modules enabling future teachers and in-service teachers to implement effective learning strategies, adequate to develop the set of pupils/students competences related to democratic citizenship;
3) Developing a collaborative open platform and giving access to good practice examples and methodological instruments for schools implementing “whole school” citizenship education projects;
4) Maximising the impact of the project activities in terms of support to large-scale implementation of the validated good practices.