London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Education for democracy and citizenship in the Czech Republic

Author(s) Pavel Vacek  
Publisher CiCe Publications  
Year 2000  
Editor Alistair Ross, Curricula for Citizenship in Europe  
Language English  
Age group -  
The broader social context of Czech society influences the situation in education for democracy in these ways: there has only been a short period for the democratic development of Czech society; there is as yet an unmarked political scene, with few guidelines; people in the Czech Republic do not yet quite believe in the basic principles of democracy; in Czech society there is a preference for satisfying material needs and less interest in spiritual and cultural values; there is a strong aversion to terms that were discredited in the totalitarian era ('ideological contamination') e.g. socialist morals, socialist democracy and citizenship etc. Education for democracy and broader citizenship is not yet at the centre of the concerns in our schools; this education is given in the form of abstract principles ('empty' proclamations). Education for democracy is more deductive than inductive - pupils and students do not learn from their own experiences. In Czech schools children are very passive - in the past teaching relied extensively on the parrot repetition of abstract and ideological dogmas. Our education makes minimal appeal to the mind (everything is done, there is no room for doubt, no questions, no discussion) and there is a tendency to ignore contemporary conflicts. The last part of the paper deals with the implementation of education for democracy and citizenship in teacher education programmes, (undergraduate and postgraduate). These programmes are based on four elements of education for democracy (Berkowitz, 1998): § Foundational capacities for democratic functioning. § Educating for democratic knowledge § Practising democracy § Building democratic character

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