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Democratic preparedness against racism and antisemitism (Dembra)

Dembra is a programme offering guidance and courses for schools relating to the prevention of racism, antisemitism and un-democratic attitudes. Based on the individual school's experiences, Dembra helps strengthen efforts to promote participation and critical thinking. Visit our new webpages dembra.no for information in Norwegian.

What is Dembra?

Dembra is a competence development programme for schools related to the learning environment and the school's mandate to educate the democratic citizens of tomorrow. The aim is to offer perspectives and tools for developing the work the school is already doing. Participation in Dembra can thereby strengthen other projects and focus areas.

It’s about our school

Dembra offers support to schools that want to work on perceptions of "the others" among teachers and pupils; from prejudices and xenophobia to racism, antisemitism and extremism. The starting points are the challenges that the individual school is experiencing. The programme structure is adapted to limit the amount of extra work for the school; for example, by holding courses for teachers during the school's allocated development time.

It’s about our society

Group hostility and hate challenges democracy. It excludes and splits people and goes against the idea that we are all individuals who should have a voice and an opportunity to participate. Working systematically to counter these divisive attitudes is therefore part of the school's mandate to strengthen democratic competence and promote genuine citizenship for everyone.

Relevant issues

  • What can the school do to prevent prejudice and group hostility?
  • How can schools create a democratic and inclusive learning environment that prevents harassment?
  • How can teachers deal with prejudice and hate speech in the classroom?
  • How can teachers strengthen pupils' ability to engage in discussions dealing with controversial topics?
  • What is the role of schools in preventing radicalisation and violent extremism?

Participation and critical thinking

Democratic values such as inclusion, participation and critical thinking are key principles for prevention. The most important preventive work does not happen when the theme prevention is on the timetable. More important is the relation between adults and pupils, the way the teacher chooses to work with the aims in the curriculum and, and the schools' systematic efforts to create a healthy school environment.

Competence building for lower secondary schools

The Dembra programme is conducted at five schools simultaneously during the course of a school year. Each school appoints its own Dembra team, which includes a member of the management staff who coordinates the school's work. The team is guided by Dembra's project group, which also visits the school to hold courses on relevant topics.

Dembra for upper secondary schools

Upper secondary schools can receive guidance in local Dembra projects along with courses and inspiration for teachers. The school's work is supported by e-learning resources.

Dembra.no

Dembra.no [in Norwegian] offers schools all over the country the opportunity to participate in Dembra and receive guidance over the internet. The website contains learning resources related to Dembra's topics, such as critical thinking, prejudices, group hostility, national minorities, radicalisation, and violent extremism.

Partners

Dembra has been developed by the Centre for Studies of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities, the European Wergeland Centre, and the Department of Teacher Education and School Research at the University of Oslo.

The Rafto Foundation and the Falstad Centre organise Dembra programmes in Hordaland and Trøndelag respectively. Dembra is funded by the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training.