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Secondary school programmes in CIS countries - An overview

31-03-2003

Introduction

 

Introduction 
 
  The programme    |   Learning goals    |   Implementation    |   Evaluations    |   Continuation    |   Developing partnerships      
   
The Programme 
Since 1995, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) - working in cooperation with Ministries of Education and the national Red Cross and the Red Crescent societies and of seven States of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) - has been running an educational programme. The objective of the Secondary School Programme in CIS Countries is to introduce adolescents to the basic rules and principles of international humanitarian law (IHL) . Also known as the Law of Armed Conflict, IHL aims to protect life and human dignity during armed conflict and to reduce and prevent the suffering and destruction that results from war.

Secondary school pupils between the ages of 10 and 17 years, including students of colleges and lyceums (especially military colleges and lyceums) benefit from the programme, which builds on school manuals and teachers'guides that were developed by the ICRC and local experts. Depending on the context, the manuals provide material for between eight and twenty academic hours. As of today, more than 10 million manuals have been published and distributed . The Secondary School Programme in the CIS is one of the ICRC's longest-running, and most ambitious preventive action programmes. Every year, it reaches out to more than 5 million young people and 180'000 teachers in the Russian Federation, the South Caucasus and Central Asia . Through the insertion of IHL into the respective course curricula, the teaching of the basics of this body of law has already become a compulsory feature in a number of CIS countries.

   
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Learning Goals 
The school manuals emphasise local humanitarian traditions, drawing parallels between a country's culture, history and literature and modern international humanitarian law (IHL). Rather than offering exhaustive information on IHL, the manuals stress the principles underlying IHL: humanity, the respect for human dignity, and compassion. Wherever possible, interactive teaching methods are used to enhance a critical and analytical debate among the pupils. In particular, the programme seeks to prepare young people to:  

Distribution of ICRC school manuals in Baku, Azerbaijan 

 
  •  
  • understand the need to respect life and human dignity, especially in times of violence and armed conflict;  
  • acquire knowledge of humanitarian norms applicable in times of armed conflict;  
  • acquire knowledge of the International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent  
  • understand current events from a humanitarian point of view;  
  • counter indifference and feelings of helplessness with regard to situations of violence;  
  • engage actively in community activities in order to promote solidarity and to prevent or defuse violence.  
 
   
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Implementation 
 

The implementation of a country programme engages a network of trainers, regional coordinators, and contact persons within the Ministries of Education, as well as representatives of national Red Cross or Red Crescent societies. Regular seminars have been and are being conducted to train trainers . So far, more than 800 such seminars have been conducted by the ICRC. Thousands of seminars have been delivered by ICRC-trained tr ainers.

In all the countries, various side activities have emerged . Since the year 2000, all of Uzbekistan's 8500 secondary schools have participated in annual, nation-wide contests on humanitarian issues. In Georgia, the ICRC has initiated a play based on Chingis Aitmatow's Mangourte, which highlights the provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the treatment of prisoners of war. In Azerbaijan a Pantomime Theater group regularly gives performances on humanitarian themes contained in the school manual. In the Russian Federation, IHL-education was also introduced in Cadet schools and the secondary schools'pre-military training courses. Subsequently, IHL has also become a subject which is being tested in nation-wide competitions for these youngsters. A similar strategy has been adopted in Central Asia. In all contexts, documentaries and radio spots were produced to promote the programme through the media. Teachers in all countries demonstrated their professional skills, imagination, and enthusiasm for the programme by developing a number of activities with their pupils such as wall-stands, essay and drawing contests, and plays.

