LLLWeek 2023: Citizenship Competences in the European Year of Skills

On 29 November SOLIDAR Foundation participated in the CITIZED Policy Discussion organized by OBESSUFREREF and IIHL. The event was hosted in the framework of the Lifelong Learning Platform’s (LLLP) Lifelong Learning Week 2023 and took a closer look at the CITIZED policy recommendations on citizenship education. CITIZED aims to increase and improve citizenship education in European secondary schools by filling existing implementation gaps between policy statements and daily practice in the schools and by suggesting policy improvements.

Panelist Shams Asadi (Human Rights Commissioner and head of the Human Rights Office of the City of Vienna) applauded the human rights based that is embedded in the project and underlines the need to work with local communities in order to ensure successful implementation. The latter was echoed by Marta Concepción Mederos (Vice President LLLP) who emphasized the need to put citizenship education in practice in the real community and connect it with local realities. When doing so, “citizenship education can’t be put into practice if we don’t exercise mental, environmental and social wellbeing”, she stressed.

“There seems to be a gap between intention and implementation when it comes to citizenship education”, Mikael Leyi (Secretary General SOLIDAR & SOLIDAR Foundation) pointed out while emphasizing the need for a renewed political will to implement citizenship education. He added that a multistakeholder approach to citizenship education is key in this respect, especially given the fact that civil society organisations are one of the key providers of citizenship education. Despite this, their involvement is often overlooked by certain actors. Panelists also called for the need to improve the conditions of the teacher profession and to offer educators more time to follow teacher training on the topic of citizenship education.

Prior to the policy discussion, Tony Venables, presented the European Citizens Initiative (ECI) “I’m going European” which aims to add an EU dimension to citizenship education activities which are already being carried out in national curricula. Interested to know more? Find out more on this interesting ECI and how to support it by clicking the following link.

Participants were also given the chance to discuss and give feedback on the challenges related to citizenship education identified by CITIZED. Find out more about the project’s development here.