Introduction of universal compulsory “citizen programme” proposed by cdH
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    Introduction of universal compulsory “citizen programme” proposed by cdH

    © Belga
    The programme's emphasis is on the provision of life skills.
    © Belga

    The leader of the Humanist Democratic Centre party (cdH), Benoit Lutgen, has suggested today (Friday) that a compulsory “citizen programme” should be put in place for youngsters aged 18 to 35 years. This should be completed within the voluntary sector for a duration of 100 days.
    He said, “This initiative aims to respond to major issues which include teaching fundamental values and strengthening citizenship.”

    The President of the Humanist Democratic Centre party says this course may be completed in one hit or spread over several months. It should, however, be undertaken during a maximum period of three years, within recognised organisations (third sector bodies, associations, youth movements, sports clubs, and other similar bodies) or within other sectors such as social intervention, health, lifelong learning and other spheres. Activities abroad and North-South exchanges within Belgium will also be possible. Lutgen stated this in a press release.

    Mr Lutgen states that recognized and integrated within the framework of the “citizen programme” will be activities for youngsters who are already giving of their time as leaders of youth movements, companions for the handicapped and sports educators. He goes further suggesting facilitators in the cultural sector or those active in the protection of nature and biodiversity and other similar activities would also be recognised and integrated by the programme.

    The cdH President confirms, “The compulsory character is necessary to meet the objectives of social interaction and universal learning of fundamental values and citizenship, on an all-inclusive basis.” He says that there will be no remuneration for such activities, although “youngsters transport costs will be borne by local authorities.”

    The cdH believes that this citizenship course should be implemented by a federal law, addressed as it is to all youngsters. Mr Lutgen, moreover, stresses that “it will not cost the third sector a penny and will be funded commensurate with the totals necessary for the state.” The voluntary sector will be involved in the development of both this programme and its methods.

    Lars Andersen
    The Brussels Times