The construction of peace for citizenship and human rights: main indicators

M.Carme Boqué (Coord.), Mònica Albertí, Montserrat Alguacil, Elena Carrillo, Laura García-Raga, Mercè Pañellas and Cèlia Rosich
Universitat Ramon Llull and Universitat de València

Maria Carme Boqué

Without doubt, education for peace is, in itself, a tool for the construction of a culture of peace (Brenes-Castro, 2004, Hutchinson, 1996). However, education for peace within formal education is done timidly and generally thanks to the support and know-how of third sector organisations that make their expertise available to schools[1]. However, this valuable cooperation takes place through the imbalance that a regular, external intervention represents, often experienced by students as a game that is unimportant and with teacher support that can certainly be improved.

The project La construcció de la pau en l'assignatura d'Educació per a la ciutadania i els drets humans: principals indicadors (the construction of peace in educational subjects for citizenship and human rights: main indicators)[2] was created under the Organic Law for Education (2006), which proposed the introduction of this subject into the curriculum of the various mandatory educational levels in Spain. This measure, far from becoming a clear answer to the challenges represented by democratic co-existence in our plural societies, has unsettled those social sectors that, based on a concept of people and of society rooted in values that are defended as if they were family values, believe that their rights have been violated, or even fear the indoctrination of young people and children. It also upsets those who claim that, if it is not accompanied by changes in the organisation of schools and in the social context, then the true spirit of the subject (educate for participative democracy and for the construction of a culture of peace rooted in human values) will be irredeemably limited to a marginal influence (Bolívar, 2007, Jares, 2006). Another reason for rejection that is quite widespread is the opinion that, in view of the poor performance of the education system, all efforts should be invested in the extension and improvement of core subjects and basic competences. We should mention that the first measure taken by the current Minister of Education was the decision to remove the educational subjects of citizenship and human rights from the official curriculum and, if this is not possible, to modify their content slightly.

Therefore, if education is the cornerstone in the construction of peace, as has been widely demonstrated by UNESCO (1995) through its transdisciplinary programme "Towards a Culture of Peace" and the actions derived from it, we now have the chance and the need to discover to what extent the curricular treatment of peace is a meaningful channel that is capable of promoting positive peace, this being understood as social justice, or far from that, if it relegates it to a secondary level through an irrelevant, vague and purely academic treatment that could even cause a negative predisposition in students[3].

The study consisted of making a preliminary diagnosis of the introduction of the subject Education for Citizenship and Human Rights (hereinafter ECHR) in Catalonia, specifically in primary education from the perspective of the construction of peace. To do this, two complementary studies were carried out that enabled, firstly, the construction and validation of an evaluative instrument of the construction of a culture of peace through education (Indicators of the Construction of a Culture of Peace through Education – ICCPE) made up of 4 principles and 8 standards (reference framework) and 39 indicators and 156 descriptors (instrumental framework) and, secondly, the application of the ICCPE to the analysis of curricular subjects and of the type of ECHR that gives us a first outline about the recent introduction of the subject of citizenship into schools. As a general conclusion, the research shows the need to extend the presence of the culture of peace in schools.


Barbeito, C., Caireta, M., & Vidal, C. (2008). Avaluar projectes d'educació per la pau. Informe resum Bones pràctiques d'Educació per la pau en contextos de conflicte armat. Barcelona: Escola de Cultura de Pau.

Bolívar, A. (2007). Educación para la ciudadanía. Algo más que una asignatura. Barcelona: Graó.

Brenes-Castro, A. (2004). An integral model of peace education. A L. Wenden (Ed.), Educating for a culture of social and ecological peace. New York: State University of New York, 77-98.

García Pérez, F.F. (2009). Educar para la participación ciudadana. Un reto para la escuela del siglo XXI. Investigación en la escuela, 68, 5-10.

Hutchinson, F. P. (1996). Educating Beyond Violent Futures. London, New York: Routledge.

Jares, X. R. (2006). Pedagogía de la convivencia. Barcelona: Graó.

Organic Law 2/2006 dated 3rd May on Education (LOE). Official State Gazette No. 106- 04/05/2006.

UNESCO (1995). Unesco's transdisciplinary project "Towards a culture of peace". [online]. [Consulta: 09.06.2011].

[1] Even so, García Pérez (2009, 9) makes the following criticism of educational initiatives that are carried out through non-formal education: this could mean that the development of said proposals will tend to become a kind of shop window for their good functioning, with the risk of falseness that this entails.

[2] This project received help from the International Catalan Institute for Peace (ICIP) (Resolution) Decision dated 10th November 2010, which ruled on the awarding of the granting of aid to research projects within the field of peace– RICIP 2010).

[3] This fact has also been referred to by Barbeito, Caireta, & Vidal (2008, 17) when they state that, in the educational projects for peace, often the activities are essentially games and are not accompanied by a theoretical discussion that will make it possible for there to be any content beyond the game. On other occasions the opposite happens; there are basically cognitive activities that are limited to working with concepts and not emotions, attitudes or behaviour, thereby failing to be transformative.