Netherlands Debate Institute

Young people are the future of our democracy. But what efforts are being made to teach children and young people how to participate in a democracy? Citizenship education is not yet properly established in the Netherlands. It is often dependent on a teacher’s enthusiasm for the subject and there is no fixed programme. Even though surveys show that Dutch young people are less knowledgeable about citizenship than their peers in other European countries. Compared to ten years ago, more young people today say they find politics too complex to understand.

Debate education has a role to play here. Debate is the lifeblood of our democracy. Learning to listen to one another, posing critical questions and respecting opinions that differ from one’s own are skills that young people learn in practice through debating. Debate as a citizenship programme improves young people’s linguistic and cognitive skills. It enables us to develop the competencies necessary to function in a democracy. With this aim, the Netherlands Debate Institute Foundation has for twenty years been developing enjoyable debating activities for children and young people that give them the confidence to speak more convincingly, help them to listen more carefully and inspire an enduring curiosity about other people’s ideas and opinions. The topics for the debates are current social issues.

credits: Wineke Onstwedder

The Netherlands Debate Institute Foundation works to achieve its mission through four different types of activities in primary education, secondary education and secondary vocational education. By giving debate training to classes at their own school, providing in-service training for teachers, developing free lesson materials and organising national debating competitions, the Foundation reaches thousands of children and young people each year. Through debate education, the organisation helps young people to develop the linguistic and cognitive skills they need to be good citizens.

Adessium Foundation supports the debating in school project in order to contribute to the social and individual development of children and young people throughout the Netherlands.

About this partner

For twenty years the Netherlands Debate Institute Foundation has been helping teachers with enjoyable debating activities that ensure pupils develop enduring curiosity, gain the confidence to speak more convincingly and learn to listen more carefully.
We do this by providing in-service training for teachers, giving debate training to classes, developing lesson materials and organising national debating championships.

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