Civil Society organizations from Croatia, Italy, Macedonia, Slovenia and Spain that are GEAR project partners have years of experience implementing various civic, intercultural and global education programs as well as programs for media literacy. Short descriptions of their programs will be provided.
GONG from Croatia is a civil society organization founded in 1997 to encourage citizens to actively participate in political processes. Its goal is promoting human and civil rights, as well as encouraging and empowering citizens to participate in political processes.
From 2011, GONG has organized Education for civic literacy, a non-formal professional training program for teachers. This professional training program contributes to the development of civic competences as well as social and political competences of educational workers, and it enables them to contribute to the democratization of schools and society. The program educates school teachers through three modules (around 50 hours) on how to teach democratic and active citizenship to students. Given the complexity of the modern social and political processes the program is divided into three parts: political literacy (democracy, citizenship and civil society), EU literacy and media literacy. A program conceptualized in this manner, together with teaching about the most important political concepts and processes, acknowledges the fact that the mass media are very important actors of contemporary political processes and that competence for their critical understanding requires preparation and education. Additionally, since Croatia is a member of the European Union, understanding the European context and its institutions constitutes an important part of civic literacy. The program was developed by GONG staff in cooperation with the experts from the Faculty of Political Science and the Faculty of Law of University of Zagreb. The main goal of this program is to foster civic competences among young people. GONG’s media literacy is mentioned in the report Mapping of media literacy practices and actions in EU28 that explains the importance of media education and provides an overview of the educational programs. GONG has also been developing training sessions for youth about media literacy, against hate speech, for active citizenship, digital democracy and e-participation.
Nansen Dialogue Centre (NDC) from Osijek is a Croatian civil society organization founded in 2001 with the mission of social reconstruction of post-conflict and multi-ethnic communities. For the last 14 years, Nansen Dialogue Centre has been focused on the region of Eastern Croatia which is still burdened with the war consequences and the lack of dialogue and cooperation between people of different ethnic backgrounds. NDC cooperates with schools and implements a program of intercultural education with teachers and students, and, in accordance to actual needs, has recently developed materials for tolerance and inclusion of refugees and migrants.
Having a long experience in facilitating interethnic dialogue in communities, NDC Osijek has developed Training modules for intercultural learning in 2013 for teachers all around Croatia. Intercultural curriculum “Cultural and Spiritual Heritage of the Region” (CSHR) was developed by teachers, parents and expert associates in the post-conflict and multi-ethnic region of Eastern Croatia. The education programme CSHR is a program that opens spaces for children who live in multicultural and multi-ethnic communities to learn more about their own country and the culture and customs of the people who live in this area with the aim of better understanding and respect for others, which is of essential importance for building relationships and intercultural society (http://www.ndcosijek.hr/en/projects/cultural-and-spiritual-heritage-of-the-region/). Curriculum is enabling children of different nationalities in a multicultural community to learn about cultural heritage of all ethnic groups that live in the region so that they get to know each other, understand and respect their differences. CSHR was recognized as a valuable approach for the majority to learn about minorities. The results of evaluation confirm the quality of the program. After a positive evaluation and a recommendation by the Education and Teacher Training Agency programme implementation was initiated. Intercultural activity CSHR is currently being implemented in 23 primary schools all around Croatia and the schools in Vukovar and Dalj are included in this program.
Besides working on intercultural education in primary schools to promote cultural differences and to strengthen the collaboration among youths of all nations through education and film media, NDC Osijek has also developed and implemented a number of activities focusing on high school students, some being implemented locally and some in cooperation with civil society organizations and schools in the region of former Yugoslavia (Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina). Through this, the activities handbook “Intercultural education through the prism of personal histories” was developed. The handbook includes experiences of intercultural education through a specific approach of studying personal histories. In the texts, many theoretical and contextual considerations of intercultural education and personal histories, as a concept and as an approach of studying, are brought up. The handbook contains information about local, national and international projects and programmes (It is available to download from our web site www.ndcosijek.hr).
NDC Osijek and GONG are part of the Croatian informal network of CSOs called GOOD Initiative for quality and systematic introduction of education for human rights and democratic citizenship in the Croatian education system so cooperation with other organizations, schools and experts through educations and public events is continuous all around Croatia.
