Education

Standing Conference of European Ministers of Education
 

16th session - Istanbul, Turkey, 11-12 October 1989

Resolution on the information society: a challenge for education policies? (N1)

Resolution on European co-operation on education (N2)

Resolution on the information society: a challenge for education policies? (N1)  

(adopted during the Sixteenth Session of the Standing Conference of  Ministers of Education of the Council of Europe, Istanbul, 11-12 October 1989)

The European Ministers of Education, meeting for the Sixteenth Session of their Standing Conference,

RECOGNISING that Europe is fast becoming an "information society" characterised by:

- the rapid development of new information and communication technologies (NICT) and their application in every area of social, political, economic and cultural life;

- continuing growth in the quantity of information in written, sound and image form;

- the increasingly intensive circulation and exchange of this information, from global to local levels;

- the employment of an increasing proportion of the workforce in creating, processing and transmitting information;

- the heavy dependence of the world's economies on the new information technologies, on information, and on knowledge, i.e. information which has been assimilated and processed through reasoned judgement;

- change in such cultural aspects as language, forms of communication and expression, and ideas about what constitutes knowledge;

DETERMINED that education should fully prepare young people to meet the challenges inherent in this emerging information society and to play their essential democratic role in helping to shape it;

CONCERNED in particular to help all members of society to have better access, through education, to the knowledge and skills they need in order to participate in the information society, and so overcome the effects of differences due to poverty, class, physical disability, age, gender, national, cultural or ethnic background or geography;

CONVINCED of the continuing great importance of the historic role of education in building active independence of judgement and humane values in an age when more and more knowledge, cultural experience, information and values are derived from sources outside education, particularly from the mass media;

- when open sky television will provide access to an increased quantity of information and entertainment in a wide variety of languages, and

- in order to counteract any tendency for control to be exercised-by information providers over information receivers;

MINDFUL that, in view of the important implications of the information society for the content of education, it will no longer be possible or desirable to transmit encyclopaedic knowledge and that the emphasis will shift to the ability to select information, think critically, solve problems, work in teams, ,form judgements, communicate and constantly re-assess knowledge and skills in the light of changing needs, particularly at a time when maximising employment opportunities will depend on readiness to make changes of occupation throughout working life;

AWARE of the vast opportunities offered by the new information technologies and the media for opening up education to the outside world and for improving the effectiveness of the teaching and learning process at all levels and in all types of education;

CONSCIOUS that the NICT should serve as instruments for the full realisation of the human being;

NOTING Recommendation 1110 (1989) on distance teaching adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe;

ADOPT the following statement:

1. European education systems should be encouraged to exploit the full educational potential of the new information technologies and the media, particularly insofar as they can:

1.1 enrich the study of subjects and facilitate the acquisition of cognitive skills;

1.2 encourage a better balance between the teacher-centred model and a more active learner-centred approach leading to intellectual autonomy;

1.3 help teach pupils of differing levels of ability, interests and backgrounds in the same classroom;

1.4 help disabled pupils to gain access to the normal curriculum;

1.5 provide access to new kinds of information beyond the confines of the school and make its presentation more vivid and memorable;

1.6 bring schools together in Europe and across the world;

1.7 develop open and distance learning for up-dating vocational knowledge and skills, as well as giving a "second chance" to those lacking in qualifications, and personal cultural enrichment.

2. The new information technologies and the media should also be studied in their own right. Thus, pupils should be familiar with their applications, strengths and limitations. and should be taught to understand and to handle the technologies involved. providing the basis for later specialisation if necessary, based on detailed and reasoned knowledge of these technologies. They should be brought to understand the social, political, economic, cultural, artistic and moral implications of the innovations that are shaping society, and should be able as responsible citizens to make up their own minds about them.

3. Study and use of the new information technologies and the media and the development of knowledge and skills relating to them can be of benefit at all levels and in all types of education. As far as possible, they should be incorporated into the compulsory school curriculum in all subjects as appropriate to the level concerned, and not only introduced in the form of a new subject or subjects. More specialised courses should be added to meet the needs of certain branches of vocational training and of general education at upper secondary level.

4. Study of particular technical and vocational fields must obviously take account of the relevant applications of the new information and communication technologies. However, general knowledge and skills necessary for democratic citizenship and valued by employers such as independent judgement, adaptability, information handling, communication, decision-making, problem-solving and team-work should be strengthened. Teachers should be helped to keep in close contact with the world of commerce and industry as well as with other aspects of culture and society.

