Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 22

This article was downloaded by: [Corporacion CINCEL]

On: 30 November 2012, At: 07:57


Publisher: Routledge
Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered
office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK
Journal of Moral Education
Publication details, including instructions for authors and
subscription information:
http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/cjme20
Citizenship education as a response to
Colombias social and political context
Rosario Jaramillo
a
& Jos A. Mesa
b
a
Colombian Ministry of Education, Colombia
b
Colegio San Jos, Colombia
Version of record first published: 13 Nov 2009.
To cite this article: Rosario Jaramillo & Jos A. Mesa (2009): Citizenship education as a response to
Colombias social and political context, Journal of Moral Education, 38:4, 467-487
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03057240903321931
PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE
Full terms and conditions of use: http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-
conditions
This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any
substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing,
systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden.
The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representation
that the contents will be complete or accurate or up to date. The accuracy of any
instructions, formulae, and drug doses should be independently verified with primary
sources. The publisher shall not be liable for any loss, actions, claims, proceedings,
demand, or costs or damages whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or
indirectly in connection with or arising out of the use of this material.
Journal of Moral Education
Vol. 38, No. 4, December 2009, pp. 467487
ISSN 0305-7240 (print)/ISSN 1465-3877 (online)/09/04046721
2009 Journal of Moral Education Ltd
DOI: 10.1080/03057240903321931
http://www.informaworld.com
Citizenship education as a response to
Colombias social and political context
Rosario Jaramillo
a
and Jos A. Mesa
b*
a
Colombian Ministry of Education, Colombia;
b
Colegio San Jos, Colombia
Taylor and Francis CJME_A_432367.sgm 10.1080/03057240903321931 Journal of Moral Education 0305-7240 (print)/0305-7240 (online) Original Article 2009 Taylor & Francis 38 4000000December 2009 JoseMesa jam133@columbia.edu
In response to the difficult social, economic and political problems that Colombia faces, such as
inequality, discrimination, weak civil societyfuelled by illegality and drug traffickingthe
Colombian Ministry of Education has embarked on an ambitious citizenship education program,
with the hope of strengthening the role of education by establishing alternative solutions. This inno-
vative program attempts to counteract Colombians recourse to violence as a means of solving the
countrys endemic problems by developing the competencies of students, teachers and other partic-
ipants in education. The competencies include sound reasoning, care for others, communication
skills, reflection on action, knowledge and active participation in classroom, school and community
matters. This six-and-a-half-year-old project has started to create an educational system that takes
into account many of the elements and relationships fundamental to the socio-political and moral
behaviour of all involved. The paper indicates the horizons that this program opens up and
discusses some of the problematic aspects that still need to be addressed for the program to be
sustainable.
The Colombian context for citizenship education
A context of violence, a challenge to citizenship education
Colombia, a country of about 45 million people, has had endemic internal conflicts
ever since its independence from Spain in 1819and perhaps even before. These
have been habitually solved by resorting to violence. Throughout the nineteenth
century disputes between liberals and conservatives often developed into civil wars.
There were at least seven major civil wars and many ongoing civil conflicts with seri-
ous public order problems because of a very weak government presence. The peak of
these conflicts was the War of a Thousand Days (18991903), during which
between 60,000 and 130,000 people died and Colombia lost Panama. In the
twentieth century, during the period of La Violencia (19461964), recurring
violence between liberals and conservatives again brought about more than 200,000
deaths and cruelty to victims bred very deep hatred which remains difficult to
*Corresponding author: Via 5, CuA 175, Puerto ColombiaAtlantico, Colombia. Email: jam133
@columbia.edu
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
C
o
r
p
o
r
a
c
i
o
n

C
I
N
C
E
L
]

a
t

0
7
:
5
7

3
0

N
o
v
e
m
b
e
r

2
0
1
2

468 R. Jaramillo and J. A. Mesa
overcome. After 1964 conflict became more immersed in class and social struggles,
with many guerrilla groups being formed, sometimes from the more leftist liberals,
and new groups continued to emerge after 1970.
During the last three decades the drug trade fuelled even more violence between
paramilitary groups (frequently with the complicity of the army) fighting the guer-
rilla groups for territorial control of drug production and trafficking. The civil popu-
lation, particularly in the countryside, was caught in the middle of this conflict,
giving rise to a major displacement crisis in several areas of the country. Recently,
several paramilitary groups have negotiated their demobilisation with the govern-
ment; however, the final outcome of this negotiation remains unclear, as new groups
have appeared and old ones are reluctant to give up their power. At the same time,
the guerrilla groups have had significant setbacks that have diminished their military
capacity and have lost most of their political support among civilians, in a country
tired of violence and eager to find a more democratic way to solve its social and polit-
ical problems.
In terms of socio-economic capacity, Colombias gross domestic product (GDP)
growth reached 8% in 2007, but slowed to less than half that in 2008 and is expected
to decline further in 2009, reflecting the world financial crisis. Per capita GDP (using
market exchange rates) was about US$ 5000 in 2008. In purchasing power parity (i.e.
accounting for the lower prices of many goods and services compared with advanced
countries) the figure is close to US$ 9000 (about 1/5 of the USA level).
Income inequality is significant. As measured by the Gini coefficient
1
in 2005
Colombia was ranked at 54 compared to Denmark 24, South Korea 35, USA 45,
Mxico 48, Costa Rica 49, Brazil 57, Bolivia 59, Haiti 59. In addition, the United
Nations Development Index for 2006 classified Colombia in 80th position among
the 179 countries reporting data, making it quite clear that there is ample room for
improvement. The United Nations Development Report takes into account factors
like adult literacy rate and combined primary, secondary and tertiary gross enrol-
ment ratio (UNDP, 2004). Colombias citizenship education program, reported in
this paper, aims to address this complex and challenging social context in order to
create a new and democratic way to overcome the current violence and the social
and political problems that nurture it. This task is difficult because violence seems
to be so embedded in the countrys history and because many people still think
that violence is the only way to solve problems. This situation, in turn, underwrites
the importance and urgency of a citizenship program that can make a contribu-
tion, by peaceful means, to renegotiating Colombias socio-economic and political
structures.
The school system in Colombia
By 2008 Colombia had 90% school enrolment (11 million students). The student
distribution is as follows: 41% of eligible four to six-year-olds are in preschool; 89%
of eligible 711-year-old girls and boys are enrolled in the five basic primary school
years; 68% of 1215-year-old girls and 61% of boys of the same age range are
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
C
o
r
p
o
r
a
c
i
o
n

C
I
N
C
E
L
]

a
t

0
7
:
5
7

3
0

N
o
v
e
m
b
e
r

2
0
1
2

Citizenship education in Colombia 469
enrolled in the basic secondary education, Grade 6 to 9. In addition to this basic
education period, most schools offer two more years for 1617-year-olds before
students can apply to university. Of 1822-year-olds, 33% are students in tertiary
education at the undergraduate level. Some schools offer a vocational track, mostly
beginning at the secondary level. Otherwise the system remains mainly academically
oriented. Most of the school system is run by the state (9.2 million students),
although there are numerous private schools (1.87 million students). Urban schools
have 8.36 million students while rural schools have 2.7 million. The dropout rate
has declined from 8% in 2002 to 5.6% in 2007, but it is still high. Most private
schools are located in the major cities and some of these schools graduates tend to
obtain the best results in standardised tests (Colombia, Instituto Colombiano para
el Fomento de la Educacin Superior (ICFES) [Colombian Institute for the
Promotion of Higher Education], 2008). The literacy rate is 97.9% for young
people and 92.3% for adults (UNESCO, 2005; Colombia. Departamento Nacional
de Planeacin [Department of National Planning], 2008; Colombia. Ministerio de
Educacin Nacional [Ministry of National Education], 2009a).
In 1991 a new Constitution was approved in Colombiawith a strong emphasis
on human rights (see Colombia, 1991)ending several centuries of a moral educa-
tion monopoly by the Roman Catholic Church. The 1886 Constitution, effective
until 1992, had given the Catholic Church responsibility for the religious and moral
education programs for all schools in the country. Although Catholicism continues
to be the faith of a considerable majority of the population, the new Constitution
recognised religious freedom. Therefore, it was more inclusive of new religious and
minority groups: women, homosexuals, indigenous peoples and Afro-American
descendants. The last two decades have thus witnessed efforts towards building citi-
zenship education that can foster the necessary ethical bond for social and political
flourishing and which can be built from such diversity.
In 1994, the Ley General de Educacin [General Law of Education] (Colombia.
Congreso de la Repblica [Congress of the Republic], 1994) came into effect accord-
ing to the guidelines of the new constitution. Ethical education is included in the
general goals of the basic school system and schools are encouraged to promote it at
all levels. In addition, ethical education is considered part of the core curriculum and
is, thus, a fundamental and mandatory subject in all schools.
Citizenship competencies as part of the wider picture of moral education
The General Law of Education demands that students be educated in justice, peace,
democracy, solidarity (Art. 14, d) and in the social, ethical, moral and other
values of human development (Art. 20, f). The Law establishes ethical education
and human values (Art. 23, 4) as mandatory subjects in basic education, but does not
further elaborate on the meaning of such subjects or on the meaning of educating in
moral and ethical values. Thus, it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education to
clarify and provide guidelines to schools and teachers to make the constitutional
mandate possible. The Law, however, gives ample freedom for the educational
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
C
o
r
p
o
r
a
c
i
o
n