Mirovni inštitut or the Peace Institute – The Institute for Contemporary Social and Political Studies is a non-profit and research organization based in Slovenia that is developing interdisciplinary research work in various fields of social and human sciences at the national, EU and international levels to connect academic perspective with concrete social and public policy engagement in the fields of human rights, gender equality, media and diverse minorities. The Peace Institute has experiences in educational activities working with teachers and schools on human rights and has developed an education for inclusion of migrants. Besides teachers, students are also included in educational activities of this organization. The workshops in schools led by the PI’s staff are currently focused on the topics such as: hate speech, migrations and the so-called refugee crisis. Another important educational program is the one developed inside the project »With global learning to global goals« consists of workshops on sustainable development goals in connection to global education. Workshops are implemented in schools for students and also for teachers on various specific topics such as human rights, development, gender equality, intercultural dialogue, inequality, globalization, migration, environment, climate changes, water, cotton, food, consumerism, volunteer work, humanitarian aid, etc. The program is implemented by the project consortium consisting of the platform SLOGA, Association Humanitas, Zavod Global, Institute for African Studies, Zavod Voluntariat, Association for Culture and Education PiNA, Peace Institute, ADRA Slovenia, Umanotera, Focus, Amnesty International Slovenia, United Nations Association for Slovenia and Association Hope Jesenice.
Gruppi di Solidarieta’ Internazionale Italia or GSI Italia is a non-governmental organization, founded in 1997 that has been implementing projects focused on: sensitization of the youth on the social and economic relations between the Developed Countries and the Developing Ones, civil society mobilization (with a particular attention given to young people) against racism, homophobia and any other violations of human rights, establishment of an intercultural constructive dialogue among people (especially the young) coming from different continents; support to the migrants, by facilitating their access to formal/non-formal learning programmes; e. international cooperation, through a number of programs implemented in Mexico, DRC, Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo, Morocco (most relevant sectors: food security, water and sanitation, health, gender).
During the last years, GSI Italia gained a relevant experience with the teachers, as well as within the Youth and Training sectors, through the implementation of some projects focused on preventing violent radicalization and promoting democratic values, fundamental rights, intercultural understanding and active citizenship. The activities related to education and training of teachers/educators/social operators are now being upgraded and GSI Italia is included in sharing knowledge through educational activities in the field of project development, global education and intercultural dialogue. GSI Italia has gained significant experience allowing them to share “the lessons learned” with other European / Non-European Associations, Public/Private Bodies, and Schools through the GEAR project.
Fundación Educativa y Asistencial Cives or Cives foundation has worked for more than ten years in Spain promoting the civic and ethical education of people, based on the tradition of secular humanism and pluralism. Its work is based on the idea that the development and upward social mobility of individuals is also linked to their civic and ethic education.
Cives foundation from Spain has worked for more than ten years towards the attainment of full citizenship in a Social and Democratic State of Law. Specializing in the promotion of the education in values, Cives Foundation is committed to education as a means to create citizens with solid democratic values based in solidarity, critical thinking, interculturality and tolerance. The fields of action are, on one side, teachers training on education for democratic citizenship and human rights and, on the other side, the promotion of European citizenship through initiatives that aim to bring citizens closer to EU institutions and contribute to the consolidation of a more participatory democracy.
Since 2005, CIVES has been developing Awareness Program: Towards an intercultural school, a plan that in turn gave birth to the Intercultural School Network, funded by the European Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Spanish Ministry of Employment and Social Security. Activities of this network include: fostering constructive interactions and dialogues between migrants and Spanish society, promoting tolerance and the acceptance of cultural diversity by all. The goal is to remove the obstacles that may prevent foreign people from the full use and enjoyment of their fundamental rights, considering that such obstacles can have a direct impact on their legal status. Following this line of work, in 2012 the course entitled Interculturalism and teaching practice was developed.
This program seeks to raise awareness on the principle of interculturalism among the teaching community, understanding the concept of “intercultural” or “interculturalism”, as a form of cultural pluralism that is endowed with equal rights, respect for difference, interaction and empowerment of the commonalities between individuals and groups, in what concerns values, rights, institutions, interests, etc. (Rodríguez & Souto: 2010, 151). It aims to respect and value diversity as part of our cultural heritage, promote knowledge of Human Rights and the duties of citizens, and fight for real and effective inclusion of immigrants who are nationals of third countries in Spanish society. This training program has been designed following the advice given by the UNESCO in 2006, which stated: “Intercultural education must encompass the pedagogical environment as a whole, as well as other dimensions of educational processes, such as school life and decision-making, training of teachers, curricula, instructional languages, teaching methods and interactions among learners, as well as teaching materials”.
