Standing Conference of European Ministers of Education
 
22nd session - ““Building a more humane and inclusive Europe: role of education policies” - Istanbul, Turkey, 4-5 May 2007

Final declaration 1
Resolution on the results and conclusions of completed projects 2003-2006 3
Resolution on the 2008-2010 programme of activities 7

Final declaration1 

We, the European Ministers of Education of the 49 states that have signed the European Cultural Convention (ETS No. 18), meeting in Istanbul on the occasion of the 22nd session of our standing conference, hereby adopt the present declaration:

1. Recalling the Wrocław Declaration (9-10 December 2004) on 50 Years of European Cultural Co-operation, in which we reaffirmed our determination to strengthen cultural co-operation in Europe, particularly in the education field;

2. Referring to the declaration of the 3rd Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe (Warsaw, 16-17 May 2005), and taking particular account of Section III of the Action Plan adopted at it, “Building a more humane and inclusive Europe”, to which this contribution will seek to respond;

3. Recalling our determination, already expressed at the 20th session of our conference, in Cracow (15-17 October 2000), to “nurture ... social cohesion in open pluralist societies where children's rights and human rights are respected and no person or group is excluded”;

4. Recalling the declaration of the 21st session of our conference, in Athens (10-12 November 2003), which recognised the social dimension of education policies and “the role of intercultural education and the major contribution of the Council of Europe in maintaining and developing the unity and diversity of our European societies”;

5. Conscious of the fact that the full enjoyment of the right to education is essential to sustainable, cohesive and democratic societies;

6. Stressing the key role of education in achieving social inclusion;

7. Wishing to promote education policies based on the Council of Europe's fundamental values and to mobilise all human resources to bring about a common vision for society;

8. Reaffirming that education is a public asset and a public responsibility, which safeguards the principle of equal opportunities and universal access to a high standard of instruction;

9. Expressing our wish that this declaration should be fully taken into account in the activities relating to the White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue, drawn up by the Council of Europe following the Faro Conference (27-28 October 2005),

10. Undertake to:

10.1. devise appropriate policies in order to put into practice the Action Plan of the 3rd Summit, “aimed at ensuring access to education for all young people across Europe, improving its quality”, ensuring that they are successful in their educational careers and promoting intercultural learning, education for democratic citizenship and human rights in a lifelong learning perspective;

10.2. implement measures in order to ensure access to quality education for all, within a society that is more humane and more just for all its members;

10.3. promote programmes for inclusive education together with other relevant players in order to promote the active involvement and civic commitment of all members of society and thus prevent educational disadvantage;

10.4. give particular consideration to children’s rights in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the relevant legal instruments of the Council of Europe in framing education policies;

10.5. address, through the education programme of the Council of Europe, the full range of purposes of education:

11. Invite the Committee of Ministers to acknowledge the crucial role that education plays in the pursuit of the aims and core values of the Council of Europe: human rights, democracy and the rule of law and to this end, maintain the necessary resources for ensuring the quality and effectiveness of its education programmes;

12. Invite the Committee of Ministers to instruct the Steering Committee for Education (CDED) to continue its work as set out in the appended resolutions and pay special attention to the following:

12.1. analysing and developing key competences for democratic culture and social cohesion, such as citizenship competence, intercultural competence, plurilingual competence, social commitment, a solidarity-based outlook and multiperspectivity;

12.2. developing concrete measures for inclusive education, in particular for the socially and culturally excluded;

12.3. stimulating reflection on the right to education, taking into account the provisions and implementation of existing legal instruments;

12.4. pursuing co-operation in this field with the European Union, by taking part in the practical action to be carried out in 2008 as part of European Year of Intercultural Dialogue;

12.5. further developing or strengthening co-operation in the education field with other sectors in the Council of Europe, in particular the Steering Committee on the Media and new Communication Services (CDMC), the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity, and with other institutions and organisations, both governmental and non-governmental, in particular the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organizaton (UNESCO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO);

