At a time when the debate on citizenship education in the world, and the value of the subject of citizenship and development, in particular, is alive, it will be important to review its foundations, principles and forms of operationalization at school.
The year 1986 represents an important step in the foundation of a vision of a democratic school, forming thinking, critical and creative citizens, united, integrated and committed to the transformation of Portuguese society, framed in the principles of the law. fundamental of the education system.
It is this same document which instituted, in the curricular plans of basic education, the creation of a space for personal and social training, which had among other components ecological education, consumer education, family education, sex education. The discipline created at the time, called Personal and Social Development (DPS), was however practically on paper and schools were then grappling with deep structural reform.
However, it was not until 2001, in a new context of educational reform, to generalize in schools the so-called non-disciplinary areas (ACND) which included supported studies, the project area and civic training. The latter is presented as a privileged space for citizenship education, aimed at the development of the civic consciousness of students as a fundamental element of the process of forming responsible, critical and active citizens. The content proposed at the time varied little from that of 1986 and the principles remained intact.
Almost 20 years ago, inserted in a world that has rapidly transformed and acquired valences never before suspected, we have in schools – alongside society – new documents, new laws, new challenges. The Profile of pupils leaving compulsory education defends an education in which pupils build a scientific and artistic culture based on humanism, by mobilizing values and skills that allow them to intervene in society, to make informed decisions about natural, social and ethical questions, aimed at the exercise of an active, conscious and responsible citizenship.
In this new era, from the analysis of the non-linear path of education for citizenship, the need has arisen to create a common reference, the National Strategy for Education for Citizenship, which presents the integrative vision to prepare the new generations for a plural and democratic approach, starting from the principle that education for citizenship must be anchored in the school culture itself, based on a logic of participation and co-responsibility.
And it is in this context that the discipline of Citizenship and Development (CD) emerges, which, as mentioned in the respective Essential Learnings, has the mission to prepare students for life, to be democratic, participatory citizens. and humanists. The emergence of this autonomous discipline is all the more relevant as the decrease in proximal, physical and social interactions is recognized, in contrast to the increased use of technologies and social networks.
Citizenship and development, civic education or personal and social development are, after all, a single project based on the duty (or obligation?) Which the school must educate and not just instruct, without prejudice to the learning and / or areas recommended for citizenship education to be addressed transversally.
After all, what do we want from school? That school is a learning space?
Citizenship is not optional
Yes, of course, but we are all aware that these learnings are not limited to content.
In fact, the ability to get students to look at the reality around them, to make them reflect on their changes and to build their own judgment to act in a manner consistent with their principles is also the role of the School.
Parents will of course be the first educators and the education system has never wanted to replace them. However, the School has always been a fundamental complement in this noble task of education.
We also know that values are transmitted in any discipline, but having a specific time for that Seat, Judge and Act is precious.
We are aware that it is not a discipline, let alone in an isolated way, which transforms our students into united and committed citizens for the common good, but we believe that it certainly makes possible a “conscious reflection on spiritual values, aesthetic, moral and civic. , in order to ensure its balanced civic development ”(Essential Learning of Citizenship and Development).
We are aware of the quality work developed in the classroom and its impact on the training of young people for the development of an enlightened citizenship (in fact recognized internationally), so we do not identify with any caricature of this learning space that distorts its meaning and scope
During all these years, how many projects have been developed in these disciplines, which look at current challenges and place our young people in front of these future needs?
How many thousands of children and young people have reflected on issues related to the environment, sustainability, health and well-being, identity, innovation, interculturality, creativity, democracy and the institutions that support it?
How many have learned the International Bill of Human Rights and the biography of people who fought for these rights and even gave their lives so as not to suffer the same deprivations?
About the two brothers from Famalicão
How many, using the most diverse practices, instruments and resources, have learned to listen to and respect the opinion of others, to organize group work, to be cooperative and creative, to think outside the box and to put yourself in other people’s shoes?
How many have developed a critical mind when faced with facts and opinions on which to reflect and take a stand?
How many have realized the importance of a greater good, the common good, that we can help to build, without diminishing ourselves as people, on the contrary, by growing as individuals?
We believe there will be many. But if there was only one, it would have been worth it.
Citizenship and development: a hypocritical controversy
We are aware of the quality work carried out in the classroom and its impact on the training of young people for the development of an enlightened citizenship (in fact, internationally recognized), so we do not identify with any caricature of this learning space. which distorts its meaning and scope.
Because it is up to the School to take care of today and tomorrow, to better prepare the citizens and the society to come. Because the School is responsible for taking care of the future, so that the future takes care of us, we are with Citizenship…!
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Ana Cláudia Cohen, director of the Alcanena school group
Ana Pina, Principal of Fernão Mendes Pinto Secondary School
António Castel-Branco, director of the Ferreira de Castro school group
Cesário Silva, director of the Marinha Grande Poente school group
Clara Félix, director of the Azeitão school group
Dulce Chagas, director of the Alvalade school group
Fernando Elias, director of the Beehive school group
Francisco La Feria, director of Serpa school group n ° 2
Hélia Rodrigues, director of the Matilde Rosa Araújo school group
Isabel Santos, director of the Caparica school group
Isabel Silva, director of the Alpiarça school group
Isilda Loureiro, director of the Gil Paes school group
João Paulo Mineiro, director of Quinta das Palmeiras high school
Jorge Tavares, director of the Marcelino Mesquita school group
José Conceição Bentes Guerreiro, director of the Paredes school group
Júlia Gradeço, director of the Oliveira do Bairro school group
Luís Novais, director of the Batalha school group
Lucinda Ferreira, director of the Santa Maria da Feira school group
Maria Celeste Sousa, director of the Nuno de Santa Maria school group
Margarida da Franca, director of the Alexandre Herculano school group
Maria da Graça Oliveira, director of the Carcavelos school group
Mário Rocha, director of the Cristelo schools group
Nuno Mantas, director of the Boa Água school group
Nuno Moutinho, principal of the Santa Maria Land school
Paulo Almeida, director of the Fernando Casimiro Pereira school group
Sara Guardado, director of the Atouguia school group
Teresa Lopes, director of the Ibn Mucana school group
The authors write according to the new spelling agreement