In 2013 the Office for European Expertise and Communications (OEEC) in partnership with the Brussels-based Office for Democratic Belarus (ODB) launched a series of sectoral overviews with the goal to examine capacity of Belarusian civil society organizations vis-àvis a number of identified sectors.
The overviews foresee collection of data on activities of and services offered by civil society organizations (CSOs) and other stakeholders within each given sector from various sources. The first sectoral on civic education was implemented by the research team composed of Vladimir Korzh, Valery Zhurakovski, Olesya Obrazhey and Ekaterina Anoshko.
- Only 1,2% of Belarusian population in age from 14 and older are involved in civic education programs that are put in practice by the Belarusian non-governmental organizations.
- Over 40 CSO today provide civic education services in Belarus. The understanding of civic education by the Belarusian CSOs principally corresponds with the European approach to civic education stated in the documents of the European Council, with the special focus on national specifics and interests. The overview of the civic education CSOs’ existing programs shows, however, that there are practically no programs aimed at civic education in its classical meaning. CSOs include components of civic education into their other projects, e.g. the Golden Age University is a part of the program aimed at raising the quality of life and status of the elderly people.
- The CSOs, however, express concern with the alleged controversy and differences existing in their approaches to civic education, which suggests lack of communication and cooperation within the sector.
- Regulatory framework in Belarus does not prohibit CSOs to participate in civic education processes; democracy-related issues are not contradictory to the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus where the country is named a “democratic, social state based on the rule of law”. However, the cases of including CSOs in the lists of co-implementers of the state programs are few. Civic educational CSOs make attempts to build cooperation with the state educational system but the attempts are sporadic and have not yet become a determining factor of the development of democratic civic education in the country.
- Civic education by Belarusian CSOs is overwhelmingly focused on cultivating the competences of civic participation. It lacks, however, the proper focus on civic knowledge, the knowledge of legal mechanisms and structures of Belarusian state, principles, documents and ideas meaningful for constitutional democracy of Belarus, of political mechanisms for representing public opinion and making political change.
Download the full version of the results of the analysis of the civic education sector in Belarus that was prepared in 2013.