4.5 Initiatives promoting social inclusion and raising awareness
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Cross-curricular themes in Education
Most initiatives for promoting intercultural awareness among young people take place in formal education. Intercultural awareness is included in the transversal objectives for education, more specific within the context of the key competences for citizenship in the first and second grade of secondary education and the objectives concerning the socio-cultural society for the third grade (more information on the final goals for education can be found here). With regard to the key competences for citizenship, pupils must learn, among other things, to understand the formation and dynamics of (their own) identities and to deal with diversity in living and working together.
Cross-curricular themes in Education
Most initiatives on young people’ rights take place in formal education by means of transversal themes, more specific within the context of the key competences for citizenship and the juridical key competences in the first grade of secondary education (more information on the final goals for education can be found here). Pupils have to realise competences regarding children’s rights (knowing what their rights are and respecting the rights of others).
The Flemish Office of the Children’s Rights Commissioner (Kinderrechtencommissariaat)
The Flemish Office of the Children's Rights Commissioner detects (warning) signs from children, young people, their immediate environment and professionals. It mediates, investigates complaints and provides policy advice - always with a view to compliance with and the application of children’s rights in Flanders.
The Office of the Children's Rights Commissioner was created by Flemish Parliament Act (Decree creating a Commission for Children's Rights and establishing the post of Commissioner for Children's Rights, 15th July 1997). The Children's Rights Commissioner is appointed by the Flemish Parliament.
It has two spearheads in its functioning:
- A Complaint Line for children and young people: investigation and mediation
- Advisory work for the Flemish Parliament, the Government of Flanders, administrations and agencies, international or foreign authorities.
The Children's Rights Coalition Flanders (Kinderrechtencoalitie Vlaanderen)
The children's rights coalition brings together the forces of 25 civil society organizations around the theme of children's rights. The Children's Rights Coalition supervises compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Belgium by:
- Collecting and disseminating information and expertise on children's rights
- Actively promoting and raising awareness on children's rights
- Reporting to the Children's Rights Committee in Geneva
The website of Unicef Belgiumprovides teaching resources (lesson plans, educational videos, information on children’s websites, brochures, …) for teachers on children and young people’s rights. They also organize workshops and trainings for teachers.
Key initiatives by the Flemish Minister of Education
In 2018, the Flemish minister of education Hilde Crevits awarded 200,000 euros to seven projects to strengthen vulnerable young people and to combat polarization and radicalization. By means of these projects she wanted to strengthen pupils, teachers and principals in their fight against polarization and radicalization and to strengthen vulnerable pupils. The projects are subsidized on the basis of two calls. The first call focused on projects to strengthen the position of vulnerable young people, to promote a positive school career and to prevent school dropout, juvenile crime and radicalization (more info in Dutch). The second call concerned grants for the prevention of polarization at school and the management of difficult conversations and class situations (more info in Dutch).
Key initiatives by the Flemish Minister of Youth and Minister for Integration
At the end of 2015, Flemish Minister of Youth (Sven Gatz) and Minister for Integration (Liesbeth Homans) jointly launched the call for projects 'Positive identity development among young people'. With the project call, the ministers wanted to focus on strengthening the position of young people and young adults in society and on increasing their social involvement. The ministers mainly wanted to support projects that could turn feelings of exclusion or injustice into positive engagements and that would give young people meaning in the future. The call for projects was part of the Flemish action plan for the prevention of radicalization, which was approved by the Flemish Government in the spring of 2015. A total of seven projects were subsidized, which started on 1 March 2016. The projects have ended, but more information or material can still be found online.