Low levels of social trust. Lack of civic activity. Low levels of political participation of many young people in the European and Bulgarian political process. In order to fully understand the roots of these problems, Policies for Development initiated its “Youth and democracy” programme, with a special focus on the factors and institutions that influence young peoples’ democratic values and believes. Our kickoff event in this strategic direction brought together government officials, think-tank experts, teachers and civic activists with the chief aim of formulating ideas for policy reform in the high school system that would provide a higher quality of civic education.
„Education should focus on creating active citizens” „Ideologies should not be present in the education system” “Fostering a viable democracy highly depends on the presence of democrats” „Bulgarian teachers should have the support of the entire society” These were some of the insights shared by participants in the panel discussion “Youth and democracy: what values should civic education develop in Bulgaria”. The event took place on June 24 in Grand Hotel Sofa with the kind support of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. Policies for Development organized the event with the conviction that civic education is far more than sharing information about the institutional structure and legal framework. Policies for Development takes the view that civic education has the potential to create the values that underpin modern society. The purpose of our conference was to structure the debate about civic education around a broader perspective – not just if it should be included in the school curriculum, but what values should it educate students – political participation, civic participation, engagement in local cultural and entrepreneurial activities. Over 60 representatives of state institutions, academia, school system and civic organizations took part in the event. Among them were dr. 2015: Public Events Rumyana Kolarova, Secretary for Education, Science and Civil Society of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, dr. Yanka Takeva, Chair of the Union of the Bulgarian Teachers, Dimitar Delchev, Member of the Parliament of Bulgaria and dr. Svetoslav Malinov, Member of the European Parliament.