12.6. contributing to the “Alliance of Civilisations” initiative, launched in 2005 by the Secretary General of the United Nations, in order to help implement the recommendations in the education field set out in Chapter VII of the report drafted by its High-Level Group (November 2006),

13. Invite the Committee of Ministers to instruct the Steering Committee for Higher Education and Research to:

13.1. work to imbue the European Higher Education Area with a holistic vision encompassing the key objectives of higher education and the values of the Council of Europe;

13.2. emphasise in this vision the values and functions of higher education in modern society as well as the ability of higher education and its graduates to address major issues, such as sustainability, democratic culture, social inclusion and intercultural dialogue;

13.3. explore further the role and responsibility of public authorities as well as of universities and of staff and students in making this vision of higher education a reality;

14. Take note with satisfaction of the Norwegian initiative to set up a resource centre on democratic citizenship and intercultural education, working in close liaison with the Education Directorate of the Council of Europe and contributing to its programme, particularly as concerns relevant teacher training activities;

15. Express their gratitude to the Turkish authorities for their hospitality on the occasion of the 22nd session of their standing conference;

16. Warmly thank Slovenia for its offer to organise their next session.

Resolution on the results and conclusions of completed projects 2003-20062 

The European Ministers of Education, meeting in Istanbul for their 22nd session:

1. Recalling that, at their 21st session, in Athens in 2003, they had decided to:

1.1, call on the Council of Europe to attach greater importance to education in general and, on the strength of its experience in this area, pursue the aspects of its work programme relating to, amongst others, educational policies, history teaching, language policies and education for democratic citizenship and human rights;

1.2, pursue its co-operation in the field of education for citizenship and democracy on the basis of the fundamental principles of the Organisation and to organise the “European Year of Citizenship through Education” (2005), which would make it possible to capitalise on and implement the achievements of the Council of Europe in the field of education for democracy;

1.3, focus its work programme on enhancing the quality of education as a response to the challenges posed by the diversity of our societies by making education for democracy and intercultural education key components of educational reform;

2. Having discussed, at the present session, the conclusions of the following projects:

– the European dimension in history teaching (2002-2006);

3. Note with satisfaction that at the 3rd Summit in Warsaw (2005) the central themes of the medium-term programme were included in the general lines of approach and priorities to be pursued by the Council of Europe which would “enhance all opportunities for the training of educators, in the fields of education for democratic citizenship, human rights, history and intercultural education”;

4. Consider that the three above-mentioned projects are excellent examples of multilateral co-operation, in that they concern all education systems, regardless of their specific national features, and congratulate the Council of Europe on completing them on schedule and meeting the objectives set;

5. Welcome the high-quality results obtained, which have made it possible to:

5.1, carry out a detailed analysis of the themes selected, and, in particular, to redefine the content and context of intercultural education;

5.2, draw up proposals and guidelines for educational policies that serve as a reference for member states in their educational reforms;

5.3, consolidate work on the content of learning methods in order to provide member states with examples of teaching tools, with due regard for respect for human rights and cultural and religious diversity;

5.4, introduce novel working methods meeting new requirements stemming from the greater diversity of situations within the Council of Europe;

6. Strongly recommend that the results and conclusions of these projects be widely disseminated by all appropriate means not only to government bodies but to all those involved in the education system;

7. Would like these results to be taken into account in future when national educational reforms are devised and implemented and as they evolve;

8. Note that the results obtained strengthen their conviction that the implementation of intergovernmental and pan-European projects of this kind are essential if requests for assistance and advice from countries or regions faced with particular challenges or difficulties are to be met;

In the field of education for democratic citizenship and human rights and in the context of the “European Year of Citizenship through Education” (2005):

9. Point out that education for democratic citizenship and human rights helps to foster an awareness of the values upheld by the Council of Europe – the principles of liberty, political pluralism, human rights and the rule of law – and to ensure that human rights instruments are effectively implemented by member states;

10. Note that education for democratic citizenship and human rights can help instil critical faculties and promote mutual understanding, intercultural dialogue, solidarity and social cohesion;