C
I
N
C
E
L
]

a
t

0
7
:
5
7

3
0

N
o
v
e
m
b
e
r

2
0
1
2

470 R. Jaramillo and J. A. Mesa
community at the local and school levels to participate in the design, execution
and evaluation of their own Proyecto Educativo Institucional (PEI) [Institutional
Educational Project (IEP)] and in the assessment of the schools proper functioning
(Art. 6). This means that it is for schools to decide for themselves the amount of time
and the specific content they allocate to each subject, as long as they follow the
general guidelines set out by the Ministry. Consequently, Colombia has one of the
most decentralised curricula in Latin America.
The new Constitution, and the fact that it was largely modelled on a participative
democracy that presupposes the active involvement of citizens in political structures,
rather than a representative democracy that makes the elections of officials the main,
and almost the only task of citizens (as under the former Constitution), stimulated a
debate around moral and citizenship education. This highlighted that, due to social,
political and cultural changes, Catholic morality was no longer acceptable to all, and
thus a new approach, acceptable to all citizens, had to be found. This new context
prompted multiple analyses and discussions that are far from being over. Protago-
nists arguing from very different philosophical and political perspectives testify to
the social diversity of Colombia today (see Programa por la Paz [Program for Peace,
Society of Jesus and Javeriana University], 1997). Among the agreements that have
emerged is that there is an urgent need to educate new generations within a civil
education that enables citizens to become active and responsible participants in soci-
ety. The term civil ethics began to appear as one that can address the new secular,
pluralistic, public and democratic characteristics of the country, in which social and
political changes have created an ethical vacuum and where the subsequent moral
crisis has been extensively felt (De Zubira, 1993, p. 77).
This civil ethics, which many today prefer to call citizenship ethics, is depicted as
the common moral minimum necessary to live orderly lives in a secular and pluralis-
tic society (De Roux, 1991, p. 142). Minimum in the sense that it provides the
moral bond for all citizens to flourish regardless of their convictions about religion
and happiness. Hoyos (2004) argues for a democracy in which all can freely recog-
nize as valid the norms that constitute the state and society. The same argument can
be extended to citizenship education as one that can be freely appropriated and
respected by all citizens.
The guidelines for the Citizenship Education Program published by the Ministry
of Education in 2003 fall within these civil education endeavours. The premise
behind the program is established in the introduction to the Standards of Citizen-
ship Competencies. In Colombia, the Standardswhich could be compared to
learning targetsare understood as clear, public, shared criteria that establish the
basic knowledge and competencies that all children in the different regions of
Colombia have a right to achieve according to their developmental levels. The
Ministry and the Association of Teachers Colleges assembled a group of teachers
from all levels of education, researchers, test developers and administrators to
create a draft of possible citizenship standards that was then sent to Schools of
Education, Normal Schools (offering two years of teacher education after high
school), teachers and parents in different regions in Colombia, in order to receive
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
C
o
r
p
o
r
a
c
i
o
n

C
I
N
C
E
L
]

a
t

0
7
:
5
7

3
0

N
o
v
e
m
b
e
r

2
0
1
2

Citizenship education in Colombia 471
feedback. After receiving this feedback and making some modifications, the Minis-
try published the Standards in the countrys main newspapers and distributed
them nationwide through all the Secretariats of Education (regional and local
authorities). The Standards are challenging but not insurmountable, reasonable yet
demanding. The following paragraphs are taken from the Standards of Citizenship
Competencies:
2

Just as it is possible to develop skills to express ourselves through different languages or
to solve mathematical problems, we can develop specific skills to exercise citizenship
qualities. The educational institution is a privileged scenario because there we learn to
live with others, engage in teamwork and to identify our singularities and differences [as
well as our similarities] with other human beings.
This proposal starts by considering citizenship as a process that may be designed, follow-
ing clear principles, implemented with persistence and rigour, continuously evaluated and
incorporated in the improvement plans of each school.
Citizenship education is teamwork that must not just be delegated to school and
family. It is also learned on the streets and through the media, in the relationships
between the state and civil society and in any communitarian situation. These are the life
texts that our youth read. But what is important is to bring these messages to the
classroom and to our homes and reflect on them
Citizenship competencies are framed within a human rights perspective and they offer
the basic tools for each person to learn to respect, defend and promote fundamental
human rights, relating them to everyday situations where these may be infringed because
of our own deeds as by those of others. In these cases, citizenship competencies represent
the skills and the necessary knowledge to build peaceful coexistence, to exercise
democratic participation and to value pluralism. (Colombia. Ministerio de Educacin
Nacional, 2003, 514; our translation)
Before developing citizenship standards, many regional and institutional initiatives
were already carried out in Colombia and in programs in other parts of the world
(such as Facing History and Ourselves, Ecole de la Paix, Dilemma Discussion, the
Culture of Lawfulness, Peace Games etc) on peace education, human rights, conflict
resolution and youth leadership, based on various educational models that empha-
sised different components or dimensions of citizenship education that were adapted
to each schools IEP. The scope of the Ministrys proposal was sufficiently ample to
allow for the inclusion of these kinds of initiatives. Given their diversity and the unre-
stricted nature of the program, it was important to develop program evaluation and
to follow-up on students progress.
The need to make the successful programs and teachers good practices visible, led
to the implementation of National Citizenship Forums where teachers from different
regions of the country get together to share their experiences in teaching with
researchers and program leaders. This exchange or dilogo de saberes [knowledge
dialogue] was conceived as a very fruitful and enriching experience for all involved
(see Colombia. Ministerio de Educacin Nacional, 2009b).
In sum, the Citizenship Competencies Program has four fundamental compo-
nents: (1) definition of standards for citizenship; (2) a national evaluation system
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
C
o
r
p
o
r
a
c
i
o
n

C
I
N
C
E
L
]

a
t

0
7
:
5
7

3
0

N
o
v
e
m
b
e
r

2
0
1
2

472 R. Jaramillo and J. A. Mesa
connected to international testing; (3) good practices visible in a national forum; and
(4) the Ministrys support to the regional and local Secretariats in their guidance on
school improvement plans (see Ruiz & Chaux, 2005).
Evaluation of civics and citizenship education in Colombia and Latin America
There has been an increasing awareness of the need for civic and citizenship educa-
tion not only in Colombia but in all of Latin America. In the past three decades there
have been movements against the military regimes that prevailed earlier and electoral
democracy has become the way of life in almost all countrieswith the exception of
Cuba and perhaps Venezuelaalthough it is clear that in some countries the temp-
tation of the executive branch to remain in power for more than two terms and gain
control of the judiciary and the legislative branches is a matter of concern for many
citizens. How the educational system can help prepare young people to sustain a new
democratic way of life has become a fundamental question for many countries. What
kind of history should be taught after the military regimes in countries such as
Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Salvador? What kind of citizenship courses should be
offered when the democratic system is very fragile due to the prevailing inequalities
in access to justice, goods and services and when promoting greater equality demands
more resolute political and social efforts (Cox et al., 2005)?
For a picture of democratic values in Latin America, we can refer to the study
conducted by the UNDP (2004). The study included a survey, undertaken in 2002
by Latinobarmetro, that looked at 19,508 respondents from 18 countries in Latin
America, aged 16 to 99. The survey showed that 43% had democratic orientations
and opinionswith Colombia also 43%; 27% were classified as non-democratic
and 30% as ambivalent; 55% claimed they would support an authoritarian govern-
ment if it could resolve economic problems and 56% felt that economic develop-
ment is more important than democracy. As for young people (1629-year-olds),
the study found that 40% had democratic orientations, 29% had non-democratic
orientations and 31% were ambivalent. Compared with the older generation,
young people attributed a very different meaning to democracy. They accord
importance to issues of diversity and safeguarding political minorities, whereas
adults identify democracy with concepts of order and electoral competition
(UNDP, 2004, pp. 131, 132, 134).
A worldwide evaluation of civics education, including two Latin American coun-
tries, Chile and Colombia, directed by the International Association for the Evalua-
tion of Educational Achievement (IEA), was conducted in 1999. This study showed
that Colombian and Chilean 1416-year-old students had the lowest scores in civics
knowledge and, specifically, in conceptual understanding of democratic principles
(Torney-Purta & Amadeo, 2004, pp. 710). And yet Colombians were above aver-
age in espousing democratic attitudes and values. For instance, they were especially
strong in supporting participatory activities by citizens for strengthening democracy
(p. 7). However, they failed to grasp some threats to democracy such as corruption,
nepotism and control of the media. In many cases these could be traced to the
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
C
o
r
p
o
r
a
c
i
o
n

