Evens Prize for Intercultural Education 2000
In the year 2000 the first prize was shared by two organizations which each received the sum of 17 500 €. These organizations are Stichting Vredeseducatie – Utrecht for their project “Ordinary-Extrordinary” and Steunpunt Intercultureel Onderwijs – Ghent for their project “CLIM : Co-operative Learning in Multicultural Classes“.
The project “Ordinary-Extraordinary” of the Stichting Vredeseducatie – Utrecht is a high quality interactive travelling exhibiting about prejudice and the scapegoat phenomenon set up in 7 European countries. It stimulates awareness-building processes and opposes prejudice and ethnocentrism by leading youngsters of 10-12 through an interactive exhibition followed by in-depth reflection in the class. The project has a strong concept i.e. teaching children to think (and not what to think) and introducing the meaning of resistance, making it an accessible tool for each of them. It has a pragmatic approach to the problematic of stereotyping, without aiming to be “politically correct”.
The “CLIM” project of the Steunpunt Intercultureel Onderwijs – Ghent introduces a new class environment in order to enhance intercultural learning. Not only do they work on the content but also on the learning strategies thus increasing the competence of pupils and teachers when dealing with social and cultural diversity. Interaction between the pupils is at the heart of the learning process allowing running a classroom in a more equal way: Its objectives are the equality of opportunities and outcome. The intercultural education is woven throughout the curriculum. Very powerful is the concept of using the teacher as a facilitator (delegation of authority). The project develops a bottom-top approach: the institution is questioned, not the pupils.
The jury felt both projects were complementary to each other and urgently recommended both laureates to exchange their ways of working and their methods and to learn from each other’s expert knowledge. This is why two internal debates were organised in Ghent and Utrecht. The debates were then incorporated in a public debate that took place on September 24, 2001 in Antwerp. The results of the debate were published in “Learning for change in a Multicultural Society“.
The second prize of 5 000 € went to the project “MEQ-DECET-network: Education Without Prejudice in a European Perspective” of the Vlaams Begeleidingscentrum voor het Jonge Kind – VBJK – Ghent. The objectives of their project are twofold; on the one hand they want to tackle the problem of high unemployment and low socio-economic position of migrant women and on the other hand, they want to increase the multicultural character of the day-care centres. The concept of creating a crèche of the neighbourhood, where not only the children but also the crèche staff and the parents are involved actively, is very interesting. The crèche is adapted to the needs of the different children and their parents, respecting their social and cultural pecularities. Children are taught to talk about differences and to be respectful towards others. The taboo is broken.