University of Seville (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 86-95
ISBN: 978-84-616-3847-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2013
Location: Seville, Spain
This paper focuses citizenship education in Spain and Andalusia. We present a study where we show the main features of education for citizenship in Spain and analyze projects and programs offered by Andalusia's Consejería [Local Government Ministry] of Education to address the problem of coexistence. Specifically, the schools have various bodies and instruments including the Commission on Coexistence, the Coexistence Classroom, the Space of Peace School Project, the School Mediation Workshop, the Workshop on Reflection, etc.

The concept of citizenship admits of different definitions adapted to the context and events. This research work shares the vision given by Pérez Luño (2002): Citizenship is defined as a concept belonging to a democratic society that grants the exercise of rights and implies the responsibility of duties. It is a concept closely related to the freedom and equality of the human being, free of impositions and submissions, and which aims to consider men and women as active and responsible actors in the social context. Taking an educational approach as a starting point, Karen O’Shea elaborates in 2003 a Glossary of terms for Education for Democratic Citizenship (O’Shea, 2003), taking as groundwork the reports, studies and programs developed by the Council of Europe about this topic. He highlights the double dimension (juridical and socio-cultural) of the term citizenship referring, on the one hand, to the personal status of an individual whose rights and duties are legally recognized and, on the other hand, to the role played by the individual. It means the values and rules of behavior with regard to other members belonging to the same community.

To understand citizenship as a concept with a double dimension is to recognize the importance of its accomplishment, to highlight participation, and the necessity of looking for a way to grant peaceful coexistence fostering shared norms and values as well as the development of common awareness. Citizenship becomes not only a juridical status but also a way of life where it is necessary to share values and norms in order to cope with the common responsibilities of a social life. This final concept directly connects with the social and civic competence defined in European politics.

Despite the differences, the common pillar of the social and civic competence is the education geared to the application of the social dimension of citizenship. This sort of education is currently in great demand. We are witnessing the increasing significance of education as a key aspect for the development of skills, abilities and attitudes granting a peaceful coexistence and the rights and duties of human beings. The so-called knowledge-based society demands individuals able to face continuous changes, take decisions without external influence of the means of communication, select information and be aware of the necessity to grant a peaceful coexistence and fight for equal rights. Consequently, citizenship education is understood as a current need born from the characteristics of our society, which emphasizes the requirement of active citizens, aware of their rights and responsible for their duties. Citizens capable of making their own decisions, with critical thinking, engaged in achieving the common good, defending and promoting democratic values and willing to fight for equal opportunities as well as for the respect to diversity.
Citizenship education, social and civic competence, educational innovation.