‘Although paying a visit to the groups engaged with migration was the thing the students wanted most, it was the information dispersed by FAN that would spark in Rob and the others the indignation over so much injustice. It was there and then that the students would go from the critique of the refugee problem to the political questioning of their world – as we more or less predicted in the preparation of our subject. In its brochure FAN explained what the students had so far only touched upon in the most abstract way. To explain their reaction – or illustrate how the LWZ could this way activate many of the matrix items – we can copy the following part:
“One and a half million Belgians (one out of seven) lives on or below the poverty line (822 euro per month). Opposite that financial capital represents 300% of the Belgian GNP. That’s about 300.000 billion old Belgian Franks (some 7500 billion euro, MS). That is the largest comparison per head in Europe. What’s more, the resulting income is barely taxed. This explains the thousands of rich French and Dutch fiscal refugees coming to Belgium, looking for all kinds of financial privileges: back secrecy, hardly any tax on profits from the stock market, no capital tax and no fair tax system in general. In Belgium this rests on taxes on labor and consumption. Personal taxes weigh heavily on small and medium incomes. There is a sharp unbalance between taxes on labor and taxes on financial income (…) Taxes are necessary (…) They make it possible to redistribute wealth in society (…) Most mobile incomes, so stemming from capital ownership, can escape ever more and ever better from taxes. In twenty years fiscal paradises or tax havens in the world have grown in numbers from some thirty up to now 72.”
“How is that possible?! In all this misery these people are getting richer and richer or what?!” That was the moment when Rob in the presence of others declared his indignation over what I had just read to them. As a response he immediately wanted me to repeat what I had taught them about left and right, socialism and liberalism and how these corresponded to present day political parties. A remarkable change. Because before Rob explicitly was not interested in politics at all, now he thought people “should have an idea of how to better organize this shit”. He expressed himself, let’s say somewhat more direct than most others but he definitely could take the lead like no other could. Whilst I tried the best I could to answer his faster and faster coming questions – like “right stands for accepting huge inequalities, being left means taking sides with the poor and weak” – the others joined in (…)’ (JWW, p.236-237)
In the third part of this phase we would also go from the general or the abstract to the concrete – in fact from the global to the national. But before that there were the lessons about the values and objectives of World Citizenship Education. These the students had to learn and then evaluate their own learning process with. Because they had to present an overview to their parents, principal and jury during their info-evening in one of the historical buildings of the city of Oudenaarde. The content we used was based on the educational principles of Kleur Bekennen, an organization that has already moved mountains for WBE in Belgium. This way the students began to see more clearly exactly where this trajectory wanted to take them.
WBE Principles (Kleur Bekennen)
Definition world citizen.
Cultural: a world citizen looks for connection in diversity, for what unites us culturally and religiously. Only when we know who we are, what values we have and recognize the diversity within our own communities, can we entertain a meaningful dialogue with others.
Ethical: a world citizen is convinced that everybody shares one and the same world. He keeps an eye to the national and international context in which events happen. That way he can analyze and understand the events that influence his life. A world citizen cherishes diversity and shows real engagement and solidarity with other people. He knows his acts can have consequences for the environment, the animals and humans on earth. World citizens realize they have a responsibility for the future of all and have to solve common problems together.
Political: a world citizen wants world democracy. By participating on local and global levels, by assembling all forces and concerns form below, he can help organize and improve our world.
– Think critically about the relations between North and South and about your own and others’ cultures
– Detecting structural problems in a global society
– Work together with others and take up responsibility in society
– Understand diversity, value it and think it natural
– Be prepared to solve conflicts peacefully
– Adapt life style and consumer habits to protect future generations and preserve the environment
– Defend human rights
– Know how to participate in policy at school, locally and internationally
– Work in a process manner (the journey is more important than the result, work with an eye on influencing school policy)
– Get the pupils to participate in an active way
– Experience driven learning
– Integrated approach (cross course or transversal approach, use different possible angles, search for links with other themes)
– Involve partners in and around the school
– Evaluate and adjust (including self evaluation)