5.7 “Learning to participate” through formal, non-formal and informal learning
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The National Strategy for Citizenship Education (ENEC) was presented in 2017 and started to be implemented in schools in 2017/2018 (shool year), so that children and young people in different cycles may experience and acquire skill sets and knowledge of citizenship, specifically values and concepts of national citizenship, human rights, gender equality, non-discrimination, interculturalism, inclusion of people with disabilities, health education, sexual and reproductive rights education and road safety education.
The Portuguese Institute of Sports and Youth (IPDJ, I.P.) and its preceding bodies have been leading the defence, dissemination and support of non-formal education processes in Portugal, since the post-25th April 1974 period. In addition to the direct provision of tailored programmes on those methodologies, the support to the associationism movement – where non-formal education processes are more prevalent – and, in more recent times, the leadership of divisive projects – such as the establishment of the national youth worker profession – have earned a prominent position.
On the other hand, in a perspective of joining the formal and non-formal education dimensions, the IPDJ, I.P., is now responsible for developing the integration, valorisation and recognition of non-formal learning outside of school. This approach will be address in a project named Youth Pass, which will be a crucial complement to the basic and secondary education diploma.
The Youth Pass, created by Decree no.336/2017, of 7th November, is a certificate that registers participation, promotes recognition and validates the learning developed by young people, between 12 and 18 years old, in processes and activities outside the school context. It is the "history" of each young person in non-formal education.
The intervention strategy in the non-formal model is complemented with initiatives and dates that won or are winning a spot in the annual calendar of young people and associations, such as the Youth Associationism Day (30th April, with more than 14 years of celebration since its establishment), Good Associativism Practices (merit awards for the work of youth organisations) and, more recently, ADJ – Youth Development Academy, an annual space of non-formal education, with the partnership of the Erasmus+ Agency Youth in Action, CNJ and FNAJ.
The transversal approach to the Citizenship Education curriculum can take different forms, depending on the dynamic adopted by schools due to their autonomy, particularly in the context of the curriculum of the subjects and through the development of projects and activities of their own initiative, while working together with families and entities involved in this context, in the framework of the relationship between the school and the community. It can be developed according to the needs and specific problems of the school community, together with and in response to the objectives defined by each group of schools or individual schools within their educational projects.
The strategy of citizenship education is applied through changes to the curriculum, learning activities in the classroom, extracurricular activities, participation of students and parents in school governance, assessment of students and schools, and continuous professional development of the faculty.
Besides that, Ministry of Education, through General Directorate for Education, has developed a set of guidance documents, involving partnerships and cooperation protocols with other entities.
Citizenship Education aims to contribute to the development of responsible, autonomous and solidary people who know and act according to their rights and duties, in dialogue and respect for others, with a democratic, pluralistic, critical and creative spirit, according to the human rights’ values. It also enables the development of essential skills for social life and labour market integration.
Participative structures within formal education settings
The Ministry of Education promotes a number of events and activities throughout the school year, to raise awareness among students to important citizenship issues. Examples are the National No Smoking Day, the European Day of Languages, the Human Rights Day, the Refugee Day, the Certification for Intercultural Schools, and the United for the Planet competition, among others.
Students have the right to participate, through their representatives, in accordance with the existing legislation, in administrative bodies and school management, in the creation process of the school's educational project and the internal rules of procedure.
Students have the right to gather in student assemblies and are represented by the student association, by their representatives in the governing, administrative and school management bodies and their representatives in the classroom, according to the existing legislation and the school’s internal rules of procedure.
In the context of their autonomy, schools develop a wide range of tools and communication strategies (e.g., e-mail, website, newsletter, newspapers, radio, social networks, conferences and other events).
Parents/legal guardians have the right to contribute to the creation process of the educational project and the internal rules of the school, as well as participating in the school’s daily life of the. They also have the right to create a parents association, according to the principles of freedom of association.
