Innovative Civic Education Course Materials Introduced at Universities Across Ukraine
In September 2018, universities across Ukraine received newly-published course companions for the International Foundation for Electoral Systems’ (IFES) university-level civic education course, “Democracy: from Theory to Practice” – a semester-long, interactive course on mindful democratic citizenship in the digital age.
The materials include:
- The Democracy: from Theory to Practice Course Reader, which lays out the theoretical foundation of the course and covers topics related to democratic governance, human rights, civil society and citizen engagement. Cross-cutting themes include: gender equality, elections, minority rights, inclusion of and accessibility for persons with disabilities, enfranchisement, good governance, rule of law, media literacy, digital participation, diversity, the role of money in politics, the role of youth, and corruption.
- The Democracy: from Theory to Practice Teacher's Manual, which offers teachers guidance on interactive teaching methodologies and in-class simulations. Moving away from traditional, lecture-based, top-down approaches, course teachers receive continuous training on interactive teaching methodology that will translate into a strengthening of their students’ sense of civic responsibility as well as the development of skills such as critical and abstract thinking, team work, media literacy, consensus building, and fact-based argumentation. Complementing IFES’ Teacher’s Manual, and ongoing, in-person, IFES-facilitated civic education trainings offered to university-level educators, IFES has developed training videos that can be used by educators as a complementary tool. These videos will serve as reference for teachers throughout the semester as they incorporate an interactive teaching methodology into their classrooms.
- The Democracy: from Theory to Practice Student Handbook, which guides students through the process of selecting and addressing problems. Through student action projects, students across Ukraine will be challenged to think critically about the needs of their communities, and research, develop and implement plans for civic action that address social problems they themselves identify, throughout the course of a semester.
The course materials were developed through a collaborative effort between Ukrainian and international experts, academics, and civil society leaders, based on IFES’ Strengthening Engagement Through Education for Democracy (SEED) methodology. Through SEED, IFES introduced an innovative, university-level civic education course in Georgia in 2011 that is currently offered at the majority of accredited universities in the country.
IFES’ “Democracy: from Theory to Practice” course is designed to strengthen the skills and knowledge that are essential for mindful, democratic citizenship in the digital age, while fostering democratic attitudes and values. This is achieved through an interactive, student-centered teaching methodology, student action projects, and customized course materials that focus on democratic principles, good governance, civil society, civic participation and human rights.
This initiative was made possible with the support of the United States Agency for International Development, Global Affairs Canada and UK aid.