1. I have followed, with concern, the controversy that has been waged on the subject of “Citizenship and development”, because I find there a lot of regrettable successive Portuguese experiences forgetting, because of the exalted content of some of the interventions , due to some misunderstanding about the purpose of discipline within the education system.
As a 6th and 7th year student, I still had “Political and Administrative Organization of the Nation” (OPAN,), inserted in the context of the Salazar regime. In 1975, I followed the “cultural dynamism” campaigns led by the radical nuclei of the revolutionary process. Today, some say that alongside other subjects, sexology and gender equality should be taught in public schools, at the risk of falling into the “fracture problems” sometimes mentioned.
On the contrary, I am clearly in favor of a discipline of citizenship (according to my letter to the reader of August 2), as long as your program acquires and encourages cultural coverage, is as consensual as possible and will be developed with a broad debate. public listening to family associations. It can be used to educate young adolescents about politics, who, by the age of 18, will be citizen voters.
For this reason, it should be a compulsory subject, but only for pupils in the last two or three years of secondary education.
2. All this in harmony with the democratic rule of law of art. 2 of the 1976 Constitution, founded on pluralism and the respect and realization of fundamental rights and freedoms, without any apparent or hidden tendency, of an authoritarian or totalitarian regime.
And looking for support in art. 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Endowed with reason and conscience, they must act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
A question of education
3. Education is the right and the duty of both parents (Articles 36 (3) and 66 (1) of the Constitution). And the state is responsible for providing them with protection and cooperation [arts. 66.º, n.º 1, e 67.º, n.º 2, alínea a)].
The State promotes the democratization of education and other conditions so that education, provided by school and by other means of training, contributes to equal opportunities, to overcome economic, social and culture, to develop the personality and spirit of tolerance, mutual understanding, solidarity and responsibility, for social progress and for democratic participation in collective life (art. 73 (2)).
But the state cannot program education and culture according to philosophical, aesthetic, political, ideological and religious principles (art. 43, n ° 2).
4. Naturally, the first subject to be taught should be that of human sociality and citizenship:
the necessary inclusion of everyone – from family, school, local community, religious denomination, professional group, trade union, political party to the state; integration into the state or citizenship – how to acquire and modify (in the broad sense) Portuguese citizenship; citizenship not only as nationality, but above all as active citizenship, as participation in collective life, through associations of all kinds, parties and groups of citizens, voting rights and other political rights; citizenship as a follow-up to the activity of state agencies, autonomous regions and local authorities.
5. At the same time, equality:
equality between men and women, without discrimination between the sexes and also taking into account any other orientation – but without entering into sexology (sex education belongs to parents); despite the progress made, the great inequalities that affect women, at work, in business and in politics and the means to combat them – without forgetting domestic violence; equality between Portuguese and non-Portuguese; watch out for immigrants and refugees; for equality, no other discrimination or privilege is allowed.
6. Insertion into the world, into a unique world as it is today:
The best of Público by e-mail
Subscribe to newsletters for free and receive the best news and the most in-depth work from Público.
Subscribe × citizenship also of a global nature, through the constant circulation of people and multiple organizations (from the European Union to the United Nations); globalization as a positive factor in this communication and interdependence; and globalization as a negative factor, by the flight of taxes to so-called “tax havens”, by the importation of goods from low-wage countries, by the political domination of large companies; international conflicts and their difficult solution; terrorism.
the preservation of the culture of each people as an element of identity and dignity; however, without enclosure and, on the contrary, open to other cultures; the preservation of Portuguese, the official language of Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, Angola, Mozambique and Timor, without letting it deteriorate in grammar or colonize in the lexicon by another or other languages; multiculturalism and universalism; literary and artistic life.
8. The environment:
the environment as a value in itself and as involving the rights and duties of all, of children; preserve the environment and preserve health; environmental sustainability between generations; technological contributions and also risks; the global environment.