Jul 17

Civic Education in the times of Corona

Overcoming distancing, adapting to digital communication and dealing with the wonders of the internet connections coming and going – how do we meet the various challenges of the Corona-crises? During two Zoom-sessions, practitioners within the field of civic education have been juggling with the answers to this question and sharing their experiences.

At the first Zoom meeting, held by DEDI April 15, the online meetings had just become a popular and necessary tool for continuing work, and Zoom, Skype, Facebook or WhatsApp groups had become the main platforms for gatherings, experience and knowledge sharing, and education.

Meanwhile the introduction of more and new initiatives online, like sessions, lectures, workshops, or webinars had given way for new dilemmas. The participants mentioned the challenge of finding ways to reach out and to who. New considerations on the choice of topics had also to be made, since not all topics are suitable for online forums. Another challenge is the distance created by the internet which can make it harder for hosts to ensure that all participants feel included and focused during the meetings. Discussion rounds in “break-out rooms”, short presentations as well as limited numbers of participants were proposed as solutions by the participants.

Furthermore, choices concerning visibility and outreach manifested themselves in the dilemma of using open sources versus closed sources, and the choice of language. This was further elaborated by a representative of Messahat, an organization working in close contact with informal education. They underlined that internet technology provides high quantity of open source material, but it is difficult to monitor the learning process, and that learning tools, particularly laptops and internet access, are not available to all children.

A representative of the AUC Lazord fellowship underlined that, for many organizations included themselves, the times of lockdown has also been an important moment to conduct self-monitoring and take a closer look on how to improve the performance, re-structure the network, and monitor partner organizations.

The meeting was moderated by Ali Abdel Mohsen, Education Projects Manager at Care International, Egypt, and Ayman El-Husseini from Collectives Routes and Mubtada’ Initiative. They also moderated the second Zoom meeting on May 5 during which the participants dived deeper into the specific challenges and solutions, making the meeting yet another occasion for all participants to learn new tricks and enjoy the feeling of helping each other to face the challenges of the corona times.

The Zoom-sessions are part of DEDI’s Toolbox project, intending to bring practitioners and other stakeholders within the field of Civic Education together in order to share knowledge, experiences, and new ideas as well as to inspire each other.