Chapter 4: Not About the Number of Seats in Parliament: Education for Democracy and its Places
Krzysztof Stanowski This is the edited protocol of a conversation with Krzysztof Stanowski, Deputy Minister of Education in Poland, which took place on 31 July 2008. Prior to his work for the government, Stanowski was a programme director and President of the Education for Democracy Foundation. The Foundation seeks to improve the understanding of rights and responsibility that come with democracy and a free market. Stanowski was elected an Ashoka Fellow in 2000. 4.1 FUNDACJA EDUKACJA DLA DEMOKRACJI – EDUCATION FOR DEMOCRACY FOUNDATION (FED) Rafael Ziegler: In your view, education for democracy is, above all, indirect education; it consists not so much in passing on knowledge about parliamentary systems or about voting in presidential elections as in the experience of social interaction. Please explain, and how this pedagogy informs the FED approach. Krzysztof Stanowski: In the region FED works, that is, in the former Communist countries, the main issue with respect to human rights and civil society is not ‘the law’ or ‘legal status’. The Soviet Union had the constitution with the longest list of human rights – the only problem: it was just a joke. Unlike in post-Apartheid South Africa, the ‘division of power’, the ‘constitution’, ‘human rights’ are well known by people in the postcommunist countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, but the reality for them is such that they do not understand these concepts as something to be taken seriously. So the main issue to change the situation is to help people to believe in these concepts, and...
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