Defence of education for democratic citizenship and human rights

On this occasion, Croatian civil society organizations would like to support the Memorandum to the Council of Europe regarding the Spanish government’s project to remove democratic citizenship and human rights education in school curriculum, and also express full support to the Spanish civil society organizations in their struggle to defend Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights in school curriculum.

Although democratic and educational systems in many European countries are threatened by neoliberal policies and market fundamentalism to which democracy and education are seen as yet another commercial product whose usage value should primarily serve the interests of financial capital and economic and political power centers, we believe that education for democratic citizenship and human rights is a beam of light in the educational system as it creates the minimum conditions for development of future generations as active and responsible people and citizens prepared for creation of the culture of peace and non-violence, for respect for human rights, for a better understanding of the society in which they live in, for understanding of other cultures, political processes and accountable decision-making.

In Croatia, currently is undergoing a trial curriculum of Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights for which we hope that it will become an integral part of the school curriculum. Also,  Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights is one of the major advocacy activities of Platform 112 – a coalition of civil society organizations engaged for many years in the protection of human rights, democratization and peace-building.

For these reasons we consider absolutely unacceptable the decision of the Spanish government to remove the Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights from school curriculum in the draft education reform (Ley Organica para la Mejora de la Calidad Educativa – “Education Act for the Improvement of Educational Quality”), despite various rullings of the Supreme Court, which rejected each of the arguments presented by opponents of Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human
Rights, starting with the rulling of 11th of February 2009.

In addition to the cancellation of the program, signatory organizations express criticism to the introduction of restrictions on democratic participation in schools and involvement of school councils whose role in the work of schools would become only advisory. Also we express concern that the the bill does not define the NGOs and social organizations as part of the fundamental instruments of the educational system, but instead allows business aspects to take prevalence.

Organizations from Croatia supporting the Memorandum:

GOOD initiative for systematic and quality implementation of Education for Human Rights and Democratic Citizenship in the educational system
Protagora – Association for protection of irreligious people and promotion of irreligious view of the world.
Serb Democratic Forum – SDF

“Krka” Knin
HOMO Association for Promotion of Human Rights and Civic Liberties
Association for Human Rights protection and Humanitarian Activities “Dalmatian solidarity committee”
Ecological Society of Brod
Green Osijek

B.a.B.e. – Be active. Be emancipated.
Human Rights House
CMS – Center for Peace Studies
Women’s Room
Association for Self Advocacy

Documenta – Centre for Dealing with the Past
Centre for Education, Counselling  and Research (CESI)
Forum for Freedom in Education
Center for Civic Courage

Woman’s Association „Izvor“
Croatian Youth Network