From 2015 to 2018, the Ministry of Education had been funding free school workshops to help schools address current societal developments and policy discussions and promote values such as human rights, democracy, solidarity, respect and justice. polis – the Austrian Centre for Citizenship Education in Schools was commissioned to provide schools throughout Austria with free workshops.
This workshop series were offered three times with different focus for schools. In 2015 the series of workshops entitled "Self-confident children and young people do not need destructive ideologies", 2016 focused on "Respect, coexistence and equality between women and men" and the 2017/18 school year was devoted to the topic "Against radicalization and exclusion - Strengthening Democracy Culture and Digital Courage ".
The workshops encouraged the exploration of a culture of democracy and digital courage. They strengthened respect and class fellowship as well as conflict capacity and discussion culture in the classroom. Furthermore, they made contributions to discuss extremism and fanatization and to counteract ideologies of inequality and exclusion. Phenomena such as hate speech on the Internet was worked on and counter strategies were developed. Civil courage and solidarity were just as much a topic as the manifold opportunities for political and social participation.
Schools could choose from more than 100 different workshop topics, some of which were offered regionally only.
The feedback so far suggested that prevention measures are accepted positively by external experts from schools and it was also assumed that these measures had a lasting effect on the pupils.
Ingrid Ausserer, firstname.lastname@example.org