Mark Saey | Civiclab | WELT


Mark Saey

Citizenship education in the EU has too often been limited to either short term or extra-curricular projects or a separate course. That is why it insufficiently covers the several school factors influencing the citizenship of our youth. Next to that there often is far too wide a gap between policy recommendations for citizenship education and the practice in schools.

WELT World Education – Learning for Tomorrow is designed to address those problems. So that the development of democratic citizenship can become sufficiently effective on a large enough scale.

WELT is the first integral approach to world citizenship education and is based on several years of experience and research of citizenship education in secondary education.[1] As a 10% project-layer in the largest part of the curriculum it integrates all relevant school factors:

  • connection between relevant curriculum content
  • citizenship of the role models (teachers)
  • purposive school policy
  • pupils participation
  • equality in the educational system.

The WELT trajectories almost automatically develop the knowledge, skills, values, attitudes or key competencies of the several matrixes of the EU, UNESCO, OECD. For Flanders the transversal goals VOET or the (in 2019-21) transversal competences decreed by government, and the competences of Active Citizenship, the (in 2018 introduced) optional course in the public education system GO![2]. The approach is sufficiently generic to be applied in the different school systems of the EU member countries and induces schools to locally work on problems that concern all of us, in cooperation with educational and civil society organisations. The main objective is to form extended schools for world citizens.

WELT also has the big advantage of not introducing an entirely new practice. Its base is the already since years successful and effective trans-course learning practice “Geintegreerde proef” or “Integrated test” in the technical, art and vocational tracks of the Flemish secondary system. Improving this base WELT upgrades these tracks and also makes it possible to introduce the practice in general education – contributing this way to more equality in unequal educational systems. After a first phase of dissemination, WELT, since 2017, inspires the upscaling of world-citizenshipeducation in Flanders through several channels. In 2019 it became official policy in the city educational system of Antwerp, proving its practical relevance for the modernisation of Flemish secondary education. [3]

This manual is made for all schools and school-systems that want more information or want to implement their own WELT trajectories. In Part I. the main parts of a trajectory are listed with a very short theoretical rationale, so that what is needed to prepare and conduct a WELT trajectory is introduced. Although everything can be read in more detail in Saey M. (2014): Jongeren worden wereldburgers (JWW) we have summarized and translated the story and selected some film fragments of the prize winning The Refugees Project, to illustrate every part and pass on the content of several lessons which we thought are most instructive to capture both the structure and purpose of the program.

[1] See Saey M. (2014): Jongeren worden wereldburgers, Gent: Academia Press/Lannoo. For an English synopsis, see here on this website. WELT actually introduces a new paradigm in world citizenship education, see here on this website.

[2] The writer was a member of the Commission Learning Line “Active Citizenship” of the Flemish public school system GO!

[3] A short history of WELT is provided at the beginning of Part II of this manual, the most important advantages or gains compared to the older paradigms are stated at the end of I.4, and the results with a WELT trajectory conducted in the general track are listed at the end of Part II.

The Manual

PART I. The parts of a WELT project

Although a WELT trajectory covers the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes of the several existing matrixes and combines all the relevant school factors, it is in essence quite straightforward.

Here we list the parts necessary to conduct a trajectory and very shortly explain the theory behind them.

1. Subject

2. Moral step-by-step plan

3. Organize the doing part

4. Fill out the didactical table

5. Organize a jury

PART II. Illustration

To illustrate the steps we selected mainly material of the celebrated Flemish trajectory The Refugees Project. This was undertaken with a for Flanders average class of 17-year olds, according to social position, value orientation and performance level. It gives you a rough standard for the general WELT practice or a useful example to adjust according to local needs.

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