C
I
N
C
E
L
]

a
t

0
7
:
5
7

3
0

N
o
v
e
m
b
e
r

2
0
1
2

Citizenship education in Colombia 473
inclusion or absence of related issues about political institutions and the ideals of
democracy in the curriculum. (p. 7). The study pinpointed that The everyday
experience of students with real politics in the community also appeared to be
influential (p. 9).
Furthermore, in Colombia, the poverty in which many young people live leads
them to examine democracy through the lens of economic well-being. Analysis of
student responses to individual questions and the examination of patterns across
sets of questions reveal the gaps between the rhetoric and the everyday reality
experienced by these young people. Moreover, Colombian and Chilean students
appeared to have much less chance than others in the world to deal with material
from news media, such as newspapers, in their classes (Torney-Purta & Amadeo,
2004, pp. 89). Additionally, many students are unlikely to have access to news-
papers or the Internet in their homes. According to the study, the lack of familiar-
ity with news resources appears to hamper their abilities to interpret political
messages.
Taking the IEA study into account, the city of BogotColombias capital
developed a test of students, which included, together with civic knowledge, the
degree of acceptance of political institutions or political actors, such as the president,
guerrilla groups, congressmen, the church and so on and a measure of moral and
social development. The latter idea of moral and social growth led to the conception
of citizenship competencies, which incorporate both the notion of acting according
to ones beliefs and of progression towards improvement.
More recently the IEA has been conducting a new study that began in 2006 (results
will be released in 2010) that has broadened the picture by also including the assess-
ment of citizenship competencies. The test added regional modules to the interna-
tional core. Five countries in Latin AmericaChile, Colombia, Guatemala, Mxico,
Paraguay and Repblica Dominicacreated the Latin American Regional Module
(IEA, 2009).
The Citizenship Competencies Program
In accordance with the above picture, and with Colombias context of inequality,
scarce civic participation and endemic recourse to violence, the Ministry of Educa-
tion needed to address these challenges by promoting a citizenship program that
emphasised not only civics knowledgeknowledge about concepts such as law,
democracy, the constitution, legal systembut also the other elements that influence
citizenship behaviour.
Knowledge is not enough to make a citizen. At stake in a society is that its members
behave as citizens by continuously developing several competencies that make them
good citizens, willing to understand, decide and behave by considering the well-
being not only of their family or kin, butmost importantlyby bearing in mind the
common good. Upon analysis of the factors that influence the formation of a good
citizen, it was concluded that the competencies should be organised in three groups:
Peaceful Coexistence; Democratic Participation and Responsibility; and Plurality,
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
C
o
r
p
o
r
a
c
i
o
n

C
I
N
C
E
L
]

a
t

0
7
:
5
7

3
0

N
o
v
e
m
b
e
r

2
0
1
2

474 R. Jaramillo and J. A. Mesa
Identity and Enrichment with Differenceswhich are at the core of Colombias
challenges. Each of these groups represents a fundamental dimension for the exer-
cise of citizenship and contributes to the promotion, respect and defence of human
rights present in our Constitution (Colombia. Ministerio de Educacin Nacional,
2003, p. 12; our translation):
Peaceful Coexistence means the capacity to establish good social relationships
based on justice, empathy, tolerance, solidarity and respect for others.
Democratic Participation and Responsibility means the full exercise of citizenship,
that is, the capacity and willingness to lead and take part in collective and partici-
pative decision-making processes; it is oriented towards decision making in differ-
ent contexts considering that these decisions must respect the fundamental rights
of people as much as the norms, laws and the Constitution that organise life in the
community. (Colombia. Ministerio de Educacin Nacional, 2003, p. 12; our
translation).
Plurality, Identity and Enrichment with Differences means the recognition of
equal dignity in all human beings, valuing the characteristics of gender, ethnicity,
religion, culture and social class, among others.
The idea of knowledge going hand in hand with competencies has, for the last few
years, oriented many of the efforts and policies of the Colombian Ministry of Educa-
tion, and the development of educational policies around the notion of competencies
is currently at the heart of the official vision:
In Colombia the term competency has been defined as a flexible knowing how to
do that may be used or put into practice in different contexts. But this definition does
not take into account important aspects of competent behaviour such as monitoring
ones own mental activity, the understanding of the meaning of that activity, of the
reasons behind it, or of its ethical, social and political implications. (Vasco, 2003, p. 4;
our translation)
Thus the term competency was further defined as:
a set of knowledge or content matter, abilities, attitudes, understandings and cognitive,
meta-cognitive, socio-affective and psycho-motor dispositions, appropriately interrelated
in order to allow for a flexible, efficient and sensible performance of an activity or of
certain tasks, in relatively new and challenging contexts. (Vasco, 2003, pp. 45; our
translation)
Consequently, citizenship competencies refer to:
a set of cognitive, emotional, communicative and integrative competencies that, coor-
dinated among themselves, along with knowledge and attitudes, make it possible for an
individual or a social group to develop dispositions to actand in fact actin a
constructive and peaceful manner; to participate and be responsible in democratic
decision-making processes and endeavours; to value cultural, ethnic, gender and social
differences, and to learn how to enrich themselves with them. Citizenship competencies
come together in the framework of respect, promotion and defence of human rights.
(Colombia. Ministerio de Educacin Nacional, 2003, p. 8; our translation)
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
C
o
r
p
o
r
a
c
i
o
n

C
I
N
C
E
L
]

a
t

0
7
:
5
7

3
0

N
o
v
e
m
b
e
r

2
0
1
2

Citizenship education in Colombia 475
Thus, cognitive, emotional, communicative and integrative competencies, as well as
knowledge, are interrelated in a matrix with the three groups cited above (e.g. see
Table 1).
Cognitive competencies refer to individuals mental processes when organising
actions and their representations. In the case of citizenship, cognitive competencies
refer to such capacities as decentring from ones own position and understanding
the position of others, being able to coordinate different perspectives and develop-
ing systemic thinking. It is also the capacity to critically analyse and foresee an
intention, a given situation or predict the consequences of a given action. For
example, to understand that when someone hits me, it could be non-intentional.
Emotional competencies refer to recognising ones feelings and emotions and to feel
those of others. For example, controlling anger or feeling empathy towards
someone being hurt.
Communicative competencies refer to the capacities needed to establish fruitful rela-
tionships, understanding the idea of the common good and the disposition to
engage in conversations that consider the interests, needs and desires of others,
irrespective of ones place in society. For example, understanding and showing
respect for the ideas of others and graciously maintaining ones own point of view
even if it is not shared by many.
Integrative competencies are those that articulate all the other competencies in a
given action. For example, solving a conflict in a peaceful manner requires knowl-
edge about conflict dynamics, being able to come up with creative ideas or options,
controlling ones emotions and assertively presenting ones ideas and interests.
Knowledge competencies refer to being informed about facts, norms, concepts etc.
necessary for the exercise of citizenship (see Colombia. Ministerio de Educacin
Nacional, 2003, pp. 1213).
Though distinguished here, in practical living most of the competencies are necessar-
ily combined. In particular, integrative competencies are combined with action. In
order to achieve the Standards students need to develop all the competencies.
Citizenship education in this broader sense means educating the individual as a
complete social human being within the values of a certain society, strengthening and
developing his or her heart and mind by learning to reflect on the reasons for decisions,
actions and their consequences. This implies creating a trusting environment for this
reflection to take place in classrooms, schools, at home and in the different relation-
ships in which teachers and students are involved (Duckworth, 1997; Ritchhart &
Perkins, 2000; Raider-Roth, 2005). Students, teachers and the educational commu-
nity in general should be able to use their knowledge and competencies to propose
creative alternatives to solve their problems in a progressively more intelligent, under-
standing, just and empathic way. By doing so, it is hoped they will be transforming
the school climate and creating trusting environments that, in turn, can help them in
the development of such competencies. This process thus has the potential to become
a virtuous circle.
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
C
o
r
p
o
r
a
c
i
o
n

