Address: Zahum bb, Bosanska Krupa

Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina


Project: The Debate Club

Working language during the project:

  • Bosnian language

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
  • Preventing violence and bullying
  • 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:

  • Knowledge and critical understanding
    Through the debates
  • Skills
    Preparing, investigating and researching on the given topics
  • Attitudes
    Developing their own opinions, attitudes through research

Target group age range:

  • 5-11
  • 11-15

Level of education:

  • Primary education

Short description of the project:

We decided to form a debate club where students would be able to practice the variety of skills. Debates were, and still are being held, once or twice a month, on a given topic. The act of debating offers profound and lasting benefits for individuals, for societies and for the global community as a whole. With its emphasis on critical thinking, effective communication, independent research and teamwork, debate teaches skills that serve individuals well in school, in the workplace, in political life and in fulfilling their responsibilities as citizens of democratic societies. Once students have learned how to debate, they are better able to examine critically what their political representatives say and make informed judgments on crucial issues.


  • Implementation of EDC/HRE
  • Improving communication among teachers, students, parents, school management.
  • Improvement of the schools’ climate
  • Increasing awareness of children’s’ rights

Expected results/outcomes

  • Students improved their communication skills
  • Students learned to analyse issues and come up with solutions.
  • Students learned organization and clarity, how to persuade and how to listen
  • Students learned how to understand things objectively
  • Debate has helped students gain confidence
  • Debating has taught students the principles of tolerance, non-violence and respect for different points of view


Improvement was noticeable after the first debates. Students became more open and they also did research for each debate. The individual skills learned through debate have had a broader impact on society as well.

Communication between all the participants has been improved. The relations among students in the classroom have also improved as they helped each other during debates and worked very closely with each other. We had full support from the Parents’ Council.

The school climate has changed. It has improved because everyone participated in the debates and preparations for the debates. The relations among teachers, students and school management have also improved since the students were free to ask for advice about debate, debate topics or anything else in which they were interested.

Challenges you faced

Luckily for us we did not encounter any major challenges during implementing of our project. Probably the biggest problem we faced was that in the beginning some teachers were reluctant to this idea and did not believe that Debate club would be anything good, and that it was just a waste of time. We held few extra meetings with those teachers and explained them the benefits of having a debate club for both students and teachers. After realizing how important debate club is they joined the project.

Time-frame of the project:

September 2015 – ongoing

Council of Europe materials on citizenship and human rights education used while preparing or implementing your practice:

  • Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture
  • Living Democracy - manuals for teachers
  • Democratic governance of schools
  • Addressing violence in schools through EDC/HRE
  • Compass
  • Compasito
  • Signposts
  • Human Rights and Democracy Start with Us – Charter for All
  • Freedom(s) - Learning activities for secondary schools on the case law of the European Court of Human Rights
  • How all Teachers Can Support EDC/HRE: A Framework for the Development of Competences

Additional material provided by the school