A new democratic and pluralistic education system is described in Decree n. 57 of March 2006, “Adoption of Curricula for a New Learning Model in San Marino Schools”, aimed at achieving a balance between a local and global dimension and enabling schools to provide access to knowledge on an equal footing. At the same time, differences must be promoted within schools, as well as a dialogue among different cultures. Hence, the traditional and original objective of schools to create citizens capable of acknowledging their well-defined “national” identity is now increasingly intermingling with the objective to present new forms of citizenship, in a context where globalisation progresses to the point that it involves economic, political, cultural and religious fields.
The awareness of personal identity – which San Marino schools are considering – enables people to look at others without prejudice, in a spirit of knowledge, understanding and solidarity. Indeed, identity elements also constitute a prerequisite to positively face the problems of interaction among cultures. Intercultural education is therefore understood not as the fading away of personal origins and heritage of symbols, but rather as an encouragement to accede to and understand the symbols of others. In practice, all levels of San Marino schools, in line with the above-mentioned methodologies, address the issues of education on citizenship and intercultural dialogue, by preferring the in-depth study of situations “closer” to students: for example, they carefully study the countries of origin of the small number of foreign children present in the classrooms, in order to facilitate mutual knowledge and their integration in the local context.
Another innovative aspect of San Marino schools is the introduction of multilingualism. With Delegated Decree no.7 of 26 January 2015, the San Marino Parliament approved the launch of an experimental three-year multilingualism project at all school levels, from nursery to secondary school. The goal of the project is to set at every school level a multilingual learning environment in order to use Italian and English, and other languages established in the curricular training or spoken by foreign people attending the schools, as vehicular languages. By strengthening all cognitive processes, schools aim at promoting integration and coexistence in an increasingly multicultural society.
The Training Department of San Marino University offers training courses and study sessions concerning multicultural education, respect for diversities and the value of tolerance, aimed at various professionals, including teachers. The school year 2006-07 was inaugurated with an opening address on human rights and, in parallel, the Minister of Education, Culture and University circulated a letter containing recommendations on the approach to the issue of human rights.
Education on tolerance and respect for differences is not an isolated subject, but rather represents one of the fundamental values, which must be part of all subject matters. Every single school, both primary and secondary, carries out interdisciplinary education projects aimed at promoting these values. In practice, the presence in Kindergartens of some children from other nations represents an occasion to propose intercultural education activities. Some didactic projects concern life and traditions of other countries, dances of other peoples, colours of other worlds, with the educational objective to promote and encourage positive behaviour and curiosity about different cultures. The intercultural educational objectives of Junior Schools concern awareness raising on the existence of different ways of expressing and communicating, the creation of a positive relational climate, the willingness to dialogue with “different” people, education on the values of civil coexistence, freedom, collaboration and respect for the others and becoming aware of one’s own personal and cultural identity. In recent years, some intercultural projects have been developed in various subject matters, such as humanities (reading of novels concerning integration, meetings with foreigners, films on integration), English language (presentation of a multicultural calendar, in-depth study of the main articles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child), French language (reading and analysis of interviews with young immigrants, reading of books on racism) and music (listening and performance of pieces belonging to the tradition of various countries).
In 2007, in the framework of the educational project “Education for Democratic Citizenship” planned for schools on the occasion of the six-month Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the Documentation Centre of Kindergartens in collaboration with the Office for Social and Cultural Activities (UASC) and the Company of Associated Artists “Teatro Ragazzi”, proposed the show “Popone e l’elefante”. This theatre performance, inspired by Theodor Seuss Geisel’s fairy tale, intended to communicate to children, in a joyful way, the issue of interculturalism, protection of minorities and their rights. In 2008, the theatre performance “The butterfly Esmeralda” was staged for children from primary schools. It dealt with the issues of intercultural dialogue and diversity, describing them in a funny and simple way. In the following years, other events on multiculturalism were organised as meeting and learning opportunities. In particular, some performances specifically targeted to children were jointly staged by UASC, kindergartens, elementary schools and theatre companies with a view to providing children, teachers and artists with an occasion to share emotions and fantasy. The objective was to stimulate, through theatre action, the imagination of children as an important training element for their cultural growth and to help them develop the habit of going to the theatre.
A new laboratory of linguistic and multicultural activities was organised for schools in the summer of 2008. The project involved visits by San Marino young citizens living in communities abroad. It provided educational support by developing entertaining and recreational initiatives enabling children to become familiar with different cultures and languages. Children were involved in games, music and singing activities, learning something about the culture of the United States of America, France and Argentina. The initiative was proposed by the Consulta of San Marino Citizens Abroad and was sponsored by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and of Education and Culture.
In January 2006, with Decree no. 20 of 27 January, the Heads of State and government established the Annual International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. Every year, on 27 January, a number of school and cultural initiatives are organised to honour the memory of the victims of the Holocaust focused in particular on respect for religious, cultural and ethnic diversity. In 2008, a memorial stone was unveiled in the ancient Jewish ghetto in San Marino historic centre. Subsequently, in 2009, the San Marino National Commission for UNESCO organised, in collaboration with other bodies of the neighbouring Region Emilia Romagna and under the scientific direction of the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris, a refresher seminar on the history of racism. It was an ad hoc training project aimed at history teachers with a view to encouraging them to reflect on how modern racism and anti-Semitism have contributed to laying the cultural foundations for the 20th century’s genocides. This seminar was followed by another meeting to examine in greater detail the historical and cultural causes for the spreading of racist thought in the 20th century. In the following years, other conferences and exhibitions were organised to celebrate the Memory Day, always in collaboration with the Mémorial de la Shoah, the most ancient European institution concerning documentation and research about the Shoah. The San Marino National Commission for UNESCO promoted some initiatives to respond to the calls contained in a UNESCO Resolution and in other documents of the United Nations and the Council of Europe, which invite States to actively engage in the preservation of the memory and knowledge of the Shoah. Over the years, the number of initiatives connected with this Memory Day has considerably increased, with events that start some days before and continue after 27 January. These are commemorative events, which also intend to express a condemnation, as testified to by the witnesses and stories related to any form of violation of fundamental human rights. Among the 2012 events, worth mentioning are: the presentation of the volume entitled “Il viale delle rose: storie di ebrei rifugiati nella Repubblica di San Marino durante la Seconda guerra mondiale” by Giuseppe Marzi, which tells the stories of some Jews who took refuge in the Republic of San Marino during the Second World War, in the presence of Luciano Caro, Chief Rabbi of Ferrara, and Franco Bonilaur, Director of the Jewish Museum in Bologna; the screening of the finalists’ work and of the winner of the first edition of the video art competition entitled “Senz’appello”, promoted by the Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery, the theme of which was an artistic reflection on the persistence of totalitarianism, ideologies and political systems aimed at the relativisation of individuals and the denial of their fundamental rights. The works selected during this first international video art competition were also projected (without audio) during the concert of the “San Marino Ensemble”. These initiatives, mainly aimed at citizens, were flanked by some more specific ones directed to schools in the form of meetings-debates, witnesses, screening of documentaries and films, exhibitions and training courses for the students and teachers of the Upper Secondary School.
On Sunday, 27 January 2013, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, SM TV San Marino was the only broadcaster putting a small yellow six-point star near its logo, throughout all programmes, in memory of the victims of the Holocaust and to respond to the appeal launched by national and international institutions to preserve and pass on their memory. On this occasion, the state broadcasting company, with public service functions, broadcasted a series productions and art-house films, reportages in the news bulletins, specific programmes and documentaries. Besides public television, San Marino cultural institutes promoted some initiatives celebrating this Day with music performances, films and documentaries, debates on the issue of liberty, dialogues on memory, interviews of people deported to concentration camps, exhibitions of books and images, and guided visits to the country’s train tunnels, historic places par excellence of San Marino memory.
In January 2014, just a few days before the usual celebrations for the Remembrance Day, San Marino and Yad Vashem (Israel’s official memorial of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, which collects documents on the Holocaust from around the world), signed an agreement for the comparative study of documents. This agreement was considered to be of historical importance by the parties, being a sort of scientific “certification” of the written and oral statements collected by various researchers over the years. The documents confirm that the country made great efforts in offering hospitality and protection to many Jewish citizens before, during and after the Second World War. This was a highly risky initiative for that period, considering the difficult political climate inside and outside the borders of the Republic, but also of high humanitarian value that could result in San Marino being recognised by the State of Israel as “Land of the Righteous.” After signing the agreement in May 2014, copies of San Marino historical documents have been transferred to Israel and, after been analysed and compared, they will provide more information and shed light on Jewish history in San Marino in the last century.
Some Township Councils (administrative municipalities, see chapter 1.2.4) celebrated this Day with events characterised by reflection and aimed at strengthening the values of equality and liberty, and with the hope to leave a legacy to new generations.
With regard to interculturalism, in 2009 a group of San Marino citizens submitted a popular petition (Istanza d’Arengo) for the accession of the Republic to the training programmes of Intercultura (see chapter 2.5.1).
In 2011, thanks to the financing of UNESCO, which has recognised its highly cultural and social value, and with the joint collaboration of public and private Associations and Institutions, the project “Education and handicraft production: promoting and facilitating the dissemination of education and enhancing local handicraft production in the Democratic Republic of Congo” was developed. This initiative took the form of an artistic experience open to interculturalism, which established contact among different cultures and traditions in a process of mutual enrichment. On this occasion, a group of university students created some prototypes of didactical toys for the schools of the mission of Father Marcellino in Congo. These toys will then be finalised and realised with materials to be sourced locally and made by local artisans.
For further details on this issue, see chapter 1.4.2.