C
I
N
C
E
L
]

a
t

0
7
:
5
7

3
0

N
o
v
e
m
b
e
r

2
0
1
2

476 R. Jaramillo and J. A. Mesa
T
a
b
l
e

1
.
M
a
t
r
i
x

o
f

c
i
t
i
z
e
n
s
h
i
p

c
o
m
p
e
t
e
n
c
i
e
s

f
o
r

G
r
a
d
e

6

a
n
d

7
G
r
o
u
p
s
C
o
m
p
e
t
e
n
c
i
e
s
P
e
a
c
e
f
u
l

c
o
e
x
i
s
t
e
n
c
e
S
t
a
n
d
a
r
d
:

I

c
o
n
t
r
i
b
u
t
e

t
o

p
e
a
c
e
f
u
l

r
e
l
a
t
i
o
n
s
h
i
p
s

b
o
t
h

i
n

t
h
e

s
c
h
o
o
l

a
n
d

i
n

t
h
e

n
e
a
r
b
y

c
o
m
m
u
n
i
t
y
.
D
e
m
o
c
r
a
t
i
c

p
a
r
t
i
c
i
p
a
t
i
o
n

a
n
d

r
e
s
p
o
n
s
i
b
i
l
i
t
y
S
t
a
n
d
a
r
d
:

I

r
e
j
e
c
t

s
i
t
u
a
t
i
o
n
s

i
n

w
h
i
c
h

h
u
m
a
n

r
i
g
h
t
s

a
r
e

b
e
i
n
g

v
i
o
l
a
t
e
d

a
n
d

I

u
s
e

f
o
r
m
s

a
n
d

m
e
c
h
a
n
i
s
m
s

o
f

d
e
m
o
c
r
a
t
i
c

p
a
r
t
i
c
i
p
a
t
i
o
n

a
t

m
y

s
c
h
o
o
l
.
P
l
u
r
a
l
i
t
y
,

i
d
e
n
t
i
t
y

a
n
d

e
n
r
i
c
h
m
e
n
t

w
i
t
h

d
i
f
f
e
r
e
n
c
e
s
S
t
a
n
d
a
r
d
:

I

i
d
e
n
t
i
f
y

a
n
d

r
e
j
e
c
t

d
i
f
f
e
r
e
n
t

f
o
r
m
s

o
f

d
i
s
c
r
i
m
i
n
a
t
i
o
n

i
n

m
y

s
c
h
o
o
l

a
n
d

c
o
m
m
u
n
i
t
y

a
n
d

c
r
i
t
i
c
a
l
l
y

a
n
a
l
y
s
e

t
h
e

r
e
a
s
o
n

w
h
y

t
h
i
s

o
c
c
u
r
s
.
C
o
g
n
i
t
i
v
e
I

i
d
e
n
t
i
f
y

t
h
e

n
e
e
d
s

a
n
d

p
o
i
n
t
s

o
f

v
i
e
w

o
f

p
e
o
p
l
e

o
r

g
r
o
u
p
s

i
n

s
i
t
u
a
t
i
o
n
s

o
f

c
o
n
f
l
i
c
t

i
n

w
h
i
c
h

I

a
m

n
o
t

i
n
v
o
l
v
e
d
.
I

i
d
e
n
t
i
f
y

c
o
l
l
e
c
t
i
v
e

d
e
c
i
s
i
o
n
s

i
n

w
h
i
c
h

t
h
e

i
n
t
e
r
e
s
t
s

o
f

d
i
f
f
e
r
e
n
t

p
e
o
p
l
e

a
r
e

i
n

c
o
n
f
l
i
c
t

a
n
d

p
r
o
p
o
s
e

a
l
t
e
r
n
a
t
i
v
e

s
o
l
u
t
i
o
n
s

t
h
a
t

t
a
k
e

t
h
e
m

i
n
t
o

c
o
n
s
i
d
e
r
a
t
i
o
n
.

T
h
i
s

a
l
s
o

i
n
v
o
l
v
e
s

c
o
m
m
u
n
i
c
a
t
i
v
e

c
o
m
p
e
t
e
n
c
i
e
s
.
I

c
r
i
t
i
c
a
l
l
y

a
n
a
l
y
s
e

m
y

t
h
o
u
g
h
t
s

a
n
d

a
c
t
i
o
n
s

i
n

s
i
t
u
a
t
i
o
n
s

o
f

d
i
s
c
r
i
m
i
n
a
t
i
o
n
,

a
n
d

d
e
t
e
r
m
i
n
e

i
f

I

a
m

s
u
p
p
o
r
t
i
n
g

o
r

i
m
p
e
d
i
n
g

s
u
c
h

s
i
t
u
a
t
i
o
n
s

w
i
t
h

m
y

a
c
t
i
o
n
s

o
r

o
m
i
s
s
i
o
n
s
.
E
m
o
t
i
o
n
a
l
I

u
n
d
e
r
s
t
a
n
d

t
h
a
t

d
e
c
e
i
t

a
f
f
e
c
t
s

t
r
u
s
t

b
e
t
w
e
e
n

p
e
o
p
l
e
,

a
n
d

I

a
c
k
n
o
w
l
e
d
g
e

t
h
e

i
m
p
o
r
t
a
n
c
e

o
f

r
e
g
a
i
n
i
n
g

t
r
u
s
t

w
h
e
n

i
t

h
a
s

b
e
e
n

l
o
s
t
.

(
T
h
i
s

i
s

a
n

e
x
a
m
p
l
e

o
f

a
n

i
n
t
e
g
r
a
t
i
v
e

c
o
m
p
e
t
e
n
c
y

w
i
t
h

a

c
l
e
a
r

p
r
e
s
e
n
c
e

o
f

e
m
o
t
i
o
n
a
l

c
o
m
p
e
t
e
n
c
i
e
s
.
)
I

e
x
p
r
e
s
s

i
n
d
i
g
n
a
t
i
o
n

(
r
e
j
e
c
t
i
o
n
,

p
a
i
n
,

a
n
g
e
r
)

w
h
e
n

t
h
e

l
i
b
e
r
t
i
e
s

o
f

m
y

p
e
e
r
s

o
r

o
t
h
e
r
s

I

k
n
o
w

a
r
e

v
i
o
l
a
t
e
d

a
n
d

I

a
s
k

f
o
r

h
e
l
p

f
r
o
m

a
p
p
r
o
p
r
i
a
t
e

a
u
t
h
o
r
i
t
i
e
s
.
I

i
d
e
n
t
i
f
y

m
y

e
m
o
t
i
o
n
s

r
e
g
a
r
d
i
n
g

p
e
o
p
l
e

o
r

g
r
o
u
p
s

t
h
a
t

h
a
v
e

i
n
t
e
r
e
s
t
s

a
n
d

p
r
e
f
e
r
e
n
c
e
s

d
i
f
f
e
r
e
n
t

t
o

m
i
n
e
,

a
n
d

r
e
f
l
e
c
t

o
n

h
o
w

t
h
i
s

i
n
f
l
u
e
n
c
e
s

h
o
w

I

t
r
e
a
t

t
h
e
m
.
C
o
m
m
u
n
i
c
a
t
i
v
e
I

r
e
f
l
e
c
t

a
b
o
u
t

t
h
e

u
s
e

o
f

p
o
w
e
r

a
n
d

a
u
t
h
o
r
i
t
y

i
n

m
y

c
o
n
t
e
x
t

a
n
d

p
e
a
c
e
f
u
l
l
y

e
x
p
r
e
s
s

m
y

d
i
s
a
g
r
e
e
m
e
n
t

w
h
e
n

I

b
e
l
i
e
v
e

t
h
e
r
e

a
r
e

i
n
j
u
s
t
i
c
e
s
.

