History Teaching

History at the Council of Europe

"History and the learning of history in Europe" - Recommendation 1283 (1996) of the Parliamentary Assembly

In 1996, to encourage the teaching of history in Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly addressed the following proposals to the Committee of Ministers:

"historical awareness should be an essential part of the education of all young people. The teaching of history should enable pupils to acquire critical thinking skills to analyse and interpret information effectively and responsibly, to recognise the complexity of issues and to appreciate cultural diversity. Stereotypes should be identified and any other distortions based on national, racial, religious or other prejudice;

the subject matter of history teaching should be very open. It should include all aspects of societies (social and cultural history as well as political). The role of women should be given proper recognition. Local and national (but not nationalist) history should be taught as well as the history of minorities. Controversial, sensitive and tragic events should be balanced by positive mutual influences;

the history of the whole of Europe, that of the main political and economic events, and the philosophical and cultural movements which have formed the European identity must be included in syllabuses;

the different forms of history learning (textbook study, television, project work, museum visits, etc.) should be combined, without exclusive preference to any of them. New information technologies should be fully integrated. Proper educational (and academic) standards must be ensured for the material used;

greater interaction should be fostered between school and out-of-school influences on young people's appreciation of history, for example by museums (and in particular history museums), cultural routes and tourism in general;

innovatory approaches should be encouraged, as well as continued in-service training, especially with regard to new technologies. An interactive network of history teachers should be encouraged. History should be a priority subject for European teachers' courses organised within the framework of the Council for Cultural Co-operation in-service training programme for teachers;

a code of practice for history teaching should be drawn up in collaboration with history teachers, as well as a European charter to protect them from political manipulation".

These proposals lay the basis for the new project on "Learning and teaching the history of Europe in the 20th century".

Mention was also made that government should give support to two long-term partners: the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research and Euroclio.

Recommendation 1283 (1996) - Download the document