September 28, 2011

Education for Social Cohesion

In 2009 the Centre launched a project aimed at piloting the impact of adopting a whole school approach to social cohesion and citizenship education on young people’s political and civic attitudes.  In Lebanon, the current and most predominant approach to citizenship education relies on teaching civics one hour per week.  However, research showed that this approach has a limited effect in tackling sectarianism and developing young people’s active citizenship skills. A survey of 900 Lebanese high school students conducted by the Centre for Lebanese Studies in 2009 revealed that sectarianism is heavily engrained amongst young Lebanese students. 64% would always trust Lebanese from their sect while a similar percentage would rarely or never trust Lebanese from other sects.

Although the consecutive governments placed a huge emphasis on citizenship education, the pedagogies currently implemented in many public schools are still didactic. The emphasis appears to be on acquiring knowledge while limited opportunities are provided to students to develop their civic skills.  Moreover, the undemocratic school environment contradicts the ethos taught in civic education.

This project aims to:

• Promote active citizenship education and behaviours by focusing on developing students’ competencies, skills and attitudes.

• Foster a supportive, democratic, and cohesive school environment that encourages participation and empowers the whole school community.

• Assess and monitor the impact of this approach on young people’s political, civic, and social attitudes, knowledge and skills.

For further information please contact Dr Maha Shuayb ([email protected])

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