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In the official education system, the French-speaking Community has introduced citizenship education as a separate subject since 2015.
The main general aims of citizenship education are defined in the decree of 24 July 1997 on the missions of school. They are common for primary and secondary school.
- Promote self-confidence and self-development of each pupil
- Bring pupils to appropriate knowledge and acquire skills to be capable of learning and to take an active part in the social, cultural and economic life
- Prepare every pupils to be responsible citizens, capable of contributing to the development of democratic, solidarity, pluralist society receptive to others cultures
- Ensure for every pupils equal chances for social emancipation.
Further information in section 5.7 "Learning to participate" through formal, non-formal and informal learning
Non formal and informal learning
- Call for projects for the Promotion of citizenship and Interculturality (promotion de la citoyenneté et de l’interculturalité)
The Minister of Youth, equal opportunities and women’s rights has initiated in 2016 a dispositive to support actions aiming at strengthening harmonious cohabitation (vivre ensemble). The main topics addressed are:
- Youth education to citizenship ;
- Promotion of intercultural dialogue and racism prevention ;
- Protection and promotion of the rights of migrant persons, in particularly women’s rights.
It addresses associations and local powers. For the year 2017, the budget allocated amounts to 1 450 000 euros..
- International Youth Office’s programmes
- The programme BEL’J
The 3 Belgian Ministers for Youth finalised in 2009 an agreement about the creation of a programme “Bel’J”. This aims to promote young volunteers mobility and youth exchanges between the 3 Belgian communities.
- « Summer solidarity, I am a partner» (Été solidaire je suis partenaire)
This programme aims at promoting citizenship education and bringing generations together, while providing a first employment experience. This operation allows local public services (municipalities, public centres for social action, public housing corporations) to hire young people to perform little work in their neighbourhood during summer holidays. The operation targets young people from 15 to 21, coming from the areas where the actions take place.
This programme is ongoing since 1994. The responsible authority is the Walloon Minister of Social Action. The service in charge of the implementation of the programme is the Department of Social Cohesion.
According to the Social Cohesion Department’s website, the total amount allocated was 1 208 000 euros. The total budget in 1994 (at the launch of the programme) was 115 920 euros.
As main outcomes, the Social Cohesion Department shares about the success of the programme on its website. The increasing success is observed through statistics and annual reports: from 150 projects with 1268 young people in 1997 to 415 projects with more than 2769 young people in 2013.
- Youth associations
Many youth associations work as well on intercultural awareness. They develop punctual projects with young people to promote intercultural dialogue to facilitate understanding, acceptance and tolerance of others cultures. For instance, the youth organisation "Les compagnons batisseurs ASBL".
The Observatory of Childhood, Youth and Youth Welfare
Belgium is a signatory of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The Observatory of Childhood, Youth and Youth Welfare is charged by the Community’s Government to promote this Convention to the population.
The Observatory is charged by the government to implement the article 42 (promoting the principles of the Convention in the French-Speaking Community) and 44 (reporting to the UN the measures taken at national level related to the Convention) of the UN Convention. In this context, the Observatory is notably in charge of the follow-up and the evaluation of the Action Plan for the Rights of Child adopted by the French-speaking Community Government and the Walloon Region.
The Observatory coordinates the Permanent Group for the follow-up of the UN Convention. The Group’s missions include:
- The exchange of information and the share about initiatives which ensure the promotion and the implementation of the Rights of Child from local to international level
- The participation to the elaboration of the national report as aimed by the article 44 of the UN Convention
- Give importance to what children say.
The Observatory has also created a database listing all information, education tools or training processes related to the Rights of Child existing in the French-speaking Community and French-speaking countries (Switzerland, Canada, France). These materials may be books, exhibitions, plays, and websites. They are all related to subjects referred in the UN Convention (participation, minors in the migration, right for family life, etc.). This database addresses young people, youth workers or anyone interested in.
The Observatory has also published on its website 5 “child-friendly” reports. The aim is to inform children about decisions which affect them by offering them accessible and easy content.
The General Delegate of the Rights of Child
The General Delegate of the Rights of Child (Délégué Général aux droits de l’enfant) has for mission to ensure the protection of the rights and interests of every child and young people. He is an ombudsman. He has the moral authority to stop any social exclusion or marginalisation process he notices. He is appointed directly by the Government of the French-speaking Community.
29 Youth Information Centres are recognised by the the French-speaking Community. Their aim is to inform young people about their rights, their duties and every subject that might interest youth (employment, health, international mobility, etc.). They use various communication tools (website, events, information folder, etc.). These youth associations are recognised and funded by the Youth Department. They don’t target groups of young people but they sometimes work with a thematic.
Some Youth Organisations and some Youth Centres work also on youth rights. For instance, the Youth Organisation “Youth and Rights” (Jeunesse et Droit ASBL) work specifically on this thematic though 3 axes: edition of a monthly magazine, trainings offered to youth workers and animations.
Youth Welfare Sector
Services for Youth Rights are recognised and funded by the Youth Welfare Department. They are recognised as "support services opened to young people" (Services d’aide en milieu ouvert - AMO). They offer social and legal information about any problem a young people may encounter (access to social security, school dropout, etc.). They also offer social support to young people if requested.
At the Community-wide level
The Government of the French-speaking Community developped in 2016 a global network to take in charge extremisms and violent radicalisation. It offers to citizens and professionals a support regarding the prevention of any forms of extremism and violent radicalisation. 2 services are dedicated to this measure:
1. The Resource Center of the Network (Le CREA - Centre de ressources et d'appui du Réseau) ;
2. The Support Center for persons affected by extermisms and violent radicalisation (Le CAPREV - Centre d'Aide et de Prise en charge de toute personne concernée par les Extrémismes et Radicalismes Violents).
The network also includes:
- Le Service des équipes mobiles de l’Enseignement obligatoire : this service is composed of external experts specialised in crisis management. They take action to support schools in case of problems or crisis, linked among others things to extermisms or violent radicalisation.
- Points of contact within the various administation of the Ministry in order to bring responses and support to stakeholders in every field of competences (youth, education, etc.).