(
I
t

a
l
s
o

i
n
v
o
l
v
e
s

c
o
g
n
i
t
i
v
e

c
o
m
p
e
t
e
n
c
i
e
s
.
)
I

l
i
s
t
e
n

a
n
d

e
x
p
r
e
s
s

i
n

m
y

o
w
n

w
o
r
d
s

t
h
e

r
e
a
s
o
n
s

t
h
a
t

m
y

p
e
e
r
s

e
x
p
r
e
s
s

d
u
r
i
n
g

g
r
o
u
p

d
i
s
c
u
s
s
i
o
n
,

e
v
e
n

w
h
e
n

I

d
i
s
a
g
r
e
e

w
i
t
h

w
h
a
t

t
h
e
y

a
r
e

s
a
y
i
n
g
.
I

u
n
d
e
r
s
t
a
n
d

t
h
a
t

t
h
e
r
e

a
r
e

d
i
v
e
r
s
e

w
a
y
s

o
f

e
x
p
r
e
s
s
i
n
g

o
u
r

i
d
e
n
t
i
t
i
e
s

a
n
d

I

r
e
s
p
e
c
t

t
h
e
m
.
I
n
t
e
g
r
a
t
i
v
e
I

s
e
r
v
e

a
s

c
o
n
f
l
i
c
t

m
e
d
i
a
t
o
r

b
e
t
w
e
e
n

p
e
e
r
s
,

a
n
d

w
h
e
n

t
h
e
y

a
u
t
h
o
r
i
s
e

m
e
,

I

e
n
c
o
u
r
a
g
e

d
i
a
l
o
g
u
e

a
n
d

u
n
d
e
r
s
t
a
n
d
i
n
g
.
I

d
e
m
a
n
d

t
h
a
t

a
u
t
h
o
r
i
t
i
e
s
,

p
e
e
r
s

a
n
d

I

m
y
s
e
l
f

k
e
e
p

r
u
l
e
s

a
n
d

a
g
r
e
e
m
e
n
t
s
.
I

u
n
d
e
r
s
t
a
n
d

t
h
a
t

w
h
e
n

p
e
o
p
l
e

a
r
e

d
i
s
c
r
i
m
i
n
a
t
e
d

a
g
a
i
n
s
t
,

s
e
l
f
-
w
o
r
t
h

a
n
d

t
h
e
i
r

r
e
l
a
t
i
o
n
s

w
i
t
h

o
t
h
e
r
s

a
r
e

a
f
f
e
c
t
e
d
.
K
n
o
w
l
e
d
g
e
I

u
n
d
e
r
s
t
a
n
d

t
h
a
t

a
l
l

f
a
m
i
l
i
e
s

h
a
v
e

a

r
i
g
h
t

t
o

w
o
r
k
,

h
e
a
l
t
h
,

h
o
u
s
i
n
g
,

p
r
o
p
e
r
t
y
,

e
d
u
c
a
t
i
o
n

a
n
d

r
e
c
r
e
a
t
i
o
n
.
I

a
m

f
a
m
i
l
i
a
r

w
i
t
h

t
h
e

U
n
i
v
e
r
s
a
l

D
e
c
l
a
r
a
t
i
o
n

o
f

H
u
m
a
n

R
i
g
h
t
s

a
n
d

i
t
s

c
o
n
n
e
c
t
i
o
n

w
i
t
h

t
h
e

f
u
n
d
a
m
e
n
t
a
l

r
i
g
h
t
s

s
t
i
p
u
l
a
t
e
d

b
y

t
h
e

C
o
n
s
t
i
t
u
t
i
o
n
.
I

r
e
c
o
g
n
i
s
e

t
h
a
t

r
i
g
h
t
s

a
r
e

b
a
s
e
d

o
n

t
h
e

e
q
u
a
l
i
t
y

b
e
t
w
e
e
n

h
u
m
a
n

b
e
i
n
g
s

a
n
d

r
e
g
a
r
d
l
e
s
s

o
f

t
h
e

w
a
y

t
h
e
y

l
i
v
e
,

a
c
t

o
r

e
x
p
r
e
s
s

t
h
e
m
s
e
l
v
e
s
.
(
C
o
l
o
m
b
i
a
.

M
i
n
i
s
t
e
r
i
o

d
e

E
d
u
c
a
c
i

n

N
a
c
i
o
n
a
l
,

2
0
0
3
;

o
u
r

t
r
a
n
s
l
a
t
i
o
n
)
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
C
o
r
p
o
r
a
c
i
o
n

C
I
N
C
E
L
]

a
t

0
7
:
5
7

3
0

N
o
v
e
m
b
e
r

2
0
1
2

Citizenship education in Colombia 477
But citizenship education is not only acquired in the school and family. It is also
learned in the streets and through the media, in the relationships between the State
and civil society and in relationships within the community. These are the life texts
that youth learn to read since they are very young (Colombia. Ministerio de
Educacin Nacional, 2003, pp. 1011). Yet the school presents a suitable environ-
ment in which to reflect on these texts. That is why it is fundamental that all adults
involved in the educational process promote and build real democratic environments
both at home and at school in order to favour the exercise of citizenship competen-
cies. If we want contexts for democratic participation, we must make explicit and
conscious decisions to offer them in daily life interaction with students and families.
For this to happen, the Ministry envisioned that in teaching citizenship education
all the school staff need to: (1) understand the elements that affect socio-moral
behaviour, such as natural impulses, emotional and cognitive development, social
relationships, culture and communication; (2) consider democracy as a way of life
and not only as a form of government (Dewey, 1916); (3) organise themselves as
institutions with the values they want to teach; and (4) articulate and link formal
civic and citizenship education with informal citizenship education, such as that
acquired on the streets and through the media (Colombia. Ministerio de Educacin
Nacional, 2003).
Implementation of the Citizenship Competencies Program
Structure of the citizenship competencies standards
Standards are organised according to approximate levels of development. With the
exception of Grades 13, ages six to nine, which are all covered by the same Stan-
dard, each Standard relates to every two grades. Table 1 presents some examples of
standards and competencies corresponding to Grade 6 and 7 (1213-year-olds).
In order to improve the Standards, the Ministry requests teachers and all those
involved in their implementation to critically analyse and transform them according
to actual classroom practice.
Evaluation strategies
After the publication of the Standards and using the citizenship tests developed in
Bogot (Jaramillo & Bermudez, 2000) the Ministry of Education set out to create
useful assessment tools to help teachers better understand their students behaviour,
attitudes, moral and social reasoning and school and family environments. Maths,
language, natural and social sciences and citizenship tests (called the Saber tests),
taken at the end of Grade 5 (1012-year-olds) and Grade 9 (1416-year-olds), were
developed to give schools general information about their students. The results are
analysed and provided for the whole grade, not for individual students. Part of the
idea of the citizenship tests is to encourage teachers to work with a way of evaluating
citizenship behaviour in order to help them understand the various components of
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
C
o
r
p
o
r
a
c
i
o
n

C
I
N
C
E
L
]

a
t

0
7
:
5
7

3
0

N
o
v
e
m
b
e
r

2
0
1
2

478 R. Jaramillo and J. A. Mesa
citizenship development and, consequently, improve their teaching strategies.
Another aim of the tests is to reveal the general strengths and weaknesses in school
climate, teaching strategies, human relationships and so on, in order to help teachers
and administrative staff prepare their school improvement plans. Schools receive help
from their local Secretariats of Education, which in turn use this information to set
out general support plans for schools. Classroom evaluation strategies, such as devel-
oping evaluation criteria based on students own work, portfolio assessment, rubrics
showing developmentsfor example, in students reasoning, care and communica-
tion skillsare also being developed by Schools of Education, the Secretariats and by
the Ministry. Some questions were also developed for the college entrance examina-
tions in order to make clear that citizenship competencies do matter throughout the
formal educational system.
Support to Secretariats of Education at the regional and local level
In order to guarantee that the Citizenship Competencies Program be accepted and
implemented in most Colombian schools and to ensure its continuity, the Ministry
of Education is currently working with the Secretariats of Education in all regions
and larger cities (with more than 100,000 inhabitants) to try to ensure the consoli-
dation and support of networks of different local agencies. Among these are univer-
sities; structured programs such as those offered by UNICEF, Plan International
and so on; control agencies such as the Defensora del Pueblo [an ombudsman,
particularly when human rights are infringed or violated] or the Personera [legal
representative of the people in the municipality]; interest groups, such as those
formed to defend the environment, human rights and so on; welfare agencies,
churches, NGOs. The main underlying idea is to make future alliances between
governmental and non-governmental groups present in different localities to make
sure that most schools receive assistance, in the form of economic and pedagogical
resources, through the Secretariats, for the development of citizenship competencies
for at least two years. However, in our experience these alliances are not easy to
implement unless there is a prior working relationship between these groups. In
some instances there is deep distrust because of fear of information being used
either by the government or others for political purposes.
Local, state and national forums to make good pedagogical practice public
For some years, the Ministry of Education has been trying to identify local efforts and
good practice. Case studies have been put together of students, classrooms and
schools learning to live together peacefully or participating within their communities
to solve their problems intelligently, cooperatively and empathically so that others
can learn from such experiences. In each locality, schools present their interesting
experiences and select the most powerful to be presented in the capital city of each
state, with the most successful being aired at the national forum. With support from
the Entrepreneurs for Education Foundation, the Ministry undertook the task of
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
C
o
r
p
o
r
a
c
i
o
n