The Municipal Council of Education (CME) of each school group is an advisory body, which includes, among other elements, a representative of the municipal assembly. The CME has the right to: review the annual plan of activities; comment on the education offer and network provided for each school year; recommend improvement measures for the school’s organisation and the school's educational intervention.
Measures to encourage student participation in local community and wider society
With regard to learning through extracurricular activities, the Ministry of Education promotes a number of initiatives in various areas of competence:
- Eco-Schools project and Tagus project – in the field of environmental awareness;
- Mega Sprinter competition, Tag Rugby Project – in the field of sports activities for peace and social inclusion;
- Intangible Heritage Collection Kit, My School Adopts a Museum, Little Shadow Festival, Ithaca Plan, Tic Toc Project in the School of the Future – in the field of artistic projects for intercultural dialogue and media literacy;
- European clubs, Euroguidance Network, Trip to Germany contest – in the field of International and/or online collaborations for intercultural education;
- European Youth Parliament programme of the Youth Parliament programme (national) – in the field of activities related to political life;
- Link Yourself to Others Project – in the field of volunteering on the local community.
Still within the framework of promoting participation resorting to tools and methodologies in formal, non-formal and informal education, it is important to highlight two recent initiatives: the Schools Participatory Budget and the Youth Participatory Budget (Youth PB).
The School Participatory Budget is intended for students of the 3rd cycle of basic education and secondary education, and consists of a process with several stages that ensures students the possibility of actively participating in the development of a project, according to their preferences, needs and wills, that contributes to the improvement of their school. The amount of the SPB is €500, in the case of schools with fewer than 500 students in the 3rd cycle of basic education and secondary education, or, alternatively, the value equivalent to €1 per student in the 3rd cycle of basic education and secondary education, in the case of schools with more than 500 students.
Youth PB is a process of democratic participation in which citizens aged between 14 and 30 can present and decide on public investment projects. In the first edition of the programme, the total investment amounted to 300,000 euros, while in the 2018 and 2019 editions the total investment was 500,000 euros.
The several editions of the Program are regulated by a Resolution of the Council of Ministers. The first edition was regulated by the Resolution of the Council of Ministers no. 130/2017, the second edition by the Resolution of the Council of Ministers no. 67/2018 and the third edition by the Resolution of the Council of Ministers no. 59/2019.
This initiative aims to contribute to the improvement of democracy through innovation and the strengthening of forms of public participation by young citizens. It has the following objectives:
a) To strengthen the quality of democracy and its instruments, valuing participatory democracy within the framework of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic;
(b) To encourage the active and informed participation of young people in the decision-making process, encouraging a strong and active civil society that continues the cohesive economic and social development and a corresponding increase in quality of life;
(c) To promote the participation of young citizens in the definition of public policies appropriate to their needs and in line with their opinions;
d) To reinforce education for citizenship and the sense of belonging to the community as a whole, encouraging responsible citizen action, by promoting privileged contact between young citizens and public bodies, involving them in the permanent definition of res publica.
The thematic areas to which young citizens can submit proposals have been different in the various editions of the Programme.
In the first edition (2017), young citizens could submit proposals in the following thematic areas: inclusive sport, science education, social innovation and environmental sustainability.
The projects admitted to the Portuguese Participatory Youth Budget in the 2018 edition covered the areas of public policies related to inclusive sport, intergenerational dialogue, cultural innovation and environmental sustainability.
The projects admitted to the Portuguese Participatory Youth Budget in the 2019 edition covered the areas of the domains and key themes of the National Plan for Youth, approved by the Resolution of the Council of Ministers no. 114-A/2018, of 4 September, namely: Formal and Non Formal Education, Employment, Housing, Health, Environment and Sustainable Development, Governance and Participation and Equality and Social Inclusion.