5. Education in the new technologies and the media should play an empowering and liberating role, helping to prepare pupils for democratic citizenship and political awareness. Thus pupils should be given an understanding of the structures, mechanisms and messages of the mass media. In particular, pupils should develop the independent capacity to apply critical judgement to media content. One means to this end, and an objective in its own right, should be to encourage creative expression and the construction of pupils' own media messages, so that they are equipped to take advantage of opportunities for the expression of particular interests in the context of participation at local level. Given the major role that media such as television, cinema, radio. and the press play in children's cultural experience, media education should begin as early as possible and continue throughout compulsory schooling. Nor should the role of parents in media education be overlooked. Further research is necessary to establish what media knowledge children bring to school, and the ways in which their media understanding, knowledge and skills may be developed by media education.

However, to ensure the value of this education, reflection on the ethics of communication and information is required. Educators must play a role in this questioning. For it is not only a question of adapting school to the world of the NICT but also of getting the world of the media to listen to the questions posed by educators about respect of men, women and young people in the broadcasting of information.

6. Every effort should be made to ensure that the introduction and generalisation of new information and communication technologies in education includes action to promote the development of high-quality educational software and audio-visual material as well as the initial and in-service training of all teachers. Teachers need to acquire the knowledge and skills expected of their pupils and the requisite pedagogical skills. They also need to understand the potential of the new information and communication technologies in helping them teach more effectively. Teacher training should help them to adapt from the role of information and knowledge transmitters to that of classroom managers and co-ordinators, able to apply a flexible range of teaching strategies appropriate to individual needs. Teacher training in this area should be closely tied to practice in the classroom. The shortage of teacher trainers in this area makes it imperative to give high priority to their training. The training of head-teachers is also urgent, given the crucial importance of their attitude in determining the success or failure of innovation. Their training should take account of the application of NICT to school management.

7. The results of policies for the introduction of new information and communication technologies in education should be constantly evaluated with a view to determining future policy options. Likewise, scientific research is needed on the effects of these technologies and the media in education.

8. To reduce the social and economic imbalances between European countries, 

the products and experience of the countries which have gone furthest in applying the new information and communication technologies to education, and in teaching about them, should benefit the others without diverting them, from their own aims and purposes or threatening their cultural identity. In this regard, co-operation on the transfer of educational technology and expertise through the appropriate organisations and institutions should be strengthened.

9. International co-operation on the exchange and subsidisation of educational software and audio-visual material should likewise be strengthened.

10. Every effort should be made to ensure that European broadcasters, both public service and commercial, are encouraged to produce a higher proportion of educational programmes and programmes for young people, and that European satellite channels are specifically earmarked for educational use.

RECOMMEND that the Council of Europe should consider the feasibility of:

1. developing guidelines for education in media and new information and communication technologies;

2. encouraging the development and sharing of research findings on learning objectives, pedagogy and progression in education using the new information and communication technologies and in media education;

3. promoting the training of teachers and teacher trainers in new information and communication technologies and in media education;

4. encouraging the establishment of electronic links between schools, in cooperation with national centres set up to support and monitor the development of such links;

5. organising the exchange of information on:

(a) educational software and audiovisual material, possibly making use of the European Documentation and Information System for Education EUDISED);

(b) computerised data bases available to schools;

(c) initiatives to promote European open and distance learning.

URGE the Council of Europe, the European Community and the Nordic Council of Ministers to continue to give high priority to foreign language-learning in their work-programmes, so as to ensure that all European citizens can communicate effectively in foreign languages and derive full benefit from the increasing wealth of information and opportunities for contacts and exchanges.

EXPRESS to the Council of Europe their firm conviction that the present Resolution is to be seen as confirming the worth of the human person as the foremost concern of the educational process. Therefore, educational systems ought to develop an ethical, social and civic approach suitable to the preservation of cultural values and to the foundation of a true European awareness.

Resolution on European co-operation on education (N2)  

(adopted during the Sixteenth Session of the Standing Conference of  Ministers of Education of the Council of Europe, Istanbul, 11-12 October 1989)

The European Ministers of Education, meeting for the Sixteenth Session of their Standing Conference,

EXPRESS their warmest thanks to the Turkish authorities for their generous hospitality during the Sixteenth Session,

THANK Unesco, OECD, the Council of Europe, the Commission of the European Communities. the Nordic Council of Ministers and the European Free Trade Association for their reports on European Co-operation on education in 1987 and 1988 and Mrs Solrun JENSDOTTIR for her introduction to these reports;

URGE Unesco, OECD, the Council of Europe, the Commission of the European Communities, the Nordic Council of Ministers and the European Free Trade Association to strengthen further the dissemination and exchange of information about their work-programmes on education, if-possible through the joint development of appropriate methods allowing access to detailed information about their current activities;

ACCEPT with pleasure the invitation of the Austrian authorities to hold the Seventeenth Session of the Standing Conference in Vienna in 1991;

AGREE :that the theme of the Seventeenth Session should be the European Dimension of Education - Teaching and Curriculum Contents.