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IDEC 2015:
New Zealand
EUDEC 2015:

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IDEN is the International Democratic Education Network
Since 1993, when the first IDEC was planned by representatives of four schools in different countries, the number of democratic schools all round the world has grown rapidly.  Now hundreds of people, usually from more than thirty countries, attend the conferences, which are held in a different continent each year.


What is Democratic Education?
Teachers and students have an equal vote in the decisions about their learning and their social lives

Why Democratic Education?

"Within democratic education systems young people show responsibility, concern for others, imagination and good judgement - qualities that are inhibited when values are imposed by adults"

What is Democratic Education?

At the Berlin IDEC in 2005 the participants agreed on the following statement:
We believe that, in any educational setting, young people have the right:

  • to decide individually how, when, what, where and with whom they learn
  • to have an equal share in the decision-making as to how their organisations – in particular their schools – are run, and which rules and sanctions, if any, are necessary.

Here are some other attempts at definition:

"The diverse participants in Democratic Education are united in upholding the spirit of the Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child and implementing this as the primary framework for the day-to-day practices in all learning environments."

IDEC in New Zealand


"The proponents of democratic education believe that effective education must include personal self-determination and the opportunity for meaningful participation in democratic processes in each student's day to day life."

John Hiner


"Democratic education is education in which teachers and learners work together as equals."

David Gribble

"A democratic school is one in which students are free citizens of the
school, in charge of their own educational lives, and participate, or may
participate, directly or indirectly, in the making of decisions which affect
them all."

Laura Stine

"Democratic Education is based on respect, tolerance and love."

Yakov Hecht

"[Democratic education stems from] a free and expressive dialogue with no rules, no conventions, just honesty and sometimes bluntness."

Jessica Cawston


What is IDEN?

IDEN stands for International Democratic Education Network.
It is a network of schools, organisations and individuals all round the world that uphold such ideals as:

  • respect and trust for children
  • equality of status of children and adults
  • shared responsibility
  • freedom of choice of activity
  • democratic governance by children and staff together, without reference to any supposedly superior guide or system.

Members are self-selected. Their names and addresses and a minimal description appear in a data-base on the web site, and they receive two or three newsletters a year, mainly giving information about recent and future IDECs.


What is an IDEC?

IDEC stands for International Democratic Education Conference. It is not the name of an organisation or a group. Every year since 1993 a school or other organisation has volunteered to run the conference for the next year. The length of the conferences has varied between two days for the first one to a fortnight in 1997. Recently most have attracted around three hundred participants from all over the world. Students from both the host organisation and visiting schools have nearly always played a large part; the conference in 1997 at Sands School in the UK and the Tokyo conference in 2000 were in fact run almost entirely by students.

There are differing views as to the purpose of the IDECs. Some see them as an opportunity to discuss shared problems in a supportive atmosphere. Others hope to spread the idea of democratic education by inviting possible converts and attracting favourable publicity. The purpose of any given conference is decided by the organisers.

Read more about IDECs   Democratic Education in schools worldwide


Phoenic Education Trust Logo IDEN is supported by  the Phoenix Education Trust

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