Curriculum Development and Review for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education
Prepared by Felisa Tibbitts for UNESCO, the Council of Europe, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and the Organization of American States (2015).
From the Foreword:
Education for democratic citizenship and human rights education are vital for the achievement of peaceful, sustainable and inclusive societies based on respect for the human rights of every person. The strengthening of education policies in the fields of education for democratic citizenship and human rights lies at the very heart of the work of the Council of Europe, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and the Organization of American States. These organisations have jointly produced this publication in order to support their member and participating states’ commitment to fostering citizenship and human rights education and improving access to quality education for all. Moreover, this publication is a contribution to the Global Education First Initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, launched in 2012. This initiative made fostering global citizenship one of its three overarching priorities for education, providing an additional impetus for action in this area and sending a strong message of support to education professionals throughout the world.
Effective teaching and learning processes require well-trained teachers, positive learning environments and high-quality learning materials. Education policy underpins each of these dimensions, including through curriculum development and review, which is the main focus of this resource. This publication aims to explore current trends, facilitate an exchange of experiences and improve access to expertise in advancing curriculum development and reform in the fields of democratic citizenship and human rights education. While there are many different ways of doing this, due to the diversity of contexts in member states, there are also a number of commonalities. Thus, it is possible to identify key steps in the development of curriculum and planning for implementation. There are also fundamental processes that reflect the very principles of democratic citizenship and respect for human rights, including active consultation with all those concerned and efforts at transparency. Inclusive processes for developing curricula in this area help to ensure the legitimacy and effectiveness of the policies adopted.
We hope that this publication will provide valuable insights and inspiration to education decision makers and curriculum developers, and more generally to those interested in the strengthening of democratic citizenship and human rights. Each individual who plays a role in education processes – a student, a parent, a teacher, a school director, a policy maker, a curriculum developer, a planner or other – makes a vital contribution by translating the curriculum and aims of democratic citizenship and human rights into everyday experiences. We therefore hope that this publication will reach many readers, and that it will prove to be a useful support for numerous endeavours in this area.
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