Education - ArchiveEducation - Archive

2010

In its Plenary in Haguenau/Strasbourg on 28 May – 1 June 2010, CSC adopted an Education Strategy. Education was also accepted as one of the CSC priorities for the year 2011. The two main areas of work in the Strategy are:1. Monitoring of the implementation of the EU education strategy (“ET 2020”) on European and national level. 2. Clarifying the contribution of CEC member churches in education for democratic citizenship.

A working group will be established to implement the strategy and further reflect the field of education.

Background paper to the CSC Education Strategy - May 2010

2009

Commission of the European Communities
Green Paper - on: Promoting the learning mobility of young people - 8 July 2009 

Joint answer by CSC, EYCE, WSCF-E and AGDF on the Greenpaper consultation “Promoting the learning mobility of young people” (COM(2009)329final), Commission of the European Communities

2008

On 15 December 2008, CSC - together with the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) and the European Commission - organised a Dialogue Seminar in Brussels on “Quality Education in an Intercultural Environment”. The Intereuropean Commission on Church and School (ICCS), an associated organisation of CEC, and the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) made a pivotal contribution to the contents of the seminar.

The seminar, which brought together experts on education and migration from churches and church-related organisations, EU institutions and the academic world, examined opportunities and challenges of cultural diversity for educational systems in Europe. The seminar contributed to the (then) ongoing public consultation on the European Commission “Green Paper on migration and mobility: challenges and opportunities for EU education systems” issued on 3 July 2008.

Seminar conclusions by Peter Schreiner, President of ICCS

Presentation of Professor Dr Ramón Flecha, University of Barcelona

Links

Website of ICCS:
www.iccsweb.org

European Commission website on education and training:
ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/doc28_en.htm

Council of Europe website on education
http://www.coe.int/T/E/Cultural_Co-operation/education/

Democratic CitizenshipDemocratic Citizenship


Citizenship and participation

“I see citizenship as a counterweight to what led to the present crisis, i.e. profit-led values in particular” declared Ms Snezana Markovic during a recent meeting with Rüdiger Noll (CSC Director), Elizabeta Kitanovic and Richard Fischer (Executive Secretaries). Ms Markovic is Director General of Democracy (DGII) at the Council of Europe (CoE). Since the not quite completed reform of the CoE, DGII is one of the two main directorates of the CoE. An important part deals with Democratic Citizenship and Participation. For Ms Markovic, participation is both a core value and an aim, and Education for Democratic Citizenship a crucial part of it, all the more in the context of decreasing participation in elections and growing atmosphere and expression of xenophobia and extremism. Participation is also seen by the churches in Europe as a fundamental value and their common responsibility, according to the joined Charta Ecumenica – Guidelines for the Growing Cooperation among the Churches in Europe: “On the basis of our common faith, we work towards a humane, socially conscious Europe, in which human rights and the basic values of peace, justice, freedom, tolerance, participation and solidarity prevail” (III,7). Ms Markovic believed churches can do a lot to prevent and overcome violence and engage with youth and for more social cohesion. She thought CSC is doing right in encouraging churches to extend their identity to enter into dialogue with others.

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Rethinking Education Strategy

In November 2012 the European Commission presented a new document entitled “Rethinking Education strategy”. Why? Two reasons were mentioned: high youth unemployability and cuts in the education budgets of member states.

The strategy emphasizes the need for the skills and competences required by the labour market to boost growth and jobs in Europe. “Education systems need to modernize and be more flexible in how they operate to respond to the real needs of today’s society” (Commissioner Vassiliou). From the perspective of church-based education we should consider what are the “real needs of today’s society”, giving particular attention to the questions of how to create more justice in education and how to help those who cannot compete effectively in the market. Innovation and entrepreneurship sound good as general aims of education but we should not forget the need for the social competences needed in order to facilitate living together. Another interesting aspect is the value given to the development of “Open Education Resources” (OER) as a tool to provide education for those who are disadvantaged. Find out more under "Rethinking Education Strategy".

By Peter Schreiner

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EDC in Danish Schools

One of the qualities that seem to surprise educationalists most when visiting Danish schools is the ease with which pupils and teachers get on with one another. There is an open and direct communication, no ‘Miss’ or ‘Sir’. Usually first names are used in both directions. Each side is taken seriously by the other. This does not mean that there is no respect for the teacher, but s/he must show that respect is reciprocal. This aspect often seems to cause problems for immigrants. How can you respect a teacher when using a first name??? They may also find the gender of the teacher difficult to respect.

This lack of ceremony and institutional status often leads to a critical yet constructive dialogue which sharpens the mind of the pupil and improves the efficiency of learning. Opinions are welcome when supported by sensible or sound argumentation; and it is even better when you can gather a group around you that can share the position and the arguments.

Democracy is taken right into the classroom. Even 1st year pupils elect a representative to the school council, which in turn elects a pupil to the school board, where his or her opinion is listened to with as much attention as the opinion of a parent or another board member.

At school from age 6 to 18, all students grow up to see the value of ideas and opinions, the value of finding compromises and the value of listening to and understanding other points of view.

So ‘education for democratic citizenship’ starts very early on at school and preferably even at home before that.

By Hanna Broadbridge

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Planned publication on Education for Democratic Citizenship (EDC)

Education for Democratic Citizenship has become one of the main issues of the Working Group on “Education” of the Church and Society Commission of CEC. A conference was held in October 2011 in Strasbourg to consider the role of the churches in this area. Various proposals were made for promoting action by member churches of CEC and also for activities on the European level.

As a further resource, a publication is planned for spring 2013 in close collaboration with the Intereuropean Commission on Church and School (ICCS) and the International Association of Christian Education IV. The planned title is: “Education for Democratic Citizenship in the Context of Europe. Material and Resources for Churches and Educators”. The publication will contain short summaries and introductions to activities of the Council of Europe and the European Union in this field as well as information about selected national initiatives. A collection of key documents will be included, together with a glossary and a commented list of publications and references.

The publication will soon be available.

By Peter Schreiner

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2013 European Year of Citizens and education for democratic citizenship

For the Council of Europe (CoE), democratic citizenship is not confined to the legal status of “citizen” or the rights derived from it, e.g. right to vote on national or European Union level, and freedom of movement. Instead, it embraces every aspect of life in a democratic society, emphasizing the importance of active participation for the proper functioning of societies founded on respect for human rights and the rule of law. Democratic citizenship is a skill acquired through education, for young and adults, at school or through vocational training, or in connection with activities of civil society groups and churches. The CoE deploys strategies to promote democratic citizenship in the context of lifelong learning. By helping everyone to exercise their rights but also their responsibilities, education for democratic citizenship is a mechanism guarding against the rise of violence, racism and extremism, as well as furthering social cohesion and social justice (based on the 2013 CoE diary – statement by Thorbjorn Jagland, General Secretary).

By Richard Fischer

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Citizenship must be learnt – in freedom and with responsibility, with respect and honesty.

It relies on, as well as builds on, trust and confidence between the powers that be and the individuals who live in the community or society.

All in the society must feel that their contribution, practical, financial, social etc. is valued and respected.

For that to happen, all citizens must accept that their part of the deal is to be involved in debate, in public activities and in elections. Everybody also needs to accept fundamental democratic principles such as freedom of thought, freedom of speech, votes for all and also that the majority carries the day, and that sensible compromises need to be reached.

For all that to happen, knowledge and information must be available. This can come through the printed media, the electronic media or the social media, as long as these media are honest and truthful.

Everybody is involved here: homes, churches, schools, clubs and all must shoulder this responsibility.

By Hanna Broadbridge