At times civic and social education – which is focused on teaching empathy, respect for others, appreciating diversity, teamwork, cooperation and joint undertakings – is something schools claim to have in mind, but fail to implement in a systematic way.
Low social capital, i.e. lack of readiness to cooperate, no self-organisation in local matters, very low levels of trust toward others and low organisation participation rate, is considered one of the main obstacles of social development.
Schools are a great place to build such a capital, but this requires full engagement of all stakeholders – not only educational authorities, but also teachers, parents and children – and breaking with the individualistic vision of education and professional career. An open school is a civic school in which students are treated with respect and rules of democracy are practised in class and after class, during breaks and school excursions. These rules include, crucially, the freedom of expression and the right to co-decide on important matters.