EU-society faces four major challenges: the Anthropocene crisis, digitalisation, the pandemic and the Ukraine war and its consequences. All these challenges put at risk the model of liberal democracy, which, of course, has faced similarly internal threats (e.g. political polarisation, right wing extremism, mistrust in scientific research and conspirational beliefs) and external critique (questioning whether plural democracy is the best model to affront societal challenges).
Education, and especially Education for Democracy (EfD), shall contribute to the defence and enhancement of democracy. This includes the values and principles encompassed within the UN’s 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals. Goal 4.7, in particular, defines that education
should promote sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity.
To reinforce the resilience and sustainability of democracy, Democrat aims, through a participatory approach, to elaborate curricula for EfD based on a framework of responsible democratic competences (RDCs), to test them in open, local, innovative learning projects and to develop a toolbox to support the development of transformative EfD practices in the EU and beyond. DEMOCRAT’s ambitious research and innovation programme will provide insights into the points of comparison and contrast in EfD in the EU-member states, and will develop an innovative curriculum framework linking RDCs with digitalisation and sustainability. DEMOCRAT will test and analyse pedagogical practices and material considering its effectiveness for acquiring democratic competences and European identity. It will garner insights into the factors influencing the impact of EfD on public participation through the analysis of European datasets, with a particular focus on the relation between socio-economic and educational inequalities and political and social participation.