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 and by suggesting policy improvements.
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 against or socially excluded. The CITIZED project aims to support educational policies directed towards enhancing the acquisition of social and civic competences by addressing 4 operational objectives:
Reviewing, analysing, comparing and classifying existing policy approaches to the development of citizenship education (with a specific reference to how teachers and schools are prepared and supported to implement the respective policies), pointing out what works where and at under which conditions, thus identifying inhibiting and enhancing factors in the different contexts.
Production of guidelines and toolkits
Proposing and testing self-assessment instruments and training modules enabling future teachers and in-service teachers to implement effective learning strategies, adequate to develop the set of pupils/student’s competences related to democratic citizenship: this will be done by using the work of the Council of Europe as a reference for context-based national and local strategies.
Good practices and methodological instruments
Developing a collaborative open platform and giving access to good practice examples and methodological instruments for schools implementing “whole school” citizenship education projects; also in this case a key reference will be the “Democratic Schools Network” approach.
Maximising the impact of the project activities in terms of support to inform large scale implementation of the validated good practices.
A comparative and critical review of national and european policies in the field of Citizenship Education
A critical review of recent curricula and national policies in the field of citizenship education, including a classification of the most frequent measures (e.g. curriculum innovation, methodological innovation, extra-school and extracurricular activities, professional development and initial (and in-service) training of teachers, community services for students, project work on SDG, etc).
A Teachers Competences Framework
A stakeholders-validated competence framework for teachers intervening in the field of citizenship education, building on a review of existing models in this field, and an operational model for a European qualification for teachers mostly specialising in this domain.
A CITIZED Whole School Approach Toolkit
A toolkit for schools engaging to become members of the Democratic Schools Network.
A set of Policy Workshops and Recommendations
A set of 5 transnational Policy workshops (MT, IT, BE, AT, FR) to m aximise the dissemination of the project outcomes and the creation of an effective policy impact across EU Member States. The innovation approach proposed by this project is not based on the generation of something absolutely unprecedented in its content, but on the following outcomes:
- Integration of existing elements, coming from existing policy initiatives and previous projects on the same theme, but also development of “missing elements” that will facilitate policy implementation.
- 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.
- Co-creation of innovative instruments and approaches to contextualise existing models.