News and Views

UCC awarded funding to develop European Active Citizenship

8 Dec 2021
Dr Emmanuelle Schön-Quinlivan and UCC President Prof. John O'Halloran
  • UCC one of only 20 teacher training centres Europe-wide on active European citizenship
  • UCC is to deliver Continuing Professional Development courses and turn-key web-based teaching programmes to primary and secondary teachers, from Junior Infants to 6th year
  • Primary, secondary and third level students to be engaged on the topic of European active citizenship through YouTube, Instagram and TikTok posts
  • Led by Dr Emmanuelle Schön-Quinlivan, newly appointed Erasmus+ Jean Monnet Chair in Active European Citizenship.

Despite intense competition, University College Cork (UCC) has won one of 20 Erasmus+ Jean Monnet Teacher Training grants available across the entire European Union to develop a Hub on European Active Citizenship.

The Hub will be the one-stop shop for teaching material and training courses on the European Union and what it means to be a European citizen, and will be specifically tailored for teachers from Junior Infants to 6th year level.

At a time when the challenges of Brexit, climate change, migration, and Covid-19 highlight the significance of action at European level, it is essential that European citizenship education becomes a reality in Irish primary and secondary schools to empower young people to think critically and have a voice at the European level.

The new Chair in Active European Citizenship will help give this voice to students from primary, secondary and third level through social media posts on issues, news, and opinions about the European Union. It will also organise events such as the Europe Day festival at the heart of Cork City, or a Continuing Professional Course on Communicating Europe open to the entire community.

The €300,000 Erasmus+ Teacher Training grant builds on the success of My Big Friendly Guide to the European Union (BFGTOEU), an innovative teaching and learning programme at primary level which Dr Emmanuelle Schön-Quinlivan developed in collaboration with Trish Collier, primary school teacher and principal of Kilmurry NS. The new grant will help grow teaching and training tools, grounded in critical thinking, for five to 18 year-olds, on the European Union, Ireland’s place within it, and active citizenship.

Together with a team of experts and in close collaboration with secondary level teachers, Dr Schön-Quinlivan will focus on creating turn-key lessons, role play and simulations on European issues while connecting them with the existing secondary curriculum.

Dr Schön-Quinlivan explains: “The key for such training and teaching programmes on Ireland and the European Union to work is to collaborate with school teachers. Lofty ideas which don’t work in the classroom are pointless. European political and policy issues are mostly studied at third level, the cultural side being touched upon at primary and secondary level. It is time to create relevant and effective teaching and training tools which support teachers in empowering our children to grow the European Union of the future.”

There has already been keen interest amongst educators in Croatia, Greece, Portugal, Denmark, Belgium and the US to use BFGTOEU as an innovative approach to bring European issues and active citizenship in their primary schools. Through intense collaboration with secondary school teachers and leading Irish and international experts on the European Union, teaching and training programmes will be developed catering for the Junior and Senior Cycles as well as Transition Year. They will be grounded in the latest academic debates while workable in the classroom.

Dr Schön-Quinlivan added: “Developing this teaching and training programme at secondary level in a cross-curricular perspective is a creative way to encourage young people to make the EU relatable, accessible and a topic of informed discussion. The Chair in Active European Citizenship and the Teacher Training grant will work hand in hand to finally reconnect this abstract European citizenship to our national one and give all the confidence to use it.”

President of UCC, Professor John O’Halloran, said:

"UCC is delighted to be among the trailblazing universities in the European Union which will create a continuum of education on active European citizenship through collaboration between primary, secondary and third level of education. As issues like Brexit or climate change have showed, the EU is part of our daily life and Ireland has an increasing role to play. I am delighted that UCC has this opportunity to lead the way."

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF