Why active citizenship?

More and more, we see that extreme solutions are in demand when it comes to Europe’s problems. Active citizenship has a crucial role to play in this context to allow citizens to interrogate real solutions to problems rather than indulging in scapegoating, discrimination and other tactics peddled by extremists. Most countries have at least in some way included citizenship education into the formal education curricula.

Active citizenship is a combination of knowledge, attitudes, skills and actions that aim to contribute to building and maintaining a democratic society and it is one of the most important steps towards healthy communities. Active citizenship means people getting involved in their local communities and building democracy at all levels, from towns to cities and nationwide activity. Active citizenship can be as small as a campaign to clean up your street or as big as educating young people to recognize and strengthen their democratic values and skills which lead to active participation. Education towards gaining this knowledge and developing and practicing the skills take place in all levels of our shared social life, but educational institutes play a very important role in it.

How citizenship is taught in schools can have a profound impact on the development of young people’s ability and willingness to participate in public life. In turn, citizen participation has significant consequences for the health of a country’s democracy (Levine, 2003, Torney-Purta and Richardson, 2004, Osler and Starkey, 2006, Chawla, 2009, Hayward, 2012).

Aims of the project

Our project "Alternative Active Citizenship" will aim to find and develop innovative methods of teaching active citizenship through participation that would enrich already existing learning and teaching materials. Such methods will be developed considering and evaluating already existing best practices in partner countries and will have a wide range of application - in formal and non-formal education settings, for various ages of learners and institutions, such as upper/lower secondary schools, higher education institutions, adult education centers, youth organizations, local communities.

The project will produce a range of various results: an online Active Citizenship Guide, a collection of engaging and innovative active citizenship education learning methods and activities; a citizenship education needs analysis; piloting workshops, where project participants will test the Active Citizenship Guide activities and a final virtual Active Citizen's forum, where participants will
plan further real-life actions in their communities.