Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only T&Cs apply

Find out more

Educational policy and the promotion of democracy

Lead academics introduce the course, its aims, and its structure.
According to Portuguese laws and particularly education regulation, it is expected that teachers promote, build, and educate for democracy. When we pay attention to the architecture of the Constitution of Portuguese Republic, we notice that democracy is both its starting point and it’s topic final target. Democracy is part of our main legislation documenting documents defining Portuguese education system. As it is part of the particular schools education projects DNA. Specifically, when we attend the basic law of education system. Democracy and democratisation is a term that appears several times, is guide of Portuguese society building in consonance with Portuguese Republic constitution and the basic law of education system, we highlight two documents. First, desirable profile of students at secondary system.
And second, the national strategy for citizenship education referential. The first document is the result of a public debate, and it aims to give answers to the concrete issues our societies are facing in order to mobilise schools and society for a better education. These are the desirable profile of students set secondary system establishes a humanistic basis profile. And this means the consideration of a society centred on human dignity and of person a central valence. I feel like the Education Act 2002 which requires all schools to provide a broad and balanced curriculum and promote a spiritual, moral, and physical development of all pupils, our schools, and of society. I feel like this act requires schools to actively promote British values.
And this is a requirement of the act, so it’s a legal requirement. So they’re promoting of British values does tie in, I feel like nicely with aspects of the democratic culture in particular, I feel that with regards to the Council of Europe’s competences are looking at the strong values and attitudes, I feel that promoting British values helps promote democracy. For example, in the introduction, the promoting of British values, there’s a real emphasis on having a strong school ethos in promoting spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. And people are encouraged to regard people of all faiths, races, and cultures with respect and tolerance.
And as I mentioned earlier, I feel that this really encompasses the Council of Europe’s competences, and particularly the value aspect. In one hand, in my country, the social studies curriculum promotes democracy, democratic education. Because we have standards or competences like critical thinking on social issues, active participation in a democratic society, and commitment to the defence of yeses and freedom. But on the other hand, we miss a lot of hours of humanities, social studies, and especially philosophy. Sometimes I think that the competences that we have in our curriculum, are too much oriented for the market framework.

As we have explored in the previous step, the promotion of democracy has for a long time been one of the tasks of schools within democratic systems. But this demand is now becoming increasingly urgent. In recent times, we have seen how democracy is in crisis: growing inequalities, a rise of xenophobic and racist attitudes, increasing examples of fake news and hate speech on social media, and high levels of frustration particularly among marginalised groups and young people. Indeed, across Europe and more widely, the globe, teachers in schools are expected to engage students as democratic citizens. The hope is that education for democracy will help to tackle radicalisation and combat support for totalitarian and discriminatory views.

In this video, you can listen to teachers from three different countries (England, Portugal and Spain) explaining how the educational policies that regulate their teaching practices relate to the promotion of democracy in schools.

This article is from the free online

Promoting Democracy in the Classroom: A Practical Guide for Teachers

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now