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MALI KORAK - Centre for Culture of Peace and nonviolence • Kraljevec 77a, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia • t. 01 4578 341 • f. 01 4578 341 • e. mkorak@zamir.net

Kraljevec 77a, Zagreb,

tel./fax. 01 4578 341

e-mail: mkorak@zamir.net

Centre for Culture of Peace and Nonviolence

round table

Postulates – starting points for discussion

Education for human rights and democracy is accepted as a legitimate and important part of the system of education in Croatia. However, there is no real evaluation of how much the educational system really contributes to learning about human rights, democracy and active citizenship. The decision not to introduce it as a special program or course was supposed to situate that learning across curriculum i.e. in all existing more or less appropriate programs. Without relevant research and evaluation, it is not possible to say how successful was this aim and what is the quality of the results. On the other hand, the educational institutions are structured on ancient tradition of authoritarianism that is partly shaken only by the efforts of especially innovative teachers and other practitioners. Authoritarian understanding of society and politics that survived even the 'democratic changes' of 1990 permeates all educational programs and their accompanying textbook production. Beside some ad hoc analysis of textbooks, there has been no research on how that interrelation of institutional structures, educational methods and contents influences the authoritarianism or democratic quality of the forms of consciousness of generations that go through that process.

In almost incessant discussions on the reforms of the entire educational system, as well as in little less frequent discussions on educational methods, the question of specific contents – knowledge, abilities and attitudes significant for democratic behaviour of young citizens – remains mostly in shadows. The round table discussion has thus concentrated on three questions:

  1.  What knowledge, abilities and attitudes are offered by the existing educational system to young generations that enable them to learn about their democratic rights and to use them?
    What implicit insights and attitudes toward social relations are promoted by the courses such as history, languages and literature? What do courses such as ethics; politics and economy contribute to learning for democracy? Is socio-scientific research of attitudes and knowledge neglected as an element of the evaluation of the educational system? ...

  2. What are the familiar alternatives, international models, local innovations and practices of other forms of informal education /learning for democracy?
    Can democracy be imported and is education a 'channel' of such a transfer? What is the relation between learning and practicing democracy in formal and informal education? What is the relation between learning within formal educational system and being active through initiatives and groups of the civil society?

  3. What should be changed in formal and informal education /learning for democracy, and how?


 

dilemmas in education for democracy
why does democracy need schools?
why do schools need democracy?

October 25th 2003
Novinarski dom, Zagreb