11. Consider that education for democratic citizenship and human rights is increasingly important as it provides a means of addressing certain problems in society, in particular political apathy, the disintegration of the social fabric, violence, the threat of terrorism, population movements within and between countries and risks to the environment;

12. Welcome the flexible, decentralised approach taken to the organisation of the “European Year of Citizenship through Education”, which contributed to its success, with the result that virtually all the member states took part;

13. Note that the second phase of the project (2001-2004) and the “European Year of Citizenship through Education” (2005) made it possible to:

13.1. provide an overall conceptual framework for the action of governments, education professionals and civil society and to test new projects and teaching approaches;

13.2. elicit a political commitment and drive to strengthen programmes in the area of education for democratic citizenship and human rights in member states and thus to translate policy into practice by ensuring such education has a more prominent place in member states;

13.3. prepare and disseminate documents providing a reference framework and practical tools for education for democratic citizenship and human rights and for ensuring the quality of such education, so as to enable policy makers in member states to devise their own policies and tools in this field;

13.4. develop a whole range of initiatives and partnerships, both within the Council of Europe and between the Council of Europe and other organisations or institutions;

13.5. establish priorities and future lines of approach in the field of education for democratic citizenship and human rights;

14. Undertake to take account of the results of the project and to develop their policies and practices in this area and put them on a long-term footing;

15. Recommend that the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee for Education step up its work on education for democratic citizenship and human rights in order to make it an ongoing project of the Organisation;

In the field of history teaching:

16. Reaffirm that the teaching of history, a matter of constant concern to the Council of Europe since it was set up, is central to the promotion of democratic citizenship, as highlighted in particular by Committee of Ministers Recommendation Rec(2001)15 on history teaching in 21st-century Europe;

17. Observe that the objective of this work is not to replace national approaches, but to enhance them by strengthening the European dimension of history teaching through an educational approach that encompasses multiple outlooks, in order to contribute to intercultural dialogue, social cohesion, tolerance and mutual respect;

18. Note that the project “The European dimension in history teaching” (2002-2006) made it possible to:

18.1. determine what a European approach and dimension might signify in the light of an analysis of certain key moments in recent European history;

18.2. highlight practical methods that can be used by teachers in the classroom in order to help instil a spirit of tolerance of different viewpoints, foster respect for others and inculcate independent critical faculties among the future citizens of democratic societies;

18.3. prepare three educational aids for teachers: the book Crossroads of European histories – multiple outlooks on five key moments in the history of Europe, the CD-ROM “Turning points? Critical moments in recent European history” and the accompanying teachers’ manual;

18.4. bring together eminent historians from Council of Europe member states at five conferences to discuss turning points in recent history, under the themes: “1848 in European history”, “the Balkan wars of 1912-13”, “ the search for peace in 1919”, “the end of the Second World War and the beginning of the Cold War in 1945” and “the events and developments of 1989-90 in central and eastern Europe”, making it possible to publish the book Crossroads of European histories – multiple outlooks on five key moments in the history of Europe”;

18.5. combine new information technology with educational innovations in order to prepare the CD-ROM “Turning points? Critical moments in recent European history”, to which historians from numerous Council of Europe member states contributed;

18.6. contribute to the principles and methods of the new approach to initial and in-service training for history teachers;

19. Undertake to take account of the results and findings of the project in their national education policies;

20. Welcome the fact that work on this project and the products that came out of it have already contributed to activities designed to provide assistance with the reform of history teaching and school textbooks in certain countries or regions of Europe;

21. Recommend that the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee for Education encourage the dissemination of the results of the project through the appropriate use of information and communication technology and, in particular, by systematically organising national and/or regional seminars for teachers over the next two years;

In the field of intercultural education, religious diversity and dialogue in Europe:

22. Reaffirm the importance of measures to promote a better understanding between cultural and/or religious communities through school education, on the basis of shared principles of ethics and democratic citizenship;

23. Note that, regardless of the religious education system that exists in a particular country, children must receive tuition that takes account of religious and philosophical diversity as part of their intercultural education;

