History and Civic Education

Systematic teaching about twentieth century conflicts, forms of political repression and propaganda, war suffering, war heritage and war narratives should be  a part of peace education and sustainable peace development.

Croatian society is burdened with issues of recent history war heritage, heritage of the Second World War and the Homeland War.  Thus, teaching about war heritage should be an integral part of peace education. Partialy, it is already a part of history education, but unfortunately it still optional to teach about these aspects of the issue. Teaching controversial and sensitive issues should not be sporadical and optional. Critical analysis of  historical sources should be systematically taught through all educational cycles and this method should be applied to all historical periods. The concept of multiperspectivity should introduce pupils to polyphony of war experiences. These concepts are essential in considering and teaching conflicts, overcoming conflicts and coexistence .

Therefore, in the year 2007 Documenta published Supplement for history textbooks on recent history, which caused a lively debate. Today, most of the controversial contents and methods used in the Supplement are today a standard part of history textbooks.

Peace education is part of the curricula of a new school subject called Civic education which is being introduced  through a pilot project in the school year 2012/2013 in 6 Croatian schools. This is a result of advocacy of ODG initiative. This initiative is a web of civil society organisations advocating the introduction of quality Civic education into schools. ODG initiative has given its inputs on the subjects' curricula and will also take part in developing the concept, realization and evaluation of the experimental introduction of the subject into schools. Documenta is an active member of the Initiative, advocating dealing with the past contents and methods in the Civic education curricula.

Teaching war heritage starts within history education, but it should go further. The concept of dealing with the past includes forms of individual and group dealing with war heritage. Sharing one`s war experience, listening to and appreciating different experiences can have healing impacts on participants. This concept  gives opportunity for Vergangenheitsbewältigung and is a precondition for a peace building process.

Documenta, as well as its employees, have organised several workshops on dealing with the past for secondary school pupils.

Dealing with the past is a logical part of Civic education subject curricula. However, only within an educational system which is humanistically oriented and well developed in terms of values, contents and competencies, will teaching about these topics reach full success.

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