Nansen Dialogue Centre Skopje (NDC Skopje) has extensive experience in providing capacity building and trainings for primary and secondary school teachers, principals, pedagogues, psychologist, and local municipality representatives from the education departments. The training program has developed key stakeholders’ competences in integrated education, inclusion and intercultural competence through a structured set of activities including: study visits, workshops, trainings, cross sector working groups, and developing local schools’ policies and practices that increase the level of integration between the target groups from different ethnic communities and prevent school segregation.
NDC Skopje activities, including primary and secondary school students, support and foster inter-ethnic and inter-cultural tolerance by introducing programs and activities in schools that enable the target groups to develop a mature understanding and attitude about intercultural competence, integration, social background, culture, diversity, gender and disability in order to promote a sensitive awareness about differences and similarities and how to address conflicts and controversy rather than avoiding them. The activities in schools are carried out bilingually (Macedonian- Albanian; Macedonian- Turkish; Macedonian- Vlach language) during the extracurricular activities, and lately, also during the regular teaching process.
The Nansen Model for Integrated Education (NMIE) is the model of education in the Republic of Macedonia which enables successful integration of students, parents and teachers from different ethnic communities through a modern educational process. The Model was developed and practically applied in 2007 after a 2 years’ work on promotion and facilitation of dialogue and reconciliation projects in post-conflict and segregated communities in Macedonia as a result of the benefits and outcomes of the Program for Dialogue and Reconciliation, implemented in post – conflict areas. NMIE is a contemporary educational model that fosters, encourages and integrates multiethnic values, bilingualism and at the same time promotes and supports partnership relations between students, teachers and parents, encourages community participation through establishing harmonious relations based on respecting differences.
The main aim of the Nansen Model for Integrated Education is to promote the integration of students, parents and teaching staff from different ethnic background and with the help of the Programs for students, the Program for cooperation with parents, and the Training programs for teachers to decrease the gap and tendency of segregation. The Nansen Model for Integrated Education has a separate program for students and a program for parents. The Nansen model for integrated education offers integrated bilingual extracurricular activities that allow the cultivation of positive socio–emotional climates and constructive team work in the groups with heterogeneous ethnic composition. The extracurricular activities according to the Nansen Model are implemented before or after the regular teaching process, which is carried out in the native language of the students, and they represent a complement to the compulsory curricular contents. These activities are carried out by a tandem of teachers, who have the opportunity to choose whichever section they want from the three offered in the Annual programs for extracurricular activities (annual programs for both nine–year primary and 4–year secondary education), to implement with their students. Through a wide range of games and encouraging research activities, students develop positive feelings and views on the “other” culture and its values. They also get to know each other, socialize, develop communication and interaction with each other, and learn elementary words and phrases from the other language in a very easy, unobtrusive and spontaneous way. Throughout the years, the model has been successfully implemented in several selected primary and secondary schools in different municipalities of the R. of Macedonia and has demonstrated excellent results. The integrated education model is accepted by all ethnic communities and has demonstrated excellent results in the process of integration of students, teachers and parents through a wide range of program activities. The success of the model was internationally recognized in 2011, when Nansen Dialogue Centre Skopje was awarded by the OSCE – High Commissioner on National Minorities with the Max van der Stoel prize for achieving outstanding results in promoting integrated education and improving co-operation between different ethnic communities. On national level, the Nansen model for integrated education was the basis of development of the important policy paper “Concept for Intercultural Education” that was accepted as an official document of the Ministry for Education and Science in January 2016. In 2012, NDC Skopje and the Ministry of Education and Science of the R. of Macedonia founded the Nansen Model Training Centre, which offers different training programs for teachers, school psychologists, pedagogues and school principals. The programs help the professionals from the field of education strengthen their intercultural competencies, promote and support their personal transformation, and promote the vision of intercultural education with the intention of transformation to be transmitted and reflected in the work with students, parents and other members of the school.
These education programs have proven to be successful, but need to be upgraded, expanded and replicated on a larger scale in order to make a tangible impact both at the national and transnational levels. The GEAR project enabled the project team to exchange experiences with existing course materials, educational approaches and tools, build on these experiences, enhance and upscale, and finally test them in transnational environment.