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BREXIT: WHAT NOW FOR EUROPEAN AND GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION?
Thu 30 March 2017, 18:00 – 20:30 BST
Since the vote for Brexit questions have been raised about the relevance of the current citizenship education curriculum in England, and more broadly the values that should be taught in schools across the UK. Topics that were once self-evidently necessary are now questioned: on European and international institutions, respect towards refugees and minorities, and the general interconnected and interdependent nature of individuals’ lives and countries around the world. There is a risk that in the future education becomes more inward looking and focused narrowly around the nation state. Inside or outside of the European Union, it still makes sense for young people to continue to learn about the region of Europe where they live and the political institutions that govern much of the territory.
The referendum has coincided with a growth of openly intolerant abusive behaviour and attitudes in society. Britain post Brexit will remain a very diverse society comprising of people drawn from a wide range of ethnicities, backgrounds and beliefs. Young people need to learn the qualities for tolerance, understanding and respect for their neighbours both close at hand and abroad. How can we sustain an outward looking approach to the world in our education system?
Brexit, in whatever form it takes, will alter what it means to be a citizen of the United Kingdom. After 40 years of membership of the European Union, British citizens will no longer be European citizens too. The source of much of our law, and the means of seeking redress for grievance, will change. Acting in concert with other European citizens to seek improvement and protection of the environment, to argue for and implement common standards in employment and consumer rights will not be the same. The future rights of a substantial group of European citizens that continue to reside, work, and raise families in the UK will likely change. Their children, in British schools, will require support to understand their new identity.
The process of Brexit is likely to be neither short nor simple, and the relationship with the European Union will evolve over an extended period, potentially throughout the school life of an entire generation. What do we need to change in our citizenship curriculum to enable young people to understand and engage with these issues as they emerge?
It is still unclear of the impact of the vote to leave the EU on our involvement in programmes like Erasmus Plus, where young people learn about other cultures, and opportunities to travel, learn and earn in EU countries. How can we persuade policy makers of the value of continuing involvement in such programmes and opportunities? How can the opportunities for young people to learn and work abroad be protected?
This seminar will be a chance for the Citizenship Education community comprised of teachers, researchers, NGOs, young people and political leaders to start a conversation and build a network for supporting and maintaining global and European citizenship education in schools.