C
I
N
C
E
L
]

a
t

0
7
:
5
7

3
0

N
o
v
e
m
b
e
r

2
0
1
2

Citizenship education in Colombia 479
collecting and documenting some examples of good practice and requested experi-
enced journalists to make them public. The book (see Colombia. Ministerio de
Educacin Nacional, 2009c) had an immediate impact and some of its examples
were used for the bright side of the news on TV and in the print media. Demand
was such that the Ministry even published a second edition of the book; yet it is not
clear that these good practice examples have been emulated elsewhere, or that they
have had a direct impact. Nevertheless, we believe that such reference points change
peoples perceptions of what is possible, so that they begin to become more optimistic
about what can be done in schools by enthusiastic and caring teachers who want and
are able to find real alternatives to violence.
The Ministry invited international researchers and teachers to participate in the
national forum to exchange ideas and practices. Workshops took place in seven
Colombian cities (Bogot, Bucaramanga, Cali, Cartagena, Florencia, Manizales and
Medelln) to create the dilogo de saberes [knowledge dialogue] described earlier.
However, the desired long-term relationships between experts and Colombian teach-
ers has only been possible in six cases (out of 45) because of difficulties coordinating
work between governmental and non-governmental groups, lack of political under-
standing of the potential of these alliances, both at the local and the national levels,
poor resources and lack of coordination and follow up at the governmental level.
The Ministry has developed a portfolio of the publications, methodologies and
pedagogical projects of 45 structured, research-based national and international
programs (Colombia. Ministerio de Educacin Nacional, 2003) in order for schools
and Secretariats of Education to choose the most appropriate programs for their
school needs, depending on their PEI and the test results.
Some experiences of citizenship education
It is only possible here to cite three of the many positive examples of work by teachers,
students and communities as part of the Citizenship Competencies Program.
Student government in parallel with the mayor and the city council
The mayor of Florencia, Caqueta rural city in the south-western region of
Colombia with approximately 150,000 inhabitantsthinking that the most effective
way to involve young citizens was to include the voices and opinions of those who
are usually not heard or who feel apathetic about local issues, launched a city-wide
parallel government program to include representatives from all social back-
grounds, neighbourhoods and schools. The mayors office organised discussion
tables where 1215-year-olds from local schools gathered on weekends, every two
weeks for four months, to analyse and discuss their views of students needs.
Students elected spokespersons to represent them; and from amongst these spokes-
persons, students were asked to create a cabinet by voting for a mayor and seven
council officials. In order to make informed decisions students were invited to meet
actual officials and ask them questions about their job and their responsibilities.
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
C
o
r
p
o
r
a
c
i
o
n

C
I
N
C
E
L
]

a
t

0
7
:
5
7

3
0

N
o
v
e
m
b
e
r

2
0
1
2

480 R. Jaramillo and J. A. Mesa
Once the parallel posts were filled, students were asked to return to their communi-
ties and find out their most pressing problems. To do this they were taught how to
create, read and organise statistics into logical information that could be shared and
understood by everyone. This information was crucial when the time came to meet
back at the discussion tables, consider the support for issues and put them to a
vote. Through this experience of parallel government the students were given a
genuine opportunity to participate in governmental decisions with an actual budget
and were held accountable for using it to attend the needs of the communities they
had investigated.
Education for sexuality and the building of citizenship
The main purpose of this program is to educate for sexuality within the same frame-
work as the Citizenship Competencies Program. Understanding sexuality as a social
construction, the program aims to create a supportive environment for the permanent
revision of prejudices and stereotypes about sexuality and concern for human rights.
The programs goal is to support schools in the development of projects in which
students learn how to live a respectful and joyful sexuality and build relationships
where respect towards self and others is in the foreground. Between 2005 and 2007
a pilot project was conducted by the Ministry of Education, with support of the
United Nations Population Fund, in which five Secretariats of Education and 50
schools throughout Colombia participated, each developing their own curriculum
depending on the needs of their communities.
The project started with draft guidelines, enhanced during the pilot experience.
Teachers, students, school administrators and parents participated in the design
and follow up of the program. They had to work out how to impact the whole
school, not only students of certain grades or certain classes, as the curriculum
had to be taught in all curriculum areas, levels of study and extra-curricular activi-
ties. Students dealt with real cases and dilemmas of everyday life so that they
acquired the necessary competencies to develop a life project. In designing their
projects, schools were supported by local education secretariats, universities and
teachers colleges. Everyoneprincipals, teachers, students and parentswas
encouraged and indeed did participate in the construction of this program.
Although there was initial controversy and resistance to the program, it ended by
being successful because of its inclusive approach and grassroots dialogue. Differ-
ences were found between schools, some of which were more reluctant to accept
the voices of all members of the community. Therefore, great effort was made to
build up climates of trust, through the active encouragement of inclusive conversa-
tions and leading groups with representatives of the teachers, parents and
students populations.
The project was evaluated through school-based focus groups with students,
teachers and parents, at the beginning and end of the pilot phase. According to the
evaluation, the project gave communities the opportunity to discuss topics rarely
addressed in school and families, such as the right to choose a gender orientation and
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
C
o
r
p
o
r
a
c
i
o
n

C
I
N
C
E
L
]

a
t

0
7
:
5
7

3
0

N
o
v
e
m
b
e
r

2
0
1
2

Citizenship education in Colombia 481
gender equality. At meetings it was not rare to see both an assistant principal and a
parent side by side with adolescents discussing ways to decide the right time to begin
engaging in sexual activities. Adolescents also used this space to engage in conversa-
tions about sexual orientation with their parents, conversations that would have not
been possible nor even thought of if they had not been framed within this program
and the climate of acceptance it created. It was clear to all that a successful project in
citizenship competences must have an impact on the whole school community. Not
only students but also adults have to be influenced in the way they see their sexuality
and thus the way they relate with others. Although the idiosyncrasies and needs of
each community differed, findings from the pilot project resulted in national guide-
lines now being used as a basis for engaging in projects in sexuality and citizenship
construction in other schools and regions (Colombia. Ministerio de Educacin
Nacional, 2009d).
Links with informal citizenship education such as on the streets and with the media
In recent years Bogot, the capital of Colombia, witnessed an informal and very
successful citizenship education program which demonstrates the significance of
creating links with everyday life on the streets and with the media. Antanas Mockus,
a former mayor of Bogot and a mathematician and philosopher who had also been
the President of the National Universitythe largest public university in the coun-
tryturned the city into a social experiment where Bogotanos learned to become
responsible and participating citizens through various imaginative campaigns, such
as the use of mimicry by unhappy faces when the zebra crossing was not used
properly to cross the street and thumbs-up when drivers behaved correctly. People
learned to stand in queues, not to drive under the influence of alcohol, to under-
stand and respect womens rights and so on as the result of media campaigns
demonstrating the advantages of keeping in mind the common good, rather than
personal gain (Harvard Gazette, 2004). Whilst Dr. Mockuss ideas on citizenship
education are no panacea, implementing them certainly showed the importance of
informal education in contributing to any lasting solution to civic and citizenship
education. Many of the lessons learnt have now become part of daily public life in
Bogot and other cities and towns have followed the example of Bogots citizens
behaviour.
A critical appraisal
Citizenship education in any country is a challenge that requires careful program-
ming, tracking and evaluation. In the case of Colombia the challenge is even greater
due to the socio-economic and moral context in which such a program has to be
developed. However, the attempt and attendant risks are worth taking in the light of
the possibilities for a country tired of violence and willing to explore more democratic
ways of problem solving. Here we offer a critical appraisal of the implementation of
the Citizenship Competencies Program and its effectiveness.
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
C
o
r
p
o
r
a
c
i
o
n

