5.7 “Learning to participate” through formal, non-formal and informal learning
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Citizenship education is one of the most important advances Lithuanian Strategy "Lithuania 2030" The importance of civic education is stressed in the Law on Higher Education and Studies (see also: unofficial translation) The implementation of civic education in educational institutions is defined by the National Curriculum for Primary and Lower Secondary Education where 'Social and civic education' is defined as as an area that should be implemented across all disciplines, activities of non-formal education and school self-government. As a cross-curricular dimension means that all teachers must contribute to implementing the related objectives as defined in national curricula. According to the national curriculum, at least five hours of social activities for pupils per year are compulsory in lower secondary education.
In Lithuanian education system citizenship education is a compulsory separate subject at the secondary level. In Lithuania, schools are free to choose how to allocate the two weekly hours of citizenship education; it can be spread over two years, teaching one hour per week; or taught for one year with two hours per week. In addition to these general objectives, the national curricula emphasises citizenship education in sections on cross-curricular themes, key competences or within learning content areas. In Lithuania, the 2011 curriculum for primary and lower secondary education defines 'Social and civic education' as an area that should be implemented across all disciplines, activities of non-formal education and school self-government. As a cross-curricular dimension, all teachers must contribute to implementing the related objectives as defined in national curricula. Moreover, according to the 2009 national curriculum, at least five hours of social activities for pupils per year are compulsory in lower secondary education. Examples of the social activities specified are ‘activities for students self expression’ in the field of citizenship education, ‘strengthening school community traditions’ and ‘participating in different kinds of socio-cultural projects’.
The curricula of education aims at developing political literacy, acquiring critical thinking and analytical skills, developing certain values, attitudes and behaviours (sense of national identuty, respect, tolerance,), encouraging active participation and engagement at school and community levels.
Lithuania have introduced measures to promote the involvement of pupils and students in school governance. Official regulations and recommendations in Lithuanian Law on Education establish types of arrangements for pupils and students‘ participation in school governance: 1) school community (including pupls and students) participation in the management of school (in Lithuania school governing bodies (school boards) are the highest management level within a school institution. They are usually chaired by the school head and generally comprise representatives from each of the groups which make up the school population and may include external stakeholder groups and parents); 2) pupil and student‘s representation on school governing bodies. The election of pupil and student‘s councils falls within the scope of school autonomy. Pupils and students are entitled to establish self-governing bodies within the school. However, the election of class representatives is not regulated centrally and falls within the scope of school autonomy.
The skills young people acquire through participating in traineeships and apprenticeships can be formally recognised if they are part of education institution study program. Another form how skills young people acquire through participating in traineeships and apprenticeships can be recognised as volunteering activity. The Law on Volunteering provides that, taking into consideration the aims and nature of the volunteering activity, it may be recognized as practical work and/or learning experience, or credited as social work under a programme of general education. There is a need expressed by the Department of Youth Affairs to include volunteer activities in the youth pass - a European recognition tool for non-formal and informal learning. In order to encourage volunteering, the Law of Volunteering provides that, taking into consideration the aims and nature of the volunteering activity, it may be recognized as practical work and/or learning experience, or credited as social work under a programme of general education.
Examples of good practice
Living Library Project is an activity of informal education, encouranging social awareness, tolerance and respect for human rights. Living library consists of „Living books“, librarians and readers. Living Books are people from vulnerable social groups, experiencing discrimination or stereotypes in society. „Living books“ have a lot to say about discrimination, social inequality, answer questions concerning lifestyle of different social groups. Librarian meets a reader (a trespasser, participant or targeted audience) that comes to the Living Library. Librarian is a trained person and responsible for preparing audience for reading process, explaining the rules and suggesting to pick a book from catalogue. Process of reading involves sincere conversation between Living book and reader, asking concerning questions and getting straight answers. Reading process becomes comfortable and interactive place for intimate communication with people from socially vulnerable groups. Librarians are observing conversation from aside and intervene if needed. Process of reading is aimed tp demolish barriers of uncertainty and fear, develop tolerance and mutual understanding. Worldwide successful method of informal education started in Lithuania in 2007 as a part of European Council campaign „All different – all equal“. From that time on importance and popularity of Living Library is growing in society, non-governmental organizations and educational institutions. Huge effect of Living Library urges us to ensure succession of this method.
Project „Man ne dzin“ („I am not indifferent“) was launched by Lithuanian Youth Council (LiJOT) in order to encourage young people to come to vote. It is a project was dedicated for the elections of Seimas (parliament). The main goal of this campaign is to especially motivate young people to vote. Well known Lithuanian persons were also invited to promote this campaign
Project MISSION SIBERIA that promotes active citizenship is organised by Lithuanian Youth Council (LiJOT) and charity fund „Jauniems“. The project involves annual “Mission Siberia” expeditions during which young people visit places of deportations and concentration camps of Lithuanians in Siberia. The expedition is documented by national TV (LRT) in a format of regular TV documentary series braodcast. The idea of the project was launched in 2005, when the resolution of youth civic engagement was adopted in LiJOT autumn Assembly.
There are no official regulations on standards of quality. Some organizations have their own standards of quality and quality regulations (e.g. Agency of International Youth Cooperation guidelines on volunteer services). The standards of quality and self-evaluation activities are promoted in the framework of the Discover Yourself project implemented by the Department of Youth Affairs and the Lithuanian Labour Exchange.
There are online media resources designed for educators, counsellors, cultural animators etc. aimed at promoting intercultural awareness. The Ugdymo Sodas (Education Garden) website (database) is devoted to video resources and online-lessons for educators, counsellors, cultural animators etc. It is interactive teacher platform in which information and education planning tools and other resources can be fould. These resources are available for all general education subjects including citizenship education. Education Garden website is also intended for students (performing tasks), school administration representatives (viewing and handling their school data) and to local governments and the Ministry of Education Professionals (for viewing data and preparing reports on municipal and national level). The Ugdymo Sodas (Education Garden) website is administered and updated by Education Development Centre which is the biggest institution affiliate to the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania providing educational support in the field of pre-school, primary and general education.