4 May 2007
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to thank the
Turkish authorities for organising this Conference
which builds directly on the results of the previous meeting of the European Ministers
Athens in 2005. Indeed, we could not select a
more appropriate environment to discuss issues related to intercultural
Istanbul is a city at the crossroads of cultures, a bridge between two
continents - a European metropolis with an oriental flair.
22nd Session of the Standing Conference of European Ministers of Education
Istanbul is an
opportunity for discussion and debate about a type of education that respects
children’s rights and multiculturalism and is geared towards lifelong learning.
The results should provide a basis for establishing new education policies and
practices with a view to building a
there is a real democratic culture and greater respect for every single individual and
the community as a whole.
Europe for and with children” is a direct follow-up
to the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe
which took place in
Warsaw in May 2005. Moreover, Chapter III of the Action Plan adopted at the
Summit set the objective for a more humane and inclusive Europe, which is also
the title of this Conference.
The aim of the programme
“Building Europe for and with Children” is to help to design and to implement
national strategies for the protection of children’s rights and the prevention of
violence against children. Whenever appropriate, the activities of the programme are carried out with the meaningful participation
comprises two closely linked strands: the promotion of children’s rights and
the action programme “Children and violence”.
I believe that the objectives of the Programme are fully in line with the ambition to create a
more humane and inclusive Europe. It is clear that education has a vital role
in this respect.
humane and inclusive
Europe is a
is based on values of democracy and human rights. The respect for these values
can never be taken for granted. It is the result of a learning process starting
from early childhood in which the family, the social environment and of course,
formal and non formal education have a crucial role to play.
is also instrumental in transmitting a sense of rights and responsibilities.
The only way to educate for democracy is to educate democratically. If the link
is established, a virtuous circle can be drawn facilitating better and broader
access to education and from there, to a wider respect for human rights.
to quality education for all, increases the equality of chances in a socially
and culturally diverse
belonging to a minority group, children in institutions or in care, children
with disabilities and child victims of social exclusion or extreme poverty may
have specific needs, but they have equal rights and should have equal chances.
therefore have to ensure educational integration and participation of all
children, including those with special and multiple needs, with the support of
specialised staff and specially designed educational instruments and
procedures, and taking into account the diversity that is found in the
welcome your decision to devote part of your work in this Ministerial Conference
to the very important issue of education on children’s rights. We must educate
for the protection of their rights and through the protection of their rights.
This calls for:
the inclusion of children’s rights in the school curricula at all educational
examination of and feedback on the ways in which children’s rights are taken
into account, are exercised and respected throughout formal and informal
education in curricula in all educational materials and procedures. Teachers and
other educational staff should be regularly trained, guided and advised in this
Third, measures to
safeguard democracy in schools and promote constant dialogue inside the
classrooms and with the school administration and the enlarged school
measures to ensure gender mainstreaming as well as the implementation of
equality and non-discrimination principles in the whole educational system,
taking special measures to tackle discrimination against child immigrants,
refugees or members of minorities.
measures to prevent and tackle violence at schools and bullying with particular
stress on information, communication, facilitation and counselling, involving
specialised professionals and children as mediators.
measures to provide support and assistance to teachers helping to handle cases
of children victimised or neglected at home.
measures to link schools with local social and health services and promote the
appropriate referrals, so that adequate support is provided to all pupils that
are in need of it.
measures to enhance co-operation between schools, public services and non
governmental organisations which work for the protection of children’s rights.
finally, measures to integrate children who, for various reasons, do not participate
in formal education.
The Council of Europe is already producing
child friendly and pedagogical material on children’s rights. We are also
working on a teachers’ training methodology to prevent violence in schools. Material on democratic school governance, on quality assurance, on
intercultural education, including its religious dimension have also
been produced. These resources would greatly benefit from your political
support and could help teachers and students in the classrooms throughout your
Ladies and Gentlemen,
School is a powerful tool
against social inequality. Through partnerships with parents, industry and
civil society, we can
vicious circle of social exclusion.
This Conference is an
opportunity to make progress, by focusing on specific policy measures aimed at:
difference and quality learning for all young people,
democratic governance of schools and full consideration of children’s rights in
every aspect of school organisation;
partnerships between schools and key stakeholders in society at large;
that children who never go to school, or who drop out for some reason are not
lost, and finally;
ensuring that teachers and school leaders are supported in their
challenging roles in educating our young European citizens.
Council of Europe’s education policies are vital tools in defending and
promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
approach is based on our commitment to provide high-quality education to all.
This includes teaching about active and democratic citizenship and
intercultural skills, including language skills, needed to live in harmony with
quality education to all makes better sense if a lifelong perspective is added
to it. Education and learning cannot stop at a certain moment of time. Building
knowledge, skills and values are processes, they have no real end. You learn
diversity, but you also have to live diversity. Livelong learning is a key to
an active citizenship and an essential tool to build and consolidate a more
humane and inclusive
rights in an educational perspective”, “Inclusive education
policies for social cohesion in a multicultural
“Lifelong learning for social inclusion” lay out the three main fields of
action, which coincide with the work on education under way at the Council of
The Third Summit of the Council
of Europe Heads of State and Government has given us an important and ambitious
mandate. I believe that this Conference will provide a good opportunity to
make progress. Education is the key – because a humane and inclusive Europe
starts with a humane and inclusive school.