Friday, 21 June 2013

Polish Schoolbooks Evaluated by Development NGOs

When it comes to global education, schoolbooks in Poland may turn out bitterly disappointing. The global South and its people are generally described in a language, which ranges from inept to offensive. The information touching upon global issues is in some cases unsound and worse even, in many cases it is lacking where it would be most appropriate. And all this despite guidelines on global education included in the core curriculum by the Polish Ministry of Education. Therefore, the Global Education Working Group of Grupa Zagranica (Polish NGDO platform) decided to conduct a review of textbooks used in the secondary education.

In the first instance, geography textbooks will be looked at. Geography is a subject, where the “rest of the world” is most likely discussed. Secondly, textbooks used in Civic Education classes will be reviewed. This is a subject well-suited to discuss global issues, but the opportunity to do so is often missed. At the moment, the method is being designed. On one hand, Global Education working group representatives will check in how far textbooks available match global education core curriculum defined by the Polish Ministry of Education. On the other hand, the way which the issues are presented will be evaluated. It will be considered, whether the information related to the global South is not one-sided (e.g. focusing exclusively on poverty), whether there is sufficient explanation of causes and consequences of problems described and what language is being used.

Also the pictures will come under scrutiny (basing on the Code of Conduct on Images and Messages), because very often they follow most simplistic stereotypes. This first phase of the project is foreseen to take up to one year. In the future more subjects may be considered.

Hopefully, the recommendations will be passed on to the authors, editors and decisive persons and find their way into the textbooks.

More information: Magdalena Trojanek,

Information provided by Magdalena Trojanek, Grupa Zagranica

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