24. Point out that, as religion is in any event considered as a feature of society and culture, taking account of religious diversity in intercultural education is not incompatible with certain forms of secularism and the partial secularisation of several present-day societies;

25. Note that the project “The new challenge to Intercultural Education: Religious Diversity and Dialogue in Europe” (2002-2006) made it possible to:

25.1. make appreciable progress with framing the concept, content and relevant learning methods of the religious dimension of intercultural education;

25.2. highlight the fact that taking account of the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue is of fundamental importance for the purpose of fostering mutual understanding, tolerance and a culture of “living together”;

25.3. identify, at the European conference on “The religious dimension of intercultural education” (Oslo, 6-8 June 2004), the relevant needs with a view to introducing the religious dimension of intercultural education in schools in member states in the light of the outcome of the 21st session of the Standing Conference of European Ministers of Education (Athens, 10-12 November 2003);

25.4. propose new teaching methods and learning strategies that take account of religious diversity in intercultural dialogue;

25.5. present, in a book entitled Religious diversity and intercultural education: a reference book for schools, a set of concepts and teaching approaches prepared by a team of independent experts to make teachers aware of the religious dimension of intercultural education;

26. Recommend that the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee for Education:

26.1. take initiatives, in the field of intercultural education, concerning religious diversity in order to promote tolerance and foster an ability to “live together”;

26.2. make arrangements to disseminate the results of the project in member states and promote the use of the reference book among teachers and teacher trainers.

In the field of language policy:

27. Reiterate their firm belief that language education, which has been a key concern of the Council of Europe for almost four decades and whose work has been instrumental in the renewal of national policies, remains a key factor in education for socially inclusive citizenship, intercultural dialogue and respect for the languages and identities of others;

28. Note that its language policy programme “Plurilingualism, diversity, and citizenship”:

28.1. successfully conducted the “European Year of Languages” in 2001 jointly with the European Union and has built on the positive evaluation of its results to launch a number of new initiatives to promote language learning and linguistic diversity, including an annual “European Day of Languages”;

28. 2. has launched and widely disseminated practical tools to further promote linguistic diversity, improved language learning and mobility: the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in 34 languages, the European Language Portfolio and the Guide for Language Education Policies in Europe, the implementation of which was assisted by the training programme of the European Centre for Modern Languages;

28.3. has led to enhanced co-operation between the Council of Europe and the European Union concerning the transparency of qualifications and mobility through the inclusion of the Council of Europe Language Passport in the EUROPASS;

28.4. has provided member states with assistance in reviewing their national or regional language education policies with a view to promoting more diversified language learning for social cohesion and democratic citizenship in multilingual societies;

28.5. has initiated a project on common reference standards for languages of instruction in schools;

28.6. has developed a draft curriculum framework for the Romani language in co-operation with the European Roma and Travellers Forum;

29. Recommend that the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee for Education:

29.1. intensify its work to develop European reference standards and guidelines for the languages of instruction in schools, taking into account the specific needs of vulnerable groups, including migrant children and Roma;

29.2. use the results to prepare a draft Committee of Ministers recommendation, drawing on the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Forum held in Strasbourg in February 2007 on the theme “the Common European Framework of Reference for languages (CEFR) and the development of language policies: challenges and responsibilities”.

Resolution on the 2008-2010 programme of activities3 

The European Ministers of Education, meeting in Istanbul for their 22nd Session:

1. Having regard to the Action Plan of the 3rd Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe (Warsaw, 16-17 May 2005), which stresses that “The tasks of building a knowledge-based society and promoting a democratic culture among our citizens require increased efforts of the Council of Europe in the field of education aimed at ensuring access to education for all young people across Europe, improving its quality and promoting, inter alia, comprehensive human rights education,”;

2. Recalling that the Statute of the Council of Europe (ETS No, 1) and the European Cultural Convention (ETS No, 18) provide the political framework for their action in the educational field;

3. Observing that the results of European co-operation in the educational field are now making an indispensable contribution to the analysis of this subject and the formulation of educational policies in all 49 signatory states to the European Cultural Convention;

