The study, conducted by the Center for the Study of Democracy, provides a comprehensive and detailed picture of how democracy education is delivered in schools in Romania and proposes several policy recommendations and interventions. The emphasis is placed on the teaching of social education, starting from the premise that this discipline has the potential to integrate and enhance the pro-democratic skills and knowledge formed by the rest of the school subjects.

 

The study aimed to:

 

  1. Identify aspects of social education relevant to the quality of democracy, the determinants of these aspects, and the means by which this education can be performed.
  2. Describe the profile of teachers teaching social education in Romania.

 

The research methodology included interviews with teachers and experts, classroom observations, official statistical data and a representative survey for teachers teaching social education (this also included an interactive module to estimate respondents’ collaboration skills). The survey sample included 940 teachers from over 700 schools and every county in the country.

 

The study provides arguments that the chances for teachers to successfully train competences for democratic culture among students are greatly increased if they receive consistent training themselves. And changes should include not only the curriculum itself, but also how the subject is taught, as well as the nature of the climate in schools and universities.

 

 

Conclusions:

 

  • The level of social trust is higher among social education teachers than for the general population.
  • In terms of collaboration skills, female teachers score higher on average than men, those without leadership positions perform better than those in leadership positions, and those with social education as their primary subject perform better than those who teach social education in addition to the workload.
  • More than three-quarters of teachers feel the need for training for the education of students with special learning needs. Other types of development needs considered priorities are management of project-based learning activities, financial education, interactive teaching methods, classroom management and intercultural education.
  • Some substitute and junior teachers say they need a better knowledge of the local community and of their school to improve the teaching of social education.

 

 

Recommendations:

 

  • Increase the quality of existing courses and expand the offer of mandatory social education courses in the last grades of high school and at university level, to infuse civic culture among young people.
  • Review the training offer for future teachers to develop civic skills and attitudes, practices and teaching beliefs around the student and his unique development characteristics.
  • Include a training module explicitly addressing issues related to education in ethnically and socio-economically diverse environments in pre-service and in-service teacher training, as well as in the training of schools’ principals. Also, to include aspects aimed at developing their collaborative skills, and teaching knowledge to train collaborative skills among students.
  • Create quality video resources that can be used as illustrations or basis for discussions, case studies, learning sequences through discovery and problematization and distribute them to teachers free of charge.
  • Conduct studies to assess the impact of interventions on the teaching of social education in schools in Romania, and thus increase the possibility of evaluating interventions and developing policies.

 

The Center for the Study of Democracy is a research center established in 2006 by the Faculty of Political Sciences of Babeș-Bolyai from Cluj, Romania.

 

The study is only available in Romanian.