Kuben videregående skole (Kuben upper secondary school)
Democratic preparedness towards racism and discrimination
Working language during the project:
Themes of the Council of Europe campaign “FREE to SPEAK, SAFE to LEARN - Democratic Schools for All” covered:
- Making children’s and students’ voices heard
- Addressing controversial issues
- Preventing violence and bullying
- Dealing with propaganda, misinformation and fake news
- Tackling discrimination
- Improving well-being at school
Competences from the Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture (CDC) addressed and where / how they were integrated:
- Valuing democracy, justice, fairness, equality and the rule of law
The values are the framework, and the basis of what we do. We expect our students to know, live by and follow through on these values.
- Analytical and critical thinking skills
This is an important part of being a student, are integrated in different educational situations, and include skills such as writing papers with support from different sources, and the ability to uncover conspiracy theories. They are expected to present solutions on complex matters.
- Conflict-resolution skills
We have used conflict management/non-violent communications as a method for years, and educate peer mediators among the students.
Target group age range:
Level of education:
- Upper secondary education
Short description of the project:
Kuben Upper Secondary School (Kuben for short) is Oslo's largest school with about 1800 students (school years 11-13/ age 16 to 19). Kuben offers both vocational training (2-4 years) as well as general academic studies (three years). We have a very diverse student community.
Kuben participated in DEMBRA (Democratic Preparedness Against Racism and Anti-Semitism, a national program) in the school year 2018-2019. It provided us with the opportunity to work professionally and systematically with the attitudes of both students and employees in order to prevent exclusion and extremism.
Kuben seeks to develop methods for building relationships and a healthy learning environment. Our ambition is to include students, teachers and the school management, systematically using measures that combine instruction, activities that foster a harmonious and secure environment, and the use of conflict management/non-violent communications. This requires a continual focus on strengthening the social and emotional competences of both students and adults.
The students in our political science classes have been working on projects that seek to increase their awareness and understanding of voluntary or forced social exclusion. Learning from their own and other youths’ experiences of living in a diverse community, our students work on how to promote involvement and inclusion, exchange ideas and opinions, discuss the strengths and weaknesses of our local communities and democratic society, and counteract and prevent isolation, racism and conflict.
Kuben Upper Secondary School has recently been awarded the national award the Benjamin Prize (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Prize) for its long-term and systematic work against racism and discrimination.
Our ambition is to develop Kuben's educational programme and increase efforts to counteract voluntary or forced social exclusion among our students and in the wider community, and at the same time focus on inclusion, citizenship and democratic preparedness. We are still developing our work throughout the school.
Kuben would also like to develop an international network of schools to exchange ideas and experiences, and we want to expand our work and add a European dimension. Therefore, we are looking for suitable partners to join us in a project proposal for Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership KA201, Call 2020, with 2-3 compatible schools as partners. We will also seek to involve associate partners such as The Norwegian Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies. We have several ideas on activities and participants, and would like to develop these in collaboration with potential partners. The deadline for the application is March 2020.
We would like to create both real life and virtual collaboration spaces to encourage intercultural learning between Kuben-students and youth from other countries. We also seek to learn more on how to develop, organise and implement new educational programmes and methods on these issues in our school community.
The students have a greater awareness on the issues, a larger engagement on these questions and we experience that the values and the mindset is an important part of the whole organisation. We also have peer mediators among the students that help us handle difficult questions and situations in the student community. We have seen that the trained student mediators bring their knowledge with them into their local communities and help solve local conflicts amongst their peers.
Challenges you faced
The students only attend our school for three years on average, and we have new groups and students every year. Inclusion and creating a good, democratic environment are continuous work, and we never sit back and relax. In a world where we experience increasing polarisation, a large pressure on democratic values and a constant questioning of truths and facts through fake news and revisionists, we must educate students with strong democratic values and teach and encourage critical thinking.
Time-frame of the project:
The Erasmus+ KA201 lasts for three years.
Note that at Kuben we want democratic practices to be a part of our framework, and not just a time-specified project.
Council of Europe materials on citizenship and human rights education used while preparing or implementing your practice: