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openDemocracy is partnering with the World Forum for Democracy 2016, to draw inspiration from a wide range of innovative grassroots and political initiatives worldwide, and kick-start the debate on what education can do for democracy and what democracy can do for education.

Democracies contain a promise of equitable education opportunities. But social divides persist, and are even growing worldwide. Is education fulfilling its democratic mission or is it failing to build the key qualities for democratic citizenship? How can education not only preach but also practice democracy, nurturing active citizens with critical and analytical skills? How can teachers, learners, families, civil society organisations, public authorities, and the media foster this?

Taking dialogue into schools

A German school programme uses dialogue to move beyond the 'us versus them' of polarised societies. - free thinking for the world

The Uberfication of teaching

Our schools are addicted to the tyranny of measurement, underpinned by a multibillion dollar business.

This week’s front page editor


Sunny Hundal is openDemocracy’s social media editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The European University at St Petersburg: no license to learn?

The European University at St Petersburg has had its education license revoked. What’s next for one of Russia’s top higher education institutions? Русский

An Arendtian approach to post-truth politics

Arendt warns that a claim to absolute truth in the political sphere, with no support from opinion, would threaten to asphyxiate politics. For debate constitutes the essence of the political. 

British academia's colourblind problem: an interview with Dr Nicola Rollock

Dr Nicola Rollock, lead author of the award-winning book The Colour of Class: the educational strategies of the Black middle classes, discusses race, equality and education in the UK.

In Russia, propaganda starts in preschool

Militaristic ideas and gender stereotypes can dominate one’s early life in Russia — as public holidays in honour of the country’s military and women show. Русский

Standing on the shoulders of Summerhill School

From the beginning of my work with Summerhill, initially as a fulltime science teacher, I worked with the children to share their experiences with other schools, teachers and universities.

Two schools under one roof: a lesson in ethnic unmixing from Bosnia’s segregated school system

What about one inclusive people that welcomes differences while looking for similarities? Who stands in the way?

Ukraine’s displaced universities

Almost three years of war in eastern Ukraine have left their mark on the region’s education services. Without a resolution to the conflict in sight, the uncertainty means that many students in occupied territories can’t plan their futures. RU

Introducing this week's theme: World Forum for Democracy on "Democracy and Equality: Does Education Matter ?"

Since November's World Forum for Democracy 2016, openDemocracy has been exploring how education can rebuild democracy in a world of deepening inequalities. This week, we brought our latest evidence together.

How do we break the filter bubble, and design for democracy?

Some designers have developed software that actually combat online filter bubbles. But how these designers interpret democracy – aggregating choice – limits these tools. Democracy is so much more.

The Kiron family

We revisit the social start-up that gives refugees access to higher education, meeting a 24 yr.old Syrian beneficiary and a Kiron co-founder, both of whom’s future plans build on this ingenious scheme. Interview. 

The Uberfication of teaching

Our schools are addicted to the tyranny of measurement, underpinned by a multibillion dollar business.

Jobs above all else

Neither the MENA governments nor the international community can afford to let the region’s young down. It is time to effect change to give MENA youth what they really need to succeed: jobs above all else.

Nothing’s more meaningful than self-education – but to do that in a prison cell, you need books

Haven Distribution is a UK charity aiding prison education, through a simple but significant contribution: buying and sending books to prisoners.

Children need to be ready for the twenty-first century – but what does that mean?

Global Citizenship Education is a complex undertaking, encompassing IT-literacy and the promotion of peace and diversity. It suggests a deep overhaul of our ways of thinking, teaching, and looking at the world.

In South Africa, what are we supposed to do away with when we decolonise the curriculum?

This is not a project that one racial group can claim sole custodianship over. It is a concerted effort to bring into dialogue, and even contestation, locally-theorised knowledge from Africa with knowledge from across continents.

The ‘decolonise the curriculum’ movement re-racialises knowledge

It represents a backward view of knowledge, it entrenches racial thinking, and it presents a degraded view of black students.

Dialog macht Schule: taking dialogue into schools

A highly innovative German school programme uses dialogue to move beyond the us versus them of our polarised societies. We find out how well this works. Interview.

Brexit wrecks it: the theory of collective decision making

Basically, political decision-making should not be win-or-lose, as facilitated by the most ancient, primitive, divisive and inaccurate measure of collective opinion ever invented.

Towards dialogue in Northern Ireland

Can education, notions of deliberative democracy and intercultural integration come together to rescue our dysfunctional democracies?

Silent lunches: how do we get to educational reform in the US?

“As you well know, there is a lot of inequality in American schools and schooling…  and a whole emphasis on standardised tests, especially in schools of the kids of the poor.”

Democracy education under siege and now Trump

“Build the Wall! Build the Wall! BUILD THE WALL!” Update from the US professor of the philosophy of education who was president of the John Dewey Society 2009 - 2011.

In a world of hate, fear and ‘alternative facts’, education really does matter

“It cannot be right, that people can grow up and go to school and hardly ever come into meaningful contact with people from other backgrounds and faiths.” David Cameron, July 2015.

Back to the future: the rebirth of a classical approach to democracy and education in a post-modern society

Education – combined with technologies  – seems to have triggered a sea-change in the contract between government and those who are governed.

I went to a state grammar school but no they are not the answer

Does an 11 year old who has been told they have failed seem to you like someone who is really going to rally behind learning?

Teaching schoolchildren in east London to discover their political voice

Two history teachers took their 12-year-old school students through a journey of discovering the history of Britain’s voting rights, and what theirs look like today.

Melissa Benn: Is politics and policy too toxic for Dewey?

UK political developments over the last twenty years have seen a growing acceptance of the idea of comprehensive education. But that acceptance of non-selective schools is based on a profound, hostile rejection of progressive ideas.

Our crisis of democracy is a crisis of education

From Trump to climate change, our children must be prepared for the huge challenges of this century. So why are we still preparing them for a nineteenth-century industrial culture which doesn’t exist?

Learning in a 'movement moment'

To transform our relations amongst ourselves and with our planet, we must be hell-bent on a praxis that confronts our own limitations, and that is committed to the revolutionary potential of learning.

In the age of Brexit and Trump, we need ‘development education’ more than ever

Rooted in the philosophy of Paulo Freire, ‘development education’ offers a critical point of resistance to the gross socio-economic inequality which fed the divisions of the UK’s EU referendum and US presidential election.

The IMF on inequality: beyond organised hypocrisy?

So far, the nature of Christine Lagarde’s speeches and the discussions I had with Fund staff this week suggest that there is more work to be done.

The mystery of ‘populism’ finally unveiled

The philosopher of post-Fascism enters the populism fray with his own candidate for post-truth – Left betrayal. Czech.

The current and future challenges of Middle Eastern studies

In the wake of Trump's victory, what are the challenges for Middle Eastern studies in the US? And what should be the role of academics in the field?

Surviving sociology in Egypt and elsewhere

Strangely, although nationalism is a pervasive social phenomenon with immense effects everywhere in the world, it’s not a central preoccupation of sociology or any of the dominant social science disciplines. Interview.

Mind your language

As Marine Le Pen calls on French citizens to renounce dual citizenship in France’s presidential election campaign, bilingual school education is the site of another battle for diversity in Wales.

Fighting inequality in the UK has to start young

“Universality is key to sustainability and to acceptability of programmes of this kind.  Universal support also reflects our strong belief that parenting skills are not innate and all parents need support.”  

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