This initiative covers the entire national territory and the proposals must meet the following criteria:
The projects admitted to the Portuguese Participatory Youth Budget cover the areas of key areas and themes of the National Plan for Youth, approved by the Council of Ministers Resolution no. 114-A/2018, of 4 September, namely: Formal and Non Formal Education, Employment, Housing, Health, Environment and Sustainable Development, Governance and Participation and Equality and Social Inclusion (2019 edition, in accordance with the provisions of article 4 of RCM no. 59/2019);
It must respect the maximum amount of €100,00 € (2018 and 2018 editions);
It must not imply the construction of infrastructures;
It must not be a support request or provision of services;
It must not benefit more than one municipality;
It must be well specified and located in the national territory;
It must be technically feasible;
It must not contradict the Government's Programme or ongoing projects and programmes in different public policies’ areas.
In the 2017 edition, 424 proposals were submitted, of which 167 were transformed into projects put to a vote.
The areas of Social Innovation and Environmental Sustainability are those where the highest number of proposals were submitted.
The thematic areas of Social Innovation and Education for Science are those where the largest number of projects were put to a vote.
In the first edition of the Portuguese Participatory Youth Budget, 8660 young people voted on the projects put to the vote, and 7 winning projects were selected, which received 3947 votes.
The winning projects were as follows:
- Connect with Pateira - 832 votes (Municipality of Águeda);
- Arribeirar - 796 votes (Municipality of Águeda);
- The Great Book of the Park - 686 votes (Municipality of Águeda);
- Inclusive Sports Resources Centre - 441 votes (Municipality of Portalegre);
- Minhotacleta - 410 votes (Municipalities of Viana do Castelo and Caminha);
- Student Handbook App - 403 votes (National scope);
- Gym4All - 379 votes (Municipalities of Seia, Gouveia and Oliveira do Hospital).
Of the winning projects, 3 are in the area of Environmental Sustainability, 2 in the area of Education for Science and 2 in the area of Inclusive Sports.
In the 2018 edition, 393 proposals were submitted, of which 232 were transformed into projects put to a vote.
In the second edition of the Portuguese Participatory Youth Budget, 4466 young people voted on the projects put to the vote, and 7 winning projects were selected, which received 2450 votes.
The winning projects were as follows:
- Walking towards Inclusion - 810 votes (Municipalities of Lousada, Paredes, Penafiel and Felgueiras);
- Sports for All - 685 votes (Municipalities of Águeda, Oliveira do Bairro, Sever do Vouga, Aveiro, Ovar and Albergaria-a-Velha);
- Creation of a sports network to include young people with special needs - 251 votes (Municipalities of Valença, Paredes de Coura and Monção);
- Teatro da Pessoa - Sharing and Cultural Intervention - 203 votes (Districts of Leiria and Lisbon);
- Blue Energy -197 votes (Lisbon e Tagus Valley region);
- Âmago - Intergenerational Collaboration Network for Innovation in Health - 164 votes (Municipalities of Porto, Esposende and Matosinhos);
- (Re)Florish Minho - 145 votes (Districts of Viana do Castelo and Braga).
Of the winning projects, 3 are in the area of Inclusive Sports, 2 in the area of Environmental Sustainability, 1 in the area of Intergenerational Dialogue and 1 in the area of Cultural Innovation.
In the 2019 edition of the Portuguese Participatory Youth Budget, 437 proposals were submitted, of which 232 were transformed into projects put to a vote.
The thematic areas of Environment and Sustainable Development and Equality and Social Inclusion are those where there was the highest number of proposals submitted and projects put to vote.
In the third edition of the Portuguese Participatory Youth Budget, 5,409 young people voted on the projects put to the vote, and 7 winning projects were selected, which received 2,351 votes.