4. Having discussed the main theme of the 22nd session, "Building a more humane and inclusive Europe: role of education policies", and adopted a general policy declaration on the subject;

5. Having noted with satisfaction the quality of the results of the projects conducted under the 2003-2006 work programme;

6. Considering that it is necessary to implement a new 2008-2010 work programme guaranteeing both the continuity and the renewal of the existing work programme;

Recommend that the Steering Committee for Education

7. concentrate its resources on pursuing the following objectives:

7.1, devising educational policies and practices based on the values and standards of the Council of Europe with the aim of encouraging a democrat,ic culture, plurilingualism and intercultural understanding, building a European educational area and promoting quality education for all;

7.2, promoting intercultural dialogue on the basis of the Faro Declaration, adopted in 2005, as a means of strengthening intercultural skills and improving the management of cultural diversity in order to address the intercultural challenges that exist within European societies, between European countries and in relations between Europe and neighbouring regions;

7.3, seeking, wherever appropriate and possible, to achieve synergy and organise horizontal co-operation with the various Council of Europe bodies concerned and other international organisations – in particular UNESCO, the European Union, OSCE and the Nordic Council of Ministers – and non-governmental organisations;

7.4, constantly monitoring each activity in the light of the objectives pursued, the resources used and the dissemination and impact of the results in member states;

7.5, implementing a programme of activities for 2008-2010 based on the following guidelines:

8. In the field of education for democratic citizenship and human rights (EDC/HRE):

8.1, continuing and stepping up work in the key area of education for democratic citizenship and human rights in order, in particular, to promote active citizenship and democratic values, concentrating on social cohesion and social inclusion, from the perspective of lifelong education;

8.2, supporting policy makers and educational professionals at all levels so that they can devise and promote long-term EDC/HRE programmes, in particular by drawing up European reference documents on the subject, setting out basic principles and broad lines of action;

8.3, continuing and reinforcing work on indicators (with the European Commission), on quality assurance in the field of EDC/HRE and on developing tools for its implementation;

8.4, promoting democratic governance in educational establishments by supporting the development of innovative participatory teaching, learning and decision-making methods, links with the population, active participation by parents, gender mainstreaming and other factors conducive to establishing a democratic climate in schools;

8.5, promoting, in member states, education and training for teachers, trainers, school heads and other educational staff in the formal and non-formal sectors in order to make teaching staff better qualified and more professional; to this end, identifying examples of good practices to be used as guidelines for specific EDC/HRE syllabuses in order to improve the initial and in-service training of teachers and define the basic skills needed to teach democratic citizenship and human rights;

8.6, strengthening the role of the network of EDC/HRE co-ordinators so that it becomes a key instrument in the success of EDC/HRE policies and practices in Europe, particularly through communication and the dissemination of information, know-how and good practice in this field;

8.7, reinforcing intersectoral co-operation within the Council of Europe in the EDC/HRE field and co-operation between institutions, taking account of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) and the United Nations’ World Programme for Human Rights Education;

9. In the field of intercultural education and diversity education:

9.1, developing activities to promote intercultural learning and social integration practices in schools;

9.2, promoting intercultural education through recognition of cultural, religious and social diversity and its importance in teachers' initial and in-service training;

9.3, encouraging the introduction of common European references so as to create open learning environments accessible to all, particularly categories of pupils from different and/or vulnerable cultures;

9.4, continuing and reinforcing work on the education of Roma children ;

9.5, developing a conceptual and operational framework for the inclusion of intercultural education in the curriculum and in teacher training, as well as guidelines for the organisation of exchanges in an intercultural education perspective ;

9.6, making educational policy makers aware of the principles of gender mainstreaming in education;

9.7, intensifying training for teachers and trainers in the Council of Europe's priority fields of action: education for democratic citizenship, intercultural dialogue, intercultural education, teaching of history and plurilingualism;

9.8, promoting the acquisition of the basic skills needed for living together in a democratic society;

