History Teaching

History at the Council of Europe

Trends, Common Issues and Priorities for Pan-European Co-operation - Standing Conference of European Ministers of Education 1997

Similar statements to recommendation 1283 (1996) were made at the Standing Conference of European Ministers of Education in Kristiansand when discussing “Education 2000: Trends, Common Issues and Priorities for Pan-European Co-operation".

The Ministers expressed their strong conviction that:

"[h]istory teaching in schools can, and should, make an important contribution to education in general and, in particular, to education for democratic citizenship by allowing young people to:

  • learn about their historical heritage as well as that of other peoples and nations;
  • acquire and practise such key skills as the ability to think for themselves, the ability to handle and analyse critically different forms of information, and the ability not to be swayed by biased information and irrational arguments;
  • develop such basic attitudes as intellectual honesty and rigour, independent judgement, open-mindedness, curiosity, civil courage, and tolerance.

[and that h]istory teaching in schools should respect the historian's quest for truth and should not be misused to promote feelings of national, regional or ethnic antagonism".

They also highlighted the following issues:

  • the European dimension and the necessary review of curricula to ensure that they reflect the richness and diversity of the history of Europe;
  • life-long learning and that the learning of history not be limited to schools
  • using a variety of sources and ICT in particular

They also recalled the priority they attached to the upcoming Project "Learning and Teaching about the History of Europe in the 20th Century in Secondary Schools" for achieving the Council of Europe's broad objectives of:

    - the promotion of active, responsible and democratic citizenship;
    - the fostering of mutual understanding, European cultural diversity and mutual respect within multicultural societies;
    - the development of the debate on educational policies as a factor of social cohesion and democratic security

- Resolution 1 on Completed projects
- Resolution 2 on Fundamental values, aims and the future role of educational cooperation
- Message to the Committee of Ministers of the CoE