“Utopia lies at the horizon.
When I draw nearer by two steps, it retreats two steps.
If I proceed ten steps forward, it swiftly slips ten steps ahead.
No matter how far I go, I can never reach it.
What, then, is the purpose of utopia?
It is to cause us to advance.” 1
The practice of creating a document titled “Educational Proposal” has been spreading among NSOs since the 1980s and allows NSOs to state clearly the goals towards which they will advance.
Your NSO’s Educational Proposal should express the set of ideas and fundamental definitions that constitutes its purpose and identity, specifying its educational intention and the ways this intention will be carried out.
The Educational Proposal is an explicit and concise document that provides internal and external guidance on what your NSO offers to young people in the society in which it operates. It enables you to explain to a given community how your NSO meets the educational needs of young people, in accordance with the mission, purpose, principles, and methods of the Movement.
The Educational Proposal should…
- …clearly define the purpose around which your NSO’s Youth Programme will be built, giving meaning, identity, and integrity to your NSO’s proposal. The elaboration or revision of the Educational Proposal is the first step in the process of designing or reviewing your NSO’s Youth Programme.
- …establish an overarching framework of reference to guide the educational decision-making within the scope of your NSO. This also impacts the generation of the adult management model and institutional management.
- …call on the responsible adults to commit themselves to the Educational Proposal and to cooperate with the achievement of the institutional objectives.
- …visualise and anticipate a desired situation, proposing explicit objectives to be achieved.
- …establish an ideal point of reference that can guide the definition of the objectives of the educational process.
- …pursue the improvement of the quality of the Educational Proposal, offering a frame of reference for continuously reviewing the Youth Programme resulting in fewer complete overhauls.
- …present the Scout Movement and the educational purpose of your NSO to the community in general and to other stakeholders, expressing how your NSO is responding to the demands and needs of the youth and the community it serves, according to the mission, purpose, principles, and method of Scouting.
The document has three fundamental characteristics:
- Summary – The Educational Proposal document is a synthesis of the fundamental ideas that give identity and meaning to the Educational Proposal of the Scout Movement and your NSO.
- Clarity – It must be written in clear and concise language, accessible to as many people as possible.
- Unity – Being an organisation that diverse people voluntarily join, it is essential to have a clear definition of the common purpose accepted by all. Think of the Educational Proposal as a broad umbrella, under which people – despite having different political, spiritual, cultural, and philosophical orientations – coexist in the same NSO, adhering to a set of essential definitions that give them meaning, identification, and a sense of belonging to the organisation.
Mission of Scouting
In July 1999, the 35th World Scout Conference (Durban, South Africa) adopted a mission statement for Scouting. The statement, which is based on WOSM’s Constitution, is intended to reaffirm Scouting’s role in today’s world. The adoption of the statement was a key step forward in WOSM’s work on the development of a Strategy for Scouting.
“The mission of Scouting is to contribute to the education of young people, through a value system based on the Scout promise and Law, to help build a better world where people are self-fulfilled as individuals and play a constructive role in society.
This is achieved by:
- Involving them throughout their formative years in a non-formal education process.
- Using a specific method that makes each individual the principal agent in their development as a self-reliant, supportive, responsible, and committed person.
- Assisting them to establish a value system based on spiritual, social and personal principles as expressed in the Scout Promise and Law.”2
The drafting of the Educational Proposal must be a reflective, critical, participatory process that promotes unity within your NSO on the fundamental aspects of the proposal.
- Reflective and critical: The Educational Proposal is the product of a process of collective reflection and analysis of the reality inside and outside your NSO, about the needs of young people, the demands of society, and the answers we propose to give relevant to the Movement.
- Participatory: The Educational Proposal arises from a process of active participation of the majority of the members of the educational community. This participation is aimed at a search for consensus on essential aspects. It is about achieving a set of agreements about the NSO you have, and the NSO that you want to have.
The Educational Proposal must never be imposed on an NSO by individuals, sectors, or particular groups inside or outside the organisation.
The Scout Movement seeks to achieve its purpose of contributing to the full development of the potential of young people on the basis of certain ideals or values and in accordance with a clearly defined educational method, i.e., the Scout Method. The Scout Movement, therefore, offers a specific Educational Proposal.
“The purpose of the Scout Movement is to contribute to the development of young people in achieving their full physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual potential as individuals, as responsible citizens, and as members of their local, national, and international communities.” 3
This Educational Proposal is not an empty framework that everyone can fill out with whatever they like depending on their own beliefs and desires. The Proposal cannot be partially accepted or partially rejected and, once accepted, becomes binding. Naturally, it evolves over time, but not at the whim of any individual member of the Movement.
It is not the aim of the Educational Proposal to make the young person conform to a pre-established ideal model. Scouting invites each young person to do their best to develop to the full, all the areas of their personality.
Although there is no single model of an Educational Proposal document, there is some content that should be considered at the time of its production or revision: have young people at the centre, reflect a commitment to coeducation, be open to all, etc.
As referred to in WOSM’s Position Paper on Diversity and Inclusion:4
“[…]renewing the National Youth Programme so that they become inclusive by design and not by adaptation.”
Much of this content is already defined in documents such as the Constitution of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, the Essential Characteristics of Scouting, or in world and regional policies. Other content comes from the educational ideology of the founder and from the interpretation and adaptation that each NSO makes of all those conceptual documents.
Other items to consider will arise from the process of reflection and critical analysis carried out by your NSO.
Your NSO should consider answering the following questions in your Educational Proposal using language appropriate to your culture and society:
|Who are we?||
The definition of Scouting in general and of our NSO in particular.
The principles that guide us.
The value system of the Movement.
What do we intend?
What is our vision?
What are our values?
What does it mean to build a better world in our country today?
The Purpose of Scouting.
The Mission of the Scout Movement.
Educate and education from the conception of Scouting.
|Which needs and demands of society and young people do we answer?||
Challenges faced by young people in our country today and opportunities for development.
Expectations of the community and challenges to which we propose answers from our Educational Proposal.
|What is our Educational Proposal?||
The Scout Method as a means to achieve the purpose.
The characteristics of our Youth Programme.
What educational competencies do we propose for young people?
What is the ideal person we aspire to develop through the educational process?
The goals of our Educational Proposal.
The profile of a supportive, responsible, autonomous, and committed person.
What characterises the adults we need?
What behaviours and attributes do adults need?
|The adult educator.|
|What kind of NSO do we need to fulfil our Mission?||Essential characteristics of an NSO in the service of the Mission.|
Discussing the findings
After this analysis has been completed, you will have a list of the conclusions, needs, expectations, and aspirations related to the main challenges. This will form the basis for drafting the Educational Proposal.
Some conclusions may concern the needs and aspirations of young people; others may concern the expectations of the various partners. It is then necessary to find out whether your NSO is able to meet each of these needs or expectations in some way or another.
The list can be used to stimulate debate at all levels of your NSO. Members should discuss the list of needs and expectations and identify whether Scouting’s current response is adequate or if it could be improved.
A set of 10 additional tools is available to guide your NSO through the several steps identified to develop an Educational Proposal.