Parochial education in a global world? Teaching history and civics in Lebanon
Nyckelord:HISTORY, CIVICS, LEBANON, FUTURE CITIZEN
This exploratory article is based on a research project which runs from 2011 to 2013 that examines how global processes are expressed in educational policies and pedagogical texts in Lebanon, Sweden and Turkey by focusing on school subjects like civics, history, geography, and religion. In this text we discuss the development of education in Lebanon, the development of history and civics after the civil war, and on opinions about these school subjects in order to make a preliminary analysis of how the future Lebanese citizen is depicted in policies, curricula, and textbooks. Lebanon is interesting because of its unique education system in which foreign international institutions rather than national ones have the task of preparing individuals for a globalized world. Material for the study were collected from a sample of curricula used in private and public or national schools for history and civics/citizenship education in grade 8 as well as interviews and conference proceedings and conversations with activists, teachers and principals. We also reviewed findings of relevant empirical studies conducted in Lebanon. Our data collection was guided by three questions: how is the right citizen depicted in the Lebanese material? How is the relationship between national and global perspectives treated in guidance documents and pedagogical texts? What civic rights and obligations are given attention and what individuals are included/ excluded? Our preliminary findings imply that there is no consensus on the importance of teaching a unified history and civics book and subjects in Lebanon. Other findings indicate that private and international schools have a greater impact than national schools on preparing Lebanese students as future citizens.