Citizenship and Democracy in School

The Citizenship and Democracy in School project has as its objective the creation of spaces for the promotion of a pluralistic dialogue that are based in mutual respect and a recognition of diversity within the classrooms of the Brazilian public education system. It works as a tool that prevents increases in prejudice, intolerance, and discrimination while promoting the participation of young people in the construction of a more tolerant democratic, and solidarity-minded society.The project and its accomplishments come as the result of a fruitful collaboration between the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR), the Federal Prosecutor for the Rights of the Citizen (MPF) , and the National Secretariat for Global Protection (MMFDH). It was initiated in 2017, following a consultation process that boasted the participation of approximately 100 individuals including representatives of civil society, public officials, educators, and students.

Starting with the existing educational framework in Brazil and keeping in mind the reality that professors live in their schools, the project represents a proposal for working throughout the school year on a democratic citizenship project with students between 13 and 18 years old.

For its implementation, participating professors completed a training process and also received a copy of the project’s pedagogical guide. This guide contains all of the necessary information to be able to roll out Citizenship and Democracy in School to the classroom.

Currently divided in two parts, the project looks to consider a series of questions with students in the classroom. Spread across five different thematic axes, the first phase provides a framework for covering a broad series of themes including: 1) identity and diversity, 2) dignity and respect, 3) human rights, 4) democracy and the right to information, and 5) citizenship, cooperation, and solidarity.

The second phase, for its part, works to stimulate the participation of students through the development of their own research projects. These projects, completed in groups, allow students to explore and develop their own particular interests and concerns. As a final product, each group produces a video to represent their work on a specific topic or theme. These videos can be presented to the community as a tool for peer-to-peer education.

In 2018, the initiative’s successful development was made possible by its pilot phase, which was rolled out in seven of the country’s public schools – two in the Federal District of Brasilia and five in Sao Paulo – in collaboration with the Secretaries of Education from each state. In 2019, the Auschwitz Institute anticipates involving a total of 70 teachers and coordinators from up to 25 schools in the project, while the total number of students is still being finalized. Moving forward, the prioritization of expansion efforts will serve as a bridge for increasing the reach of the project to other Brazilian states in 2020.

 

View the project videos at

Citizenship and Democracy in School