Citizenship education and youth empowerment

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Citizenship education and youth empowerment

20-03-2017

There is a general consensus that the future of any society relies on its youth.  Yet the consensus may not be that great on the idea of facilitating the tremendous force of adolescent life to move the society further and into a better scenario of equity, equality and growth.

The knowledge of the power of youth for a better live should bring us to invest heavily and intelligently to allow this power to grow and expand and impregnate everything.    In this context citizenship education should not be understood as something to teach, learn and repeat.  Because precisely what we do not want is to perpetuate our mistakes and unfairness.   What we want is our children to reach levels of prosperity and fairness that we have not been able to achieve ourselves.  Hence, poor would be our contribution if our goal was to pretend to teach them to be like us.

As pointed out by the International Juvenile Justice Observatory, young people in early adolescence start to think in more abstract ways about problems. From approximately their 12th birthday young people acquire the ability to reflect on more abstract cases. Matters such as poverty, justice, fairness and love attract much attention from young adolescents. Step by step, they start to reflect on relationships and on themselves as persons with a past, present and future. Abstract thinking develops gradually over the course of adolescence until around the age of 17 or 18 when this ability no longer notably improves.

Citizenship Education is a venue to provide inputs for children to grow practicing the exercise of dialogue, conflict management, respect to gender equality and tolerance for sexual, cultural and religious diversity in the school and outside the school. It means also to learn how to rule and be ruled, develop recognition of and respect for oneself and others with a view to achieving greater mutual understanding, learn to behave responsibly towards others, in short, a responsible and reasoned citizenship.

Our future relies on our youth and our youth is in the hands of our teachers, therefore, the core investment for our future should be in our teachers.  The talk of moving from theory to practice and get tangible results should focus, first and foremost, in recognizing the enormous burden that the teachers carry and our responsibility to support them in all possible ways. And this project aims at contributing to that.

Citizenship education is approached here as continuous process in which the teachers enhance their capacities to guide the children to think and practice the rights, duties and responsibilities that they could and should have according to their range of age.

To train teachers to train children and youth to become part of a democratic society is done upon the assumption that to practice responsibilities while learning them in any and every subject being taught at the school, contributes to professional and social success at the adult live.  And that this success reduces greatly the likelihood of exclusion and radicalization. It also helps to strengthen the role of the school as a vehicle for the prevention discrimination and other forms of violence against women.

The Forming Responsible Citizen project is being implemented in the Mediterranean region, and this geographical framework should facilitate the implementing partners to share their experiences, lessons learned and challenges to this assumption and to work towards making it more and more real every day that passes.

 

CEO ideaborn

Jaume Guardans

 


Labeled by Union for Mediterranean

And financing by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Norway,

& the Principality of Monaco

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