C
I
N
C
E
L
]

a
t

0
7
:
5
7

3
0

N
o
v
e
m
b
e
r

2
0
1
2

482 R. Jaramillo and J. A. Mesa
It is important to state that at the outset the program faced some initial resistance
and opposition, though these were eventually overcome. From the beginning some
people, mostly from the Teachers Union (Federacin Colombiana de Educadores),
opposed the program as a neo-liberal, neo-conservative product that would reinforce
social differences and injustices and be used to evaluate and fire teachers who were
not seen as conforming sufficiently to the current government point of view (see
Herrera et al., 2005, pp. 7475; 135139). Likewise, some voices denounced
concepts such as standards and competencies as part of a neo-liberal discourse that
had to be resisted. In a few workshops some people tried to sabotage the program
because of these perceived ideological biases, but muchthough certainly not all
of the resistance faded as soon as participants could see: (1) that the team in charge of
the program represented a broad ideological spectrum; (2) that the methodology of
the program was very far from imposing a neo-liberal or neo-conservative view; and
(3) that the program allowed for a broad variety of experiences that could easily
accommodate different ideological views as long as they stayed within democratic
rules.
The program was conceived as a cross-curricular project in which all teachers and
administrators would address their curricular teaching and the structures of the
school from the perspective and principles of the citizenship program. Thus the
program does not have an owner in charge and the danger is, as experience has
shown, that if no one is responsible, nothing may get done. Perhaps, as some critics
may maintain, it would be preferable to stay with traditional civics educationwhich
at least guarantees specific slots in the classroom timetablethan having a program
which nobody champions. Furthermore, if student progress in citizenship competen-
cies is not being monitored by teachers and educational authorities, and if the
programs being implemented are not evaluated in order to see if they are reaching
their goals, the school as a whole can overlook its citizenship task and the student
objectives can be easily forgotten.
Those who developed the Citizenship Competencies Program believe that
everyone in the educational chain needs to understand that active participation in
decision-making processes by everyone in the school community is imperative, that
relationships must be openly discussed and power relationships made transparent in
order to develop lasting citizenship competencies. If teachers and administrators fail
to make a clear statement of the values they wish to live by and if only a few partici-
pate in the decisions that affect the school community, citizenship competencies
will probably be developed only by those fortunate few who intervene and not by
everyonewhich is, after all, what democracy is all about! The same principle of
democracy should also apply at the administrative level, both in relationships with
the Secretariats and with international agencies. This means that the Ministry of
Education needs to listen, carefully examine the issues raised in creating and imple-
menting educational policies and then reach consensus. Many may argue that this is
impossible because the latter democratic approach threatens the hierarchical struc-
ture of the school and the traditional authority of teachers, which are so embedded
in Colombias culture. Changing this culture requires an additional effort. It is not
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
C
o
r
p
o
r
a
c
i
o
n

C
I
N
C
E
L
]

a
t

0
7
:
5
7

3
0

N
o
v
e
m
b
e
r

2
0
1
2

Citizenship education in Colombia 483
enough to argue that the Constitution is based on democratic ideals or that it
expressly mandates that its principles be taught in schools. In this regard the Minis-
try has not provided enough training for educators to recognise the challenge and to
change attitudes as required by the program.
Evaluation of the program is a complex problem. In our opinion, in the majority
of Latin American countries we are only just beginning to understand how to
undertake rigorous evaluation at classroom and school levels. It is highly
problematic to assess how well educational policies and programs work and the
extent to which teachers understand their students. In fact, neither teachers nor
educational administrators are used to bringing into play an assessment of school
effectiveness as an information source in order to make decisions affecting curric-
ula. The Inter-American Development Bank, the IEAwith its new ICCS study
(2009)and the Organization of American Stateswith its Inter-American
Program on Education for Democratic Values and Practicesare undertaking the
task of evaluating the Citizenship Education Program, with the help of more experi-
enced countries. The citizenship tests benefited immensely from the analysis and
support of Judith Torney Purta and Jo-Ann Amadeo who, on behalf of IEA, helped
the Bogot testing team and, later, colleagues at the Ministry of Education, to
develop reliable items and valid measurement procedures. Conversely, they valued
the competencies approach we were developing and incorporated a few ideas into
ICCS testing policies. The main evaluation challenges have to do with decision
making and timing. For example, all curriculum areas in the Saber tests were tested
on the same day and the time allocated to testing citizenship competencies (half an
hour at the end of the day) was too short to cover all the competencies. But when
the test was shortened and improved two years later, there were comparability
problems.
Another most serious challenge for the program is that of bureaucratic hindrances.
The need to avoid corruption in government contractsa most important goal
indeedslows down hiring and administrative processes so as to practically paralyse
programs and the citizenship program has been no exception, with consequent delay
in implementation across the country.
Conclusion
Since colonial times, moral education in Colombia has mainly been left in the hands
of the Catholic Church, which has emphasised Christian ethics. However, the
contemporary political and social context, as defined in the New Constitution of
1991, required a new vision that could integrate social and cultural pluralism in the
midst of the political violence that the country continues to suffer. This has meant
moving toward a citizenship education that could create the values and competencies
for a democracy to flourish.
The citizenship program described in this paper has tried to respond to this
challenge. It has recognised that knowledge of facts and concepts is not enough
and that developing competencies is an important way of learning to work with the
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
C
o
r
p
o
r
a
c
i
o
n

C
I
N
C
E
L
]

a
t

0
7
:
5
7

3
0

N
o
v
e
m
b
e
r

2
0
1
2

484 R. Jaramillo and J. A. Mesa
different factors that influence moral and political behaviour and develop socially
and personally. The project has emphasised that gaining perspective, being more
empathic, listening carefully and speaking assertively to ensure everyones voice is
heard in conversations towards the common good, can lead to responsible partici-
pation in political matters and an appreciation of how ethnic, gender, social and
age differences can enrich a society. Ultimately, the essence of the program is to
make democracy a way of life and not only a political endeavour. In part, this has
been achieved by developing genuine bottom-up and top-down dialogues, in the
conviction that by listening to others ideas and solutions we arrive at finding
common answers to our challenges; that making power structures transparent and
being consistent by walking the talk when implementing the program with demo-
cratic principles it is possible to be listened to and taken seriously by teachers,
administrators, parents and children.
The program has researched and acknowledged what is already being done in citi-
zenship education in different countries worldwide and has publicised many exam-
ples of positive practice and successful outcomes in the various regions of Colombia.
But there is also a recognition that assessing the development of competencies, in
classroom and school relationships, in family and community encounters with the
school and in the administrative structure, including liaison with international
agencies, will be critical to the sustainability of the program.
Acknowledgement
We wish to thank Rosario Martinez for her insights and comments on the manuscript.
Notes on authors
Rosario Jaramillo is Advisor for the development of a teachers college for peace in
the Mid-Magdalena river region in Colombia, with the Program for Development
and Peace, the Centre for Research on Popular Education and the Teaching for
Understanding Program from Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of
Education. She was previously advisor to the Citizenship Competencies Program of
the Ministry of Education in Colombia. Her publications include: What do students
in teaching for understanding classrooms understand? and What do students think
about understanding?, in: M. Stone Wiske (Ed.) Teaching for understanding: a practi-
cal framework (San Francisco, Jossey Bass), 1997; and Cox, C., Jaramillo, R. &
Reimers, F., Education for democratic citizenship in the Americas: an agenda for action
(Washington, DC, Inter-American Development Bank), 2005.
Jos Alberto Mesa, S.J., is President of San Jos School, Barranquilla, after many
years working as teacher and administrator in schools in Colombia. He received
a PhD in philosophy and education from Columbia University, New York, USA.
He participated in the training team for the Citizenship Competencies Program
promoted by the Ministry of Education in Colombia. His publications include:
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
C
o
r
p
o
r
a
c
i
o
n

