4.5 Initiatives promoting social inclusion and raising awareness
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Paris Declaration from 2015 set a path for future development in inclusion and civic education of young people in Europe.
Eurydice publication might invoke an impression that the Czech Republic is rather inactive, since the Czech Republic did not start with implementation of any measures since the Paris Declaration approval. However, this impression is partially caused by the data collection method, where only changes after March 2015 were taken into consideration. Changes are taking place in the long-term and implementation is already ongoing. However, these ongoing changes were not taken into consideration by the Eurydice report.
Intercultural awareness in the Czech Republic in particular is dealt with in the context of curricular documents at the State level of framework educational programmes (FEP). Under these programmes, we can find several terms that are related to this phenomenon being used, these are: multicultural education, intercultural communication, and intercultural contacts. The term intercultural learning is used in documents originating from the European level, or in the context of the initiatives of NGOs.
Specifically, we can find in the multicultural education FEP for basic education, and the FEP for high school, where it is one of the cross-cutting issues. These are to be implemented by institutions providing basic education in the Czech Republic as their own school educational plans; these institutions handle them depending on the above FEP. The FEP for vocational education also contains the term multicultural competence, however, this does not appear as a separate cross-cutting theme, but as one of the minor topics listed under other thematic units. The FEP referred to above also considers methodological materials, published on the website of the National Institute of Education.
However, the difference in name means also a difference in approaches and education methodologies and goals, as the National Institute for Children and Youth mentioned in education for non-formal learning, and also the publication More than Culture published in 2017 reminds us. Especially practical teachers are often getting confused and thus the topic is often purely taught.
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports has also supported the specific grant programme, training of asylum seekers and the integration of immigrants in the past. This programme allowed schools to get additional funding to cover the specific costs that may arise in the context of the specific needs of the education and integration of foreigners; the last such subsidy programme was opened in the year 2012.
Overall, therefore, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports provides the basic legal framework for educational curricula in the Czech Republic, part of which at certain levels of education is also a multicultural education, and at the same time through direct management by the organisation also seeks to provide methodological support for this type of activity. The main target groups in these cases are the school facilities as a whole, as well as teachers.
Schools are also informed about related materials from the Council of Europe and especially the Framework for Competencies for democratic Culture also became reflected by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports in preparation for calls 2017 from the European Social Fund.
In the field of non-formal education of Youth, there is the Youth Strategy 2014-2020, in which the strategic goal number 5 supports raising cross-border mobility of young people and strategic goal number 7 supports intercultural dialogue. These goals thus contribute to intercultural awareness among young people. The responsible state Authorities are in this Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Culture.
With cross-border mobility, is also contained in the framework of European programmes for young people in the Czech Republic, implemented at the national level.
Out of school environment
There are several NGOs and Youth NGOs dealing with intercultural awareness, activities and programmes. Among those leading we can name People in Need and its programme Varianty and One World at Schools, Multikulturní centrum Praha, AFS Mezikulturní programy, INEX-SDA. The last three mentioned have also realised the nationwide project Stereotýpek v nás (Stereotype-man in us) on multicultural and intercultural education and activities out of schools as well as in support for schools.
In the Czech-German environment there is also the Tandem - Coordination Centre for Czech-German Youth Exchange, which introduced in 2016 an approach on diversity education in cooperation with other NGOs partners.
Young people's rights are one of the topics covered by FEP for preschool, elementary school, high school and higher school education with schools and teachers as target groups. This topic is not supported by methodology materials or subsidy programmes, it is up to the teachers what information they teach. Usually the methodological materials cover the Human Rights point of view.
The Youth Strategy 2014-2020 reminds us that the state Youth Policy should 'support equal access to rights for children and youth'. Measures to fulfil this policy objective are:
To raise the awareness of society in general of the rights of children and youth
- To promote public education on the rights of children and youth, with emphasis on mutual respect and dignity
- To support the creation of simplified texts relating to the rights of children and youth, making them user-friendly for them
- To support the development of pedagogical procedures to teach children and youth about their rights
- To support and motivate children and youth towards the active enforcement of their rights
- To raise awareness in children and youth of the existing forms of legal counselling and the options for their use
The Authorities responsible for implementation of these measures are the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Culture.
In 2014-2015 during the European consultation within the Structured Dialogue with Youth the topic was discussed among interested youth and youth organisations. As a national outcome, there is a Report with national recommendations on how the situation is perceived from the Youth perspective and how to improve it.
Rights in general are promoted by many NGOs, but there is also the Civic Education Centre, an independent scientific-pedagogic centre formerly established by MEYS, now operated by Charles University which produces both methodological and scientific materials in the field of civic and citizenship education and Rights.
Over the next years, one of the main drivers in the area of rights of young people will be the National implementation plan of the Child Guarantee. It was approved by the Government without any significant communication on 16 November 2022 and so far hasn't been made public and presented. It defines 18 categories of "children in need" and comes up with 27 recommendations and 125 detailed goals to improve their lives. Many of these recommenations deal with child rights, such as participation.
In this regard it is hard to point out one responsible state Authority, however, the Ministry of the Interior (MI) has the competence over citizenship issues and the legal matters are in the competence of the Ministry of Justice and independent courts. Radicalisation and extremism are then in the direct competence of the Ministry of the Interior.
It regularly publishes reports about the extremism in CZ, either alone or in cooperation with the Security Information Service, and its annual evaluation is based on the Evaluation of the Fight against Extremism Concept. The Czech Republic works with national (Fight against Extremism Concept 2016) and European strategies (The EU Counter Terrorism Strategy) and implements both preventive and reactive measures.
Radicalisation prevention of both youth and adults is a top priority of the issued documents and they are addressed to both MI and Czech Policy. Measures to safeguard democracy in contrast to extremism and radicalisation contain 3 main components: (1) anti-conflict team (ACT) activities; (2) implementation of new police strategies to battle extremism and (3) joint initiative between the Ministries of the Interior, and Education, Youth and Sports and the NGO People in Need - Programme Varianty named “Can I understand it? Threats of neonazism”, aiming at anti-extremist education, publishing didactical materials and realising further education for teachers on these matters.
As a key governmental initiative, we can name a campaign 'Hate free Culture', organised since 2014 by the Social Inclusion Agency (department of the Governmental Office). This Information campaign via web pages and social media is sharing verified information about endangered population groups like immigrants, LGBT or minor religious groups, verifying and disproving false information, supporting victims of violent crimes with extremist subtext, publicising spots with open support of peaceful coexistence and allowing them to mark themselves as 'hate free zones', and promoting the culture of tolerance, respect and democracy. The target group is the general public, however, youth is one of the primary target groups, especially via social media.