Education, from early childhood to lifelong learning, plays an important role in bolstering democratic citizenship and strengthening the resilience of democratic societies. It can play an essential role in the promotion of core values like human rights and the rule of law, as well as in the prevention of human rights violations. It can also help promote gender equality, disability inclusiveness, a culture of peace and non-violence, environmental awareness, appreciation of linguistic, ethnic, cultural and religious diversity. Education can contribute to tackle radicalisation and successfully integrate migrants and refugees.
Research shows that voters with more extreme attitudes are overrepresented among citizens with low formal education and a below-average household income. Populist discourses and extremist groups find more support among citizens who benefit less from cultural modernisation, economic liberalisation and internationalisation.
Involvement of citizens and young people, including through NGOs, social partners and grassroots organisations, and cooperation with cultural and creative sectors are strongly encouraged to ensure the achievement of expected outcomes.
Proposals are expected to show how educational material and innovative pedagogical practices in different settings (including lifelong learning), can mediate or inform current debates about European identity, as well as key issues such as sustainable development, migration, tolerance and understanding of ethnocultural and linguistic diversity, international solidarity and global citizenship, inequality, disability, hate speech, polarisation and extremisms, ethnicity/race, religion and gender, etc. They should examine how education can be mobilised in terms of producing informed historical and cultural consciousness by contributing to cultural and textual literacy, critical and analytic historical learning, responsible historical consciousness and critical thinking of the future citizens of democratic societies. Research should highlight the competences needed by students for boosting their capacity to actively engage in democratic politics, to understand and reflect on global interconnections, unequal power relations, depletion of natural resources and climate change, and to contribute to the promotion of sustainable development, inclusion, anti-racism, equality, justice and peace. Corresponding methods to guide teaching and assessment of those competences should be investigated, gathered and analysed. Research should propose avenues for updating and developing novel curricula and learning environment. It should also propose ways to support teaching staff, with a view to bolstering democratic values, critical thinking skills and positive social engagement in a holistic way. Provide comprehensive evidence from European countries on the links between economic, social, cultural capital and educational inequalities and levels of political engagement, social trust, participation and inter-cultural tolerance. Experimental participatory research to test educational and training tools and to demonstrate the impact of the tools proposed, including students’ and teachers’ feedback, should be included. In particular, proposals should examine new (including blended) education and training formats that incorporate creative approaches such as gamification, design of virtual classrooms and virtual co-working spaces, and other cultural expressions like literacy interpretation, creative writing or theatre, in order to reach target groups in an effective and innovative way.