In order to prove the importance of peaceable and democratic future societies, textbooks, curricula and other educational media must be free from prejudice, images of the ‘enemy’ and stereotypes. In this way, the next generations can acquire knowledge and skills that promote understanding and cooperation between countries.
The experiences of the two world wars in the twentieth century were the key impetus that led to curricula and educational media for history and politics education being subject to critical analysis. The education sector has made an invaluable contribution to the success reconciliation and understanding, and has strengthened international willingness to cooperate, both within Europe and beyond. New curricula and standards emerged that promoted education oriented toward peace and democracy.
However, the new standards have in recent years been criticised or called into question through nationalist or xenophobic discourse in numerous countries. This requires new methodological and conceptual approaches to deal with different challenges:
- At a political level, the return of military conflicts or threats (frozen conflicts), new nationalism and populist movements, shook the European conception of its post-war society being based on principles of peace building and cooperation.
- At the level of education in schools, history teaching lost its dominant position within general political education in many countries and subject-specific teaching had to be reimagined within skills-oriented education.
- At the organisational level, organisations that had traditionally addressed bi- and multilateral curricula and textbook reform (for instance UNESCO or Council of Europe) were confronted with an increasing number of civic initiatives.
With the foundation of EFREC, the Leibniz Institute for Educational Media | Georg Eckert Institute has found an effective response to these new challenges. Within EFREC we can achieve structured communication between the numerous initiatives and create a foundation for joint projects.
Read here about what does EFREC provide.