9.9, continuing to implement Committee of Ministers Recommendation Rec(2001)15 on history teaching in 21st century Europe by preparing and organising a "Day for Holocaust remembrance and for the prevention of crimes against humanity" in schools in the 49 signatory states to the European Cultural Convention, by devising appropriate teaching aids, training teachers and organising events attended by high-level representatives of all the member states, so as to contribute to overall action to promote tolerance and human rights and combat all forms of racism;

10. In the field of history teaching:

10.1, disseminating the results of the project "The European dimension in history teaching" (2002-2006), the book Crossroads of European histories – multiple outlooks on five key moments in the history of Europe, the CD-ROM "Turning points? Critical moments in recent European history" and the accompanying teachers’ manual, particularly in the context of initial and in-service teacher training;

10.2, promoting history teaching and learning tailored to the increasingly multicultural nature of European societies as part of the new project "The image of the other in history teaching" through educational policy measures and proposals for strategies and methods;

10.3, contributing to the reconciliation, respect and understanding of and mutual trust between different cultures and conceptions by promoting the principles of tolerance, openness to others, human rights and democracy in the context of globalisation and history teaching in conflict and post-conflict situations;

10.4, drawing up proposals for general guidelines for the development of history teaching in both school and out-of-school education, with a view to including these in the general work on intercultural and inter-religious dialogue and providing governments as well as other partners concerned with proposals for strategies, methods and/or instruments for translating these general guidelines into specific measures;

10.5, continuing the technical co-operation and consultancy activities concerning the reform of history teaching, teaching methods and educational material and the fostering of multiple outlooks;

11. In the field of language policy:

11.1, continuing its activities geared to helping member states to promote linguistic diversity and effective language teaching / learning through the development of national policies for a holistic, integrated approach to teaching the national language(s), minority languages and modern languages;

11.2, reinforcing its activities aimed at promoting social inclusion by intensifying its work on reference standards and policy guidelines for the languages of instruction in schools, taking into account the language competences needed for successful learning in all school disciplines, and the needs of vulnerable groups;

11.3, elaborating guidelines and disseminate examples of good practice concerning language needs and the integration of adult migrants;

11.4, proposing recommendations and support measures for the effective use by member states of its European standards for modern languages contained in its Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment and its European Language Portfolio;

11.5, pursuing its successful co-operation with the European Union concerning the European Indicator of Language Competence;

11.6, continuing its work to promote intercultural dialogue, including through cross-curricular initiatives linking language education with other appropriate disciplines such as history and citizenship education ;

11.7, developing synergies with the third medium-term programme of the European Centre for Modern Languages on empowering language professionals, in particular with regard to the implementation of European instruments for language learning and teaching.

12. in the field of training for education professionals:

12.1, pursuing and intensifying action to train members of the teaching profession in the priority areas of education, in particular in the fields of education for democratic citizenship, human rights, history and intercultural education, as part of the "Pestalozzi" training programme for education professionals;

12.2, continuing to diversify the target groups through various formats of activities (European workshops, modules for trainers, targeted increase in capacity building).

13. developing co-operation and partnership activities – in particular with UNESCO, the European Union and the Nordic Council of Ministers – for the purposes of educational renewal, ensuring proper co-ordination of all the activities and supplementing sectoral measures with action to ensure the harmonious development of the education system as a whole;

14. Recommend that the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe

14.1, strengthen, as one of the priority objectives the Organisation has been set, co-operation in the field of education, which is one of the pillars of the Council of Europe;

14.2, provide this sector with the resources needed to translate principles and fundamental values into daily practice in member states and in the lives of all their citizens;

15. Undertake to:

15.1, mobilise all the resources available in order to constantly disseminate the results of European co-operation activities in the field of education at all levels;

15.2, contribute to the implementation of the activities and projects in the new medium-term programme, guidelines for which are set out above;

16. Express their gratitude to the German authorities, to the Land of Baden Württemberg and to the Donaueschingen Academy for organising European training seminars as part of the Council of Europe "Pestalozzi" programme;

17. Welcome the unswerving commitment of several member states to supporting the programme financially and Undertake to reform it in accordance with the Council of Europe's objