What is the “Mapping civic education in Europe”?

Mapping civic education in Europe is one of our key programmes. Together with partners, we are identifying the main actors of civic education in 21 countries in Europe, both in non-formal and informal civic education. We are learning what are the topics they work with, which groups of society are they focusing on, and whether and how they cooperate with others. Finally, we are analysing their needs to help inform the work of those supporting civil society in Europe.

What will the results be?

The data will be made available on an interactive map depicting relations between actors in countries, complemented by series of reports, both national and comparative, which will be published on the CIVICS web and the LSE Ideas Ratiu Forum Blog.

Who is doing the project?

The project is developed and implemented by THE CIVICS Innovation Hub with the support of the German Federal Agency for Civic Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung/bpb). The project is being implemented with the help of local partners in each of the mapped countries. Our local partners have a key role in the process. They not only support us to identify civic education actors in each of the 21 countries, but also offer invaluable insights into the local ecosystems of civic education. You can see all local partners on our website here.

THE CIVICS Innovation Hub is a pan-European non-profit organisation, founded in 2021. The mission is to strengthen the democratic competence, self-efficacy, and resilience of citizens across Europe in a bottom-up manner. THE CIVICS is empowering citizens & civic educators to deal with major challenges of our time, such as the geopolitical situation, threats to democracy, energy insecurity, causes and effects of climate change, political polarization and social divides.

How do we define “civic education”?

While conducting a mapping and network analysis of civic education stakeholders in 21 countries in Europe we apply a definition of civic education following the wording and recommendation of the Council of Europe.

Civic education equips citizens with the competences that enable them to actively participate in society. These civic competences are:

  • knowledge (i.e., concepts of democracy, institutions, identity, politics)
  • skills (i.e., communication, discussion culture, thinking critically, problem solving, (self-) reflection, awareness of bias and blind-spots)
  • democratic values (i.e., valuing human dignity and human rights, equality, transparency, cultural diversity)
  • attitudes (i.e., openness to otherness, trust, respect, tolerance, responsibility, self-efficacy).

How do we define “non-formal” and “informal” civic education?

In our mapping we encompass both non-formal and informal civic education. Whereas formal education covers activities prescribed by the curricula, in elementary, secondary, high-school and tertiary education, non-formal education refers to planned, structured programmes and processes of personal and social education primarily for young people designed to improve a range of skills and competences, outside the formal educational curriculum, while informal education refers to lifelong learning processes, whereby each individual acquires attitudes, values, skills and knowledge from educational influences and resources in his or her own environment and from daily experiences.

Where and when is it taking place?

The mapping is taking place in 21 European countries: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Croatia, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain.

During 2021 we finalized the mapping in five pilot countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Lithuania, Poland, and Slovenia, while in 2022 we have covered the remaining 16 countries. By March 2023 we plan to publish results and finalize the interactive map.

Will other countries be mapped in the future?

Yes, our plan is to continue with the mapping project in the future and encompass more than the initial 21 countries. For example, mapping in Moldova, Turkey and Ukraine was originally planned to take place in 2022, but has been postponed.

How does the mapping process look like?

The methodology of the mapping is separated in two stages. In the first stage, a list of initial contacts of civic education actors is collected by the local partners in each country. We approach them with a request to fill in an online questionnaire. While filling the questionnaire, respondents are asked to recommend further civic education actors they know and cooperate with. Afterwards, recommended contacts are approached with the request to fill in the questionnaire, this way expanding the outreach of the mapping through a snowballing method.
In the second stage, we send a shorter questionnaire to the civic education actors who have filled in the initial survey, this time indicating their relationship to other respondents. The second stage of the mapping identifies existing civic education networks in each of the mapped countries.
Our mapping is not a research project and does not strive to achieve a representative sample of countries.

Who is eligible to be mapped?

Variety of organizations together with individuals which actively implement activities in the field of civic education defined as above are eligible to be mapped. Our focus is set on non-governmental organizations, networks, foundations, experts in the profession and social media influencers on the topic.

Will the map be updated regularly?

Yes, we understand that the map depicts the situation in given time and we wish to update the map regularly. Thus, we plan to secure resources to be able to update the map on a yearly basis.

Why should I/my organization participate?

The results from the questionnaire will demonstrate the relationships in civil society, by giving visibility to you and others in the field. Our mapping will help inform not only the activities of the CIVICS, but also the work of large international and national civil society organizations, grant-making programs, networks, researchers and academia.

How can I/my organization participate?

As access to the questionnaire is personalized, if you are interested in participating in the mapping, please, get in touch with THE CIVICS team at