C
I
N
C
E
L
]

a
t

0
7
:
5
7

3
0

N
o
v
e
m
b
e
r

2
0
1
2

Citizenship education in Colombia 485
La tica del cuidado y sus implicaciones en la formacin moral en la escuela
[Caring ethics and its implication for moral education in the school] in Pontifi-
cia Universidad Javeriana (Ed.) La educacin desde las ticas del cuidado y la
compasin [Education viewed from the perspective of the ethics of caring and
compassion](Bogot, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana), 2133, 2005; and Moral
education in the age of individualism (VDM Verlag, Saarbrcken, Germany),
(2008).
Notes
1. The Gini coefficient is an indicator of inequality. It measures the inequality of income
distribution within a country. It varies from zero, which indicates perfect equality, with
every household earning exactly the same, to one, which implies absolute inequality, with a
single household earning a countrys entire income. Latin America is the worlds most
unequal region, with a Gini coefficient of around 0.5; in developed countries the figure is
closer to 0.3.
2. The authors of this article were involved in the program in two respects: Rosario Jaramillo was
the director of the Citizenship Competencies Program at the Colombian Ministry of
Education. She was responsible for: (1) contracting the people that created the program; (2)
coordinating the team in charge of training teachers or implementing the program; and (3)
supervising the evaluation of the program. Jos Mesa was a member of the national team that
trained teachers for the program and, as such, organised and directed several workshops
throughout the country.
References
Colombia. (1991) Constitucin poltica de Colombia [Political constitution of Colombia] (Bogot,
Temis).
Colombia. Congreso de la Repblica (1994) Ley General de Educacin [General Law of Education]
in Cdigo Educativo General [General Educational Code] (Bogot, Editorial Magisterio).
Colombia. Departamento Nacional de Planeacin (DNP) [Department of National Planning]
(2008) Estadsticas: educacin [Statistics: education]. Available online at: http://www.dnp.
gov.co/ (accessed 24 March 2009).
Colombia. Instituto Colombiano para el Fomento de la Educacin Superior (ICFES) [Colombian
Institute for the Promotion of Higher Education] (2008) Reporte estadstico de resultados
[Statistical report of results]. Available online at: http://www.icfesinteractivo.gov.co/reporte/
(accessed 20 March 2009).
Colombia. Ministerio de Educacin Nacional (2003) Estndares bsicos de competencias ciudadanas.
Formar para la ciudadanas es posible! Lo que necesitamos saber y saber hacer [Basic stan-
dards of citizenship competencies. Educating for citizenshipit is possible! What we need
to know and do] (Bogot, Ministry of Education).
Colombia. Ministerio de Educacin Nacional (2009a) General statistics. Available online at: http://
menweb.mineducacion.gov.co/info_sector/estadisticas/index.html (accessed 15 February,
2009).
Colombia. Ministerio de Educacin Nacional (2009b) Colombia aprende [Colombia learns].
Available online at: http://www.colombiaaprende.edu.co (accessed 27 January 2009).
Colombia. Ministerio de Educacin Nacional (2009c) Colombia aprende [Colombia learns]. Avail-
able online at: http://www.colombiaaprende.edu.co/html/home/1592/article-73617.html#
h2_1 (accessed 11 May 2009).
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
C
o
r
p
o
r
a
c
i
o
n

C
I
N
C
E
L
]

a
t

0
7
:
5
7

3
0

N
o
v
e
m
b
e
r

2
0
1
2

486 R. Jaramillo and J. A. Mesa
Colombia. Ministerio de Educacin Nacional (2009d) Colombia aprende: sitios de inters: sexualidad
y ciudadana [Colombia learns: sites of interest: sexuality and citizenship]. Available online
at: http://www.colombiaaprende.edu.co/html/productos/1685/propertyvalue-38527.html
(accessed 21 March 2009).
Cox, C., Jaramillo, R. & Reimers, F. (2005) Educar para la ciudadana y la democracia en las
Amricas: una agenda para la accin [Educating for citizenship and democracy in the
Americas: an agenda for action], (Washington, Inter American Development Bank).
De Roux, F. (1991) Fundamentos para una tica ciudadana [Foundations for a citizenship ethics],
in: Programa por la Paz (Ed.) Colombia una casa para todos [Colombia a home for everybody]
(Bogot, Programa por la Paz).
Dewey, J. (1916) Democracy and education: an introduction to the philosophy of education (Electronic
Text Center, University of Virginia Library). Available online at: http://etext.lib.virginia.
edu/toc/modeng/public/DewDemo.html (accessed 24 March 2009).
De Zubira, S. (1993) tica civil, cultura y educacin [Civil ethics, culture and education], in:
Cinde-Colectivo tica Civil (Eds) tica civil y educacin, memorias [Civil ethics and education,
memoirs] (Manizales, Colombia, Cinde-Colectivo tica Civil).
Duckworth, E. (1997) Las virtudes de no saber [The virtues of not knowing] in: Pequeos aprendi-
ces, grandes comprensiones. Libro II, Las imgenes [Little learners, big understandings. Book II,
The images] (Bogot, Colombia, Ministry of Education).
Harvard Gazette (2004) Academic turns city into a social experiment. Available online at: http://
www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2004/03.11/01-mockus.html (accessed 22 March 2009).
Herrera, M. C., Pinilla-Daz, A. V., Daz-Soler, C. J., Jilmar-Daz, C. & Infante Acevedo, R.
(2005) La construccin de cultura poltica en Colombia: proyectos hegemnicos y resistencias
culturales [The construction of a political culture in Colombia: hegemonic projects and
cultural resistances] (Bogot, Universidad Pedaggica Nacional).
Hoyos, G. (2004) tica y educacin para una ciudadana democrtica [Ethics and education for a
democratic citizenship], in: C. A. Molina Gmez & H. V. Sandoval (Eds), Cambiar la
mirada: diez ensayos sobre educacin, ciudad y sociedad [Change the look: ten essays about
education, city and society] (Palmira, Luis Amig), 211266.
International Association for the Study of Educational Achievement (IEA) (2009) International
Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS) 2009 study. Available online at: http://
www.iea.nl/icces.html (accessed 20 March 2009).
Jaramillo, R. & Bermudez, A. (2000) La educacin moral desde una perspectiva filosfica,
psicolgica y pedaggica [Moral education from a philosophical, psychological and peda-
gogical perspective], in: Secretara de Educacin de Bogot (Eds) El anlisis de dilemas
morales: una estrategia pedaggica para el desarrollo de la autonoma moral [The analysis of
moral dilemmas: a pedagogical strategy for the development of moral autonomy] (Bogot,
Secretara de Educacin), 18.
Programa por la Paz, Compaa de Jess y Universidad Javeriana [Program for Peace, Society of
Jesus & Javeriana University] (1997) tica para la convivencia: memoria seminario tica civil y
convivencia ciudadana [Ethics for living together: workshop on civil ethics and citizenship
living] (Cali, Programa por la Paz-Compaa de Jess y Universidad Javeriana).
Raider-Roth, M. B. (2005) Trusting what you know: the high stakes of classroom relationships (San
Francisco, Jossey-Bass).
Ritchhart, R. & Perkins, D. (2000) Life in the mindful classroom: nurturing the disposition of
mindfulness, Journal of Social Issues, 56(1), 2747.
Ruiz, A. & Chaux, E. (2005) Formacin ciudadana [Citizenship education] (Bogot, Association of
Colombian Schools of Education [ASCOFADE]).
Torney Purta, J. & Amadeo, J.A. (2004) Strengthening democracy in the Americas through civic educa-
tion: an empirical analysis highlighting the views of students and teachers. Executive summary.
Available online at: http://www.oas.org/udse/3ministerial/ingles/strengtheningdemocracyed-
ucation.doc (accessed 24 March 2009).
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
C
o
r
p
o
r
a
c
i
o
n

C
I
N
C
E
L
]

a
t

0
7
:
5
7

3
0

N
o
v
e
m
b
e
r

2
0
1
2

Citizenship education in Colombia 487
United Nations Development Program (UNDP) (2004) La democracia en Amrica Latina: hacia
una democracia de ciudadanos y ciudadanas. Reporte y anexos. [Democracy in Latin America:
towards a citizens democracy. Report and annexes]. Available online at: http://democracia.
undp.org/Default.asp (accessed 25 January 2009).
United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) (2005) Statistics in
brief: Colombia, education. Available online at: http://www.uis.unesco.org/profiles/EN/EDU/
1700.html (accessed 12 December 2008).
Vasco, C. E. (2003) Estndares bsicos de calidad para la educacin [Basic quality standards for
education]. Unpublished document. (Bogot, Ministerio de Educacin Nacional).
D
o
w
n
l
o
a
d
e
d

b
y

[
C
o
r
p
o
r
a
c
i
o
n

C
I
N
C
E
L
]

a
t

0
7
:
5
7

3
0

N
o
v
e
m
b
e
r

2
0
1
2