London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Citizenship education in the secondary school: Latvian experience and problems

Author(s) Inese Jurgena, Zigurds Mikainis  
Publisher CiCe Publications  
Year 2005  
Editor A. Ross, Teaching Citizenship  
Language English  
Age group -  
Latvia has regained its independence and is developing as a democratic state with a functioning liberal and open market economy. Integration in the European Union has also begun. Within this context, a transition to the civil society is taking place, which emphasises the need for education to focus on the development of an active personality, capable of functioning in a free civil society. The 1995 EU White Paper Teaching and Learning – Towards the Learning Society (COM(95) 590), points out the idea that ‘knowledge and practical skills will play a decisive role in the relations of an individual with his/her co-citizens’. This condition, which can be defined as ‘the learning relationship’, will become the dominating feature of our social structure (p 14). The Latvian national program The Integration of Society in Latvia (2001) emphasises the importance of active participation and points out that ‘the educational system affects the understanding and inheritance of social values to a great extent’; therefore, ‘children and young people are the most important target groups in the process of social integration’ (p 11). In the citizenship education curriculum it is intended to enhance the awareness of citizenship by young people, to consolidate it in activities related to increased individual participation, to perfect the forms of civic upbringing, and to promote the development of a system of basic citizenship values. Education is the most effective means by which the views of the younger generation can be formed and the skills related to democratic citizenship and consolidated society can be developed. This article analyses the experience of citizenship education in general secondary schools in Latvia and outlines the possibilities for its perfection.

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