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New Toolkit for Teachers and Educators on Citizenship, Memory, and a Culture of Peace in El Salvador

The Educational Policies Program of the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR) is pleased to announce the publication of Citizenship, Memory, and a Culture of Peace in El Salvador: A Toolkit for Teachers and Educators, an educational material designed to facilitate work on democratic citizenship, memory, and a culture of peace in schools and other educational spaces for children and adolescents in El Salvador. The Toolkit was created in collaboration with the National Office of the Ombudsman (la Procuraduría para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos – PDDH) and the Ministry of Education of El Salvador (MINED).

This project started in July of 2016, when, in collaboration with the PDDH – a Focal Point of the Latin American Network for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention, the Auschwitz Institute took up an initiative to design an educational project. The resulting effort, which aims to become public policy at the national level,  contributes to reinforcing El Salvador’s democratic values and culture of peace while taking into account the historical, educational and social realities of the country.

Constructed on an innovative and participative methodology, the project began with the formation of a working group containing approximately 30 individuals who belong to public institutions, civil society, and the educational community in El Salvador. This working group would then accompany the formulation and implementation of the project, from start to finish.

Third Working Group Meeting, San Salvador, December 2017

After convening on several occasions, the working group approved a proposal for the development of a toolkit for teachers and managers of educational centers. The principal objective of the toolkit is to contribute to the strengthening of working being done by educational institutions in the promotion of democratic citizenship and a culture of peace.

Designed in such a way as to adapt itself to the social and educational realities of the country, the toolkit additionally looks to integrate itself into the series of efforts by the Ministry of Education that have taken place since 2017 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the 1992 Peace Accords. These efforts include the promotion of a culture of peace through education, and especially through the mobilization of a new course on Morals, Urbanity, and Civics.

Developed over the course of 2017 and 2018 by two expert Salvadoran educators and approved during a validation meeting by the working group, the preliminary toolkit document was presented to the educational community at the Second International Meeting on Peace Culture: Education, Memory and Human Rights in San Salvador, which was organized by AIPR, the National Institute for Teacher Training (el Instituto Nacional de Formación Docente [INFOD]) and MINED in October of 2018.

Second International Meeting on Peace Culture, October 2018. [L-R] Carlos Rodríguez (INFOD), Carlos Canjura Linares (Ministro de Educación) y Clara Ramírez Barat (AIPR)
Composed of three books, following a brief methodological introduction, the bulk of the toolkit takes the shape of two different modules. The first, on Memory and Citizenship, is a proposal for strengthening the capacity of teachers to cover democratic citizenship the classroom beginning with sensitive, critical, and pluralistic reflection on the recent past of El Salvador. The second module, On A Culture of Peace and Coexistence, looks to offer a set of strategies to teachers and managers of education centers that will contribute to the prevention of scholastic violence while strengthening the role and resources of schools to confront this problem.

As a whole, the objective of the two modules is to strengthen the capacity of teachers, educators, and educational managers to work on democratic citizenship in school and contribute to strengthening a culture of peace in El Salvador. Equally, the document is designed for interested organizations of civil society to be able to use the toolkit outside the bounds of formal education.

The first print run of 1,350 copies of the toolkit will be distributed at zero cost to teachers and educators in El Salvador. Following this, the Auschwitz Institute has been at work with the PDDH and MINED to raise awareness among the Salvadoran population on the toolkit and to train both teachers and members of civil society on its use. The toolkit materials are available for free download here.

The Director of AIPR’s Educational Policy Program, Dr. Clara Ramírez Barat, explains her satisfaction with the progress that has been made:

After more than two long years of work, we can see that many people have not only trusted in our proposal but have accompanied us throughout this process. The Auschwitz Institute is very happy with the results and remains grateful for the support that it has received thus far. Now, the challenge will be to help teachers to take ownership of the materials and maximize their potential through implementation in the classroom. The publication of an educational document that clearly defends the importance of including issues related to memory, a culture of peace, and human rights needs to be part of a broader effort to include these issues in the national curriculum.