Religious and cultural diversity are today more than ever a critical and political challenge as the recent emergencies related to geo-political and economical global transformations clearly show. European countries are concerned by a big immigration flow that demands an educational effort in order to foster the mutual understanding and integration.
Responding to the recommendations and findings of international documents such as the Council of Europe’s White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue (Council of Europe 2008) and the report of the Network of European Foundations (NEF 2009) , Teaching about Religions in European School Systems: Policy issues and trends, IERS project meets the needs of an innovative approach in teaching about religions and beliefs at school by providing teachers of humanistic disciplines with new tools that help teachers and pupils to plunge deeper into religions and cultures of non-European countries, as well as raising the knowledge of the religious traditions that contributed to the common European cultural Identity, promoting it in the best way suited for encouraging intra -and extra- European cultural dialogue attitudes.
The Project aims to support the development of social, civic and intercultural transversal key competences by educating towards a positive understanding of cultural and religious differences, a readiness to engage in dialogue and to avoid or manage conflicts. By encouraging teachers and pupils to expose themselves to the differences and commonalities of religious topics, it promotes also the values of democracy, equality and human rights as it deals with social and civic dimensions of both intercultural and interreligious dialogue.
The project will involve high school in-service teachers by developing a complete set of didactical tools and training experiences. The results will be:
- A baseline study which analyzes the actual situation of teaching about religions throughout Europe.
- New innovative didactic tools such as Multimedia Digital Modules to be used in classroom activities, accompanied by a Handbook with didactical guidelines for teachers.
- Teacher support activities (virtual community, training activities, developing of didactical projects to apply in classroom).