Citizenship education for unity and diversity within multicultural societies: critical policy responses within Europe
journal contributionposted on 29.04.2013, 13:23 by Michalis Kakos, Nektaria Palaiologou
The multidimensional crisis in Greece has influenced relations between the native population and the large number of ethnic, national, cultural and religious minorities currently residing in the country. Poverty, intolerance and an increase in political extremism contribute to a grim illustration of the position of minority groups in Greece. Convinced there is a role for education in responding to this social fragmentation, and in actively supporting the development of intercultural understanding, this paper evaluates the Greek State’s approach to, understanding of, and expectations in reference overcoming divisions in society. Focusing particularly on the role of education in the development of students’ intercultural citizenship and identity, the study analysed four key documents outlining official strategies for the inclusion of minorities and the programme designed for Citizenship education. Our analysis suggests that although attempts have and are being made to improve intercultural communication, underlying these attempts is the problematic understanding underpinning Greek identity, which suggests Greece is an ethnically homogenous, mono-cultural society. The distinction between ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ which is integrated into Citizenship and intercultural education programmes could act as a counter-force to tolerance, preventing the attainment of the objectives set out in these programmes.