The winning projects were as follows:
- Portugal ECOntigo - 468 votes (National scope);
- Plastic Zer0 (Zero Plastic) - 428 votes (Municipalities of Tomar and Alcanena);
- Recovery and Research Centre for the Chameleon of Algarve - 314 votes (Ria Formosa Natural Park - Algarve);
- Jah Moment - Social Inclusion Project - 295 votes (Municipalities of Seixal, Almada, Barreiro, Moita, Montijo and Setúbal);
- Precious Plastic Aveiro - 290 votes (Municipalities of Aveiro, Albergaria-a-Velha and Estarreja);
- Romani Culture Fair - 284 votes (Municipalities of Águeda and Aveiro);
- Strengthen Volunteering – Young Firefighter - 272 votes (Municipalities of Condeixa-a-Nova, Lagares da Beira, Serpins, Montemor-Velho, Figueira da Foz, Soure and Pampilhosa da Serra.
Of the winning projects, 4 are in the area of Environment and Sustainable Development, 2 in the area of Equality and Social Inclusion and 1 in the area of Formal and Non Formal Education.
Partnerships with civil society organisations are encouraged and required in a broad sense, and are therefore transversal in all levels.
Among the concrete actions to achieve these goals, curriculum guidance documents were produced, in cooperation with other bodies and institutions of the public sector and various civil society partners, as reference systems in addressing the various dimensions of citizenship. These documents are not prescriptive guidelines or programmes. They are supporting documents that, under the autonomy of each educational establishment, can be used and adapted according to the options defined in each context, to help the implementation of an intended practice.
In line with the curriculum guidance documents, the Ministry of Education (ME) provided teacher training, under the continuous professional development, through the Directorate-General of Education, to teachers of all subjects and levels.
The ME even provides teachers criteria and specific resources for assessing students in some of the thematic fields included in the transversal field of citizenship education. For example, in entrepreneurship education, projects like ASTEE and Youth Start – Entrepreneurial Challenges include various assessment tools and resources (e.g., questionnaires, oral and written activities, projects, self-assessment exercises and peer assessment, etc.). In other thematic fields, such as financial education, manuals/guides that include assessment exercises were published.
In addition to this, as already mentioned, the Youth Pass programme development is underway, which aims to issue a participation certificate in programmes of the IPDJ, which recognises the learnings acquired in a non-formal context, allowing the interconnection of said learnings with the secondary education diploma. Although the launch is only provided for in the form of a pilot project, covering only a few programmes developed by the IPDJ in an initial phase, this process will represent an additional quality assurance of this type of learnings.
The national curriculum defines the essential knowledge and skills that all students should acquire and allows teachers to decide how to teach more effectively, by managing the curriculum and organising their teaching activity in the best way possible, to meet the needs of their students.
In accordance with article 30th of Law no. 0669 46/86 of 14th October (Basic Law of the Education System), all educators and teachers (preschool education, 1st, 2nd and 3rd cycle and secondary education) obtain the adequate qualification through courses of higher education/university degrees/masters' degrees, which provides them with all the information, scientific and pedagogical methods and techniques, as well as personal and social training, appropriate to their teaching activity.
Thus, in accordance with the basic laws for teaching, all teachers have the right to technical and scientific autonomy and the freedom to choose teaching methods, technologies and the current pedagogical or curriculum guidelines that are more adequate.
Although there are no specialised or semi specialised teachers in citizenship education in general, there are some specific qualifications available in some of the thematic fields included in the transversal field of citizenship education. For example, some masters of initial training for teachers have classes about education and multiculturalism, development education and entrepreneurship education.
There are still non-mandatory courses within the framework of the continuous training for teachers that seek to develop the same competencies in various fields of citizenship education. These are offered through protocols between the ME and civil society partners.
On the other hand, in order to develop the professional knowledge of teachers through the dissemination of information within the thematic fields of citizenship education, the DGE's website has a section dedicated to this field. Here, teachers and students, but also parents, educators and other interested parties, will find, among others, the following features: news, reference documents, microsites for each of the thematic fields of citizenship education, legislation, digital library, guidelines, resources, good practices, projects and useful links.