Democracy and participation, Civic education

UNLOCK (UNRAVELLING LANGUAGE OF CIVIC KNOWLEDGE) shortlist

Empowering citizens of North Bulgaria via civic education

Creators

Who is behind this?

Penka Angelova

Mezhdunarodno druzhestvo Elias Canetti

http://eliascanetti.org

Bulgaria

Who is joining forces?

Friedrich Schiller German Language School Ruse

http://schiller-schule.info/en/

Bulgaria


Elias Canetti Vocational High School of Economics and Management - Ruse

http://www.pgiu-ruse.jusoft.net/

Bulgaria


Regional department of education

http://www.rio-ruse.org/

Bulgaria


Partner Organization 4 Organization Name: Ruse Youth Parliament Website: https://www.facebook.com/obshtinskimladejkidom.ruse Country: Bulgaria

Idea

Idea pitch

We address apathy to politics and governance. We unlock the potential of youngsters, we empower them with civic competences, we motivate them to get involved in strengthening participatory democracy. We add value to a national priority, which amends 2020 secondary schools’ curriculum with civic education, and to Europe-wide demands for more coherent knowledge and skills of young Europeans, so that they are enabled to perform jointly as active and responsible European citizens.

Where will your project idea take place?

Cities in North Bulgaria: Ruse, Razgrad, Silistra, Targovishte, V. Tarnovo, Gabrovo, Lovetch, Pleven

What is the local challenge?

Civic education in Bulgaria has been neglected for years. In communism democracy was neither studied, nor practiced, citizens were supposed to be aware of Marxism-Leninism and history of communist party. They were not expected to be active, they had to be re-active in terms of conforming with the decisions of the party “elite”. Civic ignorance was put on hold in post-communism. Strengths of participatory democracy were not allowed to manifest themselves. Majority of citizens believe Bulgarian democracy is a façade. This has led to political apathy and a common claim, that nothing depends on citizens. One of the main culprits for this situation is the deficit of competences. A window of opportunity to overcome the problem is the 2020 introduction of Civic Education in secondary schools.

How does your idea strengthen democracy and active citizenship at a local and community level?

We intervene in 2020 Civic education classes to help teachers and equip youngsters with competences on democracy and active citizenship, i.e. affiliation of the individual and the group to a political community, rights and obligations assigned to them by political institutions, public relationships via which citizens can try to clarify and solve common affairs. We prepare teaching and learning materials for 8 Civic education topics, which will include case studies on public issues at local and community level. We translate the “Political Lexicon” of Prof. K.Schubert and M. Klein (University of Münster) in BG and use it as teaching material for the needs of 11th and 12th grade secondary education curriculum,
thus enhancing the content with more points of view on meanings of concepts.

Who are you doing it for?

Our main target groups are students of 11th and 12th grades from small cities in North Bulgaria. These people are at the doorstep of finding their identity and choosing their work path as citizens. For this target group, concepts such as Civil society, Globalization, Stigmatization, Climate changes, European Union and many more are still at best vaguely known, since such knowledge is taught only in universities. There aren’t any pedagogues in Bulgaria with civic education teaching background, so history, geography and philosophy teachers have to be further trained instead, making them our second target group. They will have the opportunity to get acquainted with our project’s teaching methods and materials which will be made available online on our project’s web platform.

How do you plan to get there?

1.Translate, update, edit and digitize the Political Lexicon
2.Organize a work meeting to discuss the Lexicon’s contents and further revision steps with its authors
3.Create a web platform for the Lexicon; promote the web platform via info campaign
4.Prepare 4 lessons for 11th grade students in collaboration with Ruse Youth Parliament, professors from Uni Ruse and local teachers; present them in local high schools
5.Prepare 4 lessons for 12th grade students in Aug. and Sept. 2021; present them in local high schools
6.Organize in Oct. and Nov. 2021 visits and seminars with teachers and school directors from the 8 cities; present 2 lessons at each meeting
7.Form a local civic education network – a forum to discuss and facilitate civic engagement

What are the expected results?

Since there aren't enough trained teachers in the subject Civic Education, and the current teaching staff consists of teachers from various other specialties and age groups, we strive to sensitize a target group of ~300 teachers from 8 small towns and provide 8 complete teaching and video materials
Our project covers a region of over 1 million citizens, over 4000 students from 11th and 12th grade and other stakeholders (the Lexicon contains over 2500 terms).
Sample topics:
Civil society as corrective; Minorities’ identity and civil rights; Misinformation; Dignity, human rights and justice; Subsidiarity and Europe for citizens; Structure, functions, dialogicity between the main institutions of the Republic of Bulgaria and the EU; Nature and culture in the conditions of globalization

How does your initiative contribute to strengthening democracy in Europe?

Europe worries about democracy. Authoritarian creep leads to reevaluations. When asked about opinions on 1989 transformation, Eastern Europeans largely approve changes. But a third of Bulgarians disagree. The constant reinvention of Europe by its citizens for its citizens is an all-European goal. Our project aims to do its part, first locally, since this is the first instance where change has to happen. European changes are possible only if they happen in every country. We will support the development of the citizens’ European identity also their national identities, to help them become more invested in the societal processes, outgrowing their Euroscepticism and to come together in solidarity for the “other” as well as in Intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding.

What is your story?

Our NGO has years long invested interest in nurturing the civil society and citizen’s civic-awareness in both our city and state - working with the minorities’ problematic (Roma and Jewish oriented projects). We believe that the affirmation of moral values for human dignity, solidarity, eco-compliance, and equal treatment are amongst the best working tools against misinformation and the abuse of political rights, issues common in an European context, the betterment of which no doubt will lessen the moral crisis. Further examples of our engagement are the projects: “BG as a second language for non-native speakers” “Emergence of civic society in Ruse” in cooperation with the State Archives, and a movie called “Six women” that traces the beginnings of ecological movements in Bulgaria.

€ 49850,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

€ 49850,-

Total budget

Major expenses

Translation fees: 11000 EUR
Editing and correcting work: 5000 EUR
6 Meetings with Youth Parliament: 1200
Web Platform (development, hosting, maintenance) and indexes: 3000 EUR
Project meeting with the authors: 1200
Website maintenance: 1200 EUR
Updating of Lexicon's contents: 700 EUR
Preparation of 8 lessons: 9600 EUR
7 business trips: 1750 EUR
Lecturer’s fees: 1600 EUR
8 Caterings + hall rental: 8000 EUR
Project management and administration: 3500 EUR
Accountancy: 2100 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would greatly appreciate any advice and opinions on how to further improve on our idea. What seems feasible and what doesn’t? We would also appreciate any advises from experienced members of the Community, who have been dealing with problematic close to the one represented in our project idea.

Team

Mezhdunarodno druzhestvo Elias Canetti

Nikolay Chakarov

RStankova

Idea created on May 23, 2020
Last edit on Aug. 3, 2020

Write comment