Celebrating International Day of Education

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Ukrainian students participate in a hands-on activity as part of the course Democracy: From Theory to Practice.

Education – in particular, civic education – is a linchpin in building an engaged citizenry and inclusive, resilient and sustainable democracies. This is why we celebrate International Day of Education on January 24 and the power of education every day.

In recognition of the vital role that education plays in current and emerging democracies, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) partners with stakeholders around the world to deliver civic education. Our programs empower all people to participate more effectively in their countries’ electoral and political processes and provide them with tools to hold their elected representatives accountable.

When people are not empowered to effectively exercise and defend their or others’ democratic rights and responsibilities, disinformation, corruption and electoral fraud increase, and people miss the opportunity to meaningfully engage in community dialogue. IFES’ work to support informed, mindful and active civic participation through intersectional approaches and the inclusion of diverse groups of people such as youth, women, ethnic and religious minorities and persons with disabilities expands the potential for all people to shape their democracies and be represented in decision-making processes. Furthermore, IFES has adapted its educational toolkit to the online environment to bridge the learning gap that the COVID-19 pandemic has created and to encourage new digital and online forms of democratic participation.

Bangladeshi students proudly display their certificates after completing the pilot university course at Dhaka University.

IFES’ SEED Methodology Encourages Inclusive Democracy

In 2010, IFES developed a global university-level approach to civic education: Strengthening Engagement Through Education for Democracy (SEED). SEED empowers students to better understand the democratic process and their role and responsibilities within it. The SEED curriculum, materials and methodology are tailored to each country and designed to foster students’ democratic values and attitudes while equipping them with the knowledge and skills essential to effective and informed citizenship. Universities have proven to facilitate safe spaces for young people to expand their understanding of democracy and foster community-building among students and their networks.

Through SEED, IFES has worked with universities and education specialists in Armenia, Bangladesh, Georgia and Ukraine to develop fully accredited curriculums to introduce citizens to fundamental concepts of democratic citizenship, systems of government, civic participation and human rights, while building capacity through hands-on, real-world learning experiences. Faced with an unprecedented disruption to in-person learning, IFES swapped traditional classrooms for webinars to ensure students received uninterrupted access to their courses and teachers the support they needed to adapt to the new teaching environment. IFES’ response to the pandemic has set the COVID-19 generation up for long-term educational success.

We invite you to read the SEED fact sheet to learn more about its methodology and impact. As we celebrate 2021’s International Day of Education, IFES remains committed to the education of all people and the power education has to build democracies that deliver for all.

Read the fact sheet.

Learn more about IFES' civic and voter education programming and follow #COVIDxDemocracy for new analysis and innovative solutions.

Published on January 22, 2021.

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