Secondary school programmes in CIS countries - An overview
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.
- 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.
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.
Overview per Country
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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Special Report 2003
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Does going to war mean acting “bespredel”?
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.