   
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Evaluations 
After several internal evaluations - focusing mainly on distribution and utilisation of the manuals - in 2000 a large scale evaluation (covering quantitative and qua litative aspects) was conducted in the Russian Federation, Georgia and Uzbekistan by experts of the British-based Carl Bro Consulting Group. The final report underlines two major trends: a) the broad support of the programme by pupils, teachers, parents, authorities, and the national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in the region, and b) a clear increase of knowledge and comprehension of humanitarian issues by young people who studied the manuals.    
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The Continuation of the Teaching of Humanitarian Principles 
In order to ensure the sustainability in the teaching of humanitarian principles in the CIS, the ICRC lobbies on an ongoing basis for the inclusion of IHL into the respective course curricula . Successful attempts have been made in most of the countries to include IHL education in both in-service teacher training and initial teacher training at pedagogical universities. In 2002/03, the process of handing over of the programme to the Ministries of Education and the national Red Crescent and Red Cross societies has begun. The last new school manuals sponsored by the ICRC were published in the school year 2002/03. In 2003, a special pedagogical guide on IHL-education was published to support Central Asian teacher training institutes and pedagogica l universities. The ICRC will continue to monitor the further development of the programme, to offer its expertise where required and lobby for the inclusion of IHL in all relevant course curricula and in new school books. Today, IHL has already been introduced into more than 18 new manuals in the Russian Federation, thereby becoming an integral part of basic education in secondary schools.    
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ICRC: Developing Partnerships 
The ICRC is convinced of the long-term benefits of the Secondary School Programme in CIS Countries. As such, the ICRC is determined to ensure its sustainability, by consolidating and building on the achievements made during the first phase of this programme. The ICRC is therefore looking for partners interested in taking over the financing of the programme over the next years . The ICRC will continue to act as a facilitator, offering expertise through its teams of local experts. Manuals will have to be updated, reprinted and distributed; teacher training has to be continued; the necessary monitoring and follow-up has to be carried out. Organisations or individuals who are interested are invited to contact the ICRC in Geneva at the following address: ICRC / COM_EDUC_YOUTH / 19 Avenue de la Païx, 1202 Geneva / Switzerland.

Overview per Country

 

Overview per Country 
 
  South Caucasus    |   Russian Federation    |   Central Asia      
   
South Caucasus 
 

ICRC school manuals for Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan
 
   

 Armenia  

1997: publication and distribution of 73'000 literature manuals entitled " My little Planet " for 5th grade pupils (11 years) plus corresponding teachers'guides.

2002/03: publication and distribution of 72'000 literature manuals entitled " Man to Man " for 7th grade pupils (13 years) plus corresponding teachers'guides.

 
  Special Report 2003: Lessons for Life - humanitarian law for adolescents / Armenia

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 Azerbaijan  

1996: publication and distribution of 150'000 literature manuals entitled " We are all Rays of one Sun " for 5th and 6th grade pupils (11-12-years) plus corresponding teachers'guides.

2001: reprinting and distribution of 176'000 samples of " We are all Rays of one Sun " . 

2003: Publication and distribution of 190'000 samples of a 6th grade manual entitled " My World - your World " plus corresponding teachers'guides.

 
  Special Report 2003: Lessons for Life - humanitarian law for adolescents / Azerbaijan

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 Georgia  

 


Tbilissi, 6th grade class 

 1996: publication and distribution of 77'000 literature manuals entitled " Know Yourself " for 6th grade pupils (12 years) plus corresponding teachers'guides.

1999: publication and distribution of 70'000 manuals plus corresponding teachers'guides. The manual is entitled " What Hate Destroys " and offers material for a variety of 7th grade subject matters such as Georgian literature, Russian, other foreign languages, geography and history.

2000: adaptation, translation and distribution of 14'600 samples of " What Hate Destroys " plus the corresponding teachers'guides for the linguistic minorities in Georgia (Armenians, Russians and Azeris).

In Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the 5th and 6th grade manuals and teachers'guides produced for the Russian Federation are being used.

 
  Special Report 2003: Lessons for Life - humanitarian law for adolescents / Georgia

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Russian Federation 
 

ICRC literature manuals in Russia
 

   

2000: publication and distribution of 70'000 resource books on international humanitarian law (IHL) for teachers of 9th grade classes (15 years) of social sciences.

1996 - 2002: publication and distribution of a total of

9,24 million literature manuals entitled " The World Around You " for 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade pupils (11-14 years) plus corresponding teachers'guides.

2002: publication and distribution of the updated second edition of the 5th grade manual.

 
  Special Report 2003: Lessons for Life - humanitarian law for adolescents / Russian Federation

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Central Asia 

 

ICRC school manuals for Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan
 
 

 Kyrgyzstan  

2002: publication and distribution of 78'200 manuals entitled " Through Humanity to Peace " for 10th grade pupils (16 years) plus corresponding teachers'guides for civic education classes of secondary schools, colleges and lyceums.

 
  Special Report 2003: Lessons for Life - humanitarian law for adolescents / Kyrgyztan

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 Tajikistan  

1999: publication and distribution of 100'000 manuals entitled " Look at the World with Wise Eyes " for 8th grade pupils (12-13 years) plus corresponding teachers'guides for tutorial classes. In 2001, an Uzbek translation followed.

 
  Special Report 2003: Lessons for Life - humanitarian law for adolescents / Tajikistan

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 Uzbekistan  

1999: publication and distribution of 400'000 manuals entitled " Man and Society " (civics) for 11th grade pupils (17years) plus corresponding teachers'guide. The publication was done in Uzbek, Karakalpak and Russian languages. In 2001, a Tajik translation followed.

 
  Special Report 2003: Lessons for Life - humanitarian law for adolescents / Uzbekistan

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Special Report 2003

 

Special Report 2003: Lessons for Life - humanitarian law for adolescents in the CIS 
 
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Executive Summary 
 

 Does going to war mean acting “bespredel”?  

 
«When you see your mates drop down on the ground, when you take your dead and wounded to the hospital, this is when hatred rises within you. And the hatred is against all enemies, not just the individuals who killed your friends. This is when bespredel starts.»
CIS army officer (Newspaper interview, September 2000) 
 

    

Bespredel (byes-pre-dyel) – literally " without limits " – means acting outside the rules, violently and with impunity. This Russian term, coined in the 1990s, sums up the mechanism that sets in whenever inhumane acts are perpetrated by armed people against the defenceless, everywhere, on all sides. To counter the dynamics of bespredel is one of the core concerns of international humanitarian law (IHL). In a world of violence, the ICRC, known for its humanitarian action in armed conflict, is committed to promoting IHL concepts among young people.

The secondary school programme in 7 countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), begun in 1995, is one of the ICRC's longest-running and most ambitious preventive action programmes, and the only educational programme of such scope run by a single organization in the region. Every year, it reaches out to more than 5.5 million youngsters aged 11- 17 and thousands of teachers in the Russian Federation, the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia.  

    

To put IHL on the map in this vast region where it was barely known, the ICRC first had to win the trust of the authorities, education specialists and teachers and convince them of the benefits of the programme. It then produced, printed and ensured the distribution of some 11 million course books for pupils and teachers'guides. Working through local teams of education specialists, it trained hundreds of teachers and teacher trainers. The programme is now up and running in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Russian Federation, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Independent evaluations have shown the course books developed in the framework of this programme are widely used and appreciated by pupils, teachers and parents, as well as by the authorities. Intensive efforts are being pursued to anchor IHL teaching in national school education standards and course curricula.

In view of the education authorities'scarce resources, the ICRC is determined to ensure the continuation of the programme, consolidating and building on the achievements made during the first phase. As a matter of priority, it will concentrate on strengthening teacher training to build up a large enough network of educators committed to the promotion of humanitarian concepts; develop promotional tools to spark broad interest in IHL; seek to extend IHL education to specialized military secondary schools; pursue efforts to have IHL included in education standards and course curricula, as well as in pre-service and inservice

teacher training; and continue to facilitate implementation and provide expertise and technical support. To be able to achieve this, the ICRC is now looking for partners interested in taking over, partially or completely, the financing of the programme.