Every school should be a school of democracy. Slovakia lags behind

Pandemic sparks human rights-related debates, showing that most people lack the theoretical background to discuss these issues.

Dagmar HornáDagmar Horná (Source: Archive of Human Rights Olympics, 2018)

Quite often we have heard intimate stories. A student said his father would just bang on the table and make a decision for everyone, without discussing the matter any further. But once I have a family, the student said, I will sit my children at the table and we will talk everything through and try to agree on what is best for us.

Dagmar Horná, the chairperson of the National Commission of the Human Rights Olympics, pointed out how varying may be the approach in different families. The Human Rights Olympics may be a way for some to experience something completely different from what they've been used to at home or at school.

“What is better than knowing that a child was given a tool, a vision of how to live when they grow up?” she said.

In an interview with The Slovak Spectator, Horná said that human rights education should go on, from the cradle to the grave, talking about what people may face if they neglect this. She also noted that the pandemic has sparked interest and many discussions on where violations of human rights begin, and pointed to many cases that unveiled what she calls people's desperate lack of knowledge on human rights and rule of law.

Raising young citizens

Human Rights Olympics is a national competition for secondary-school students in Slovakia, aimed at the promotion and protection of human rights and democracy. The 2021 edition is its 23rd, though in practice it has been around for quarter century now, with the first two editions as pilots.

Recently, the competition won the European Citizens' Prize 2020, for its efforts to help strengthen the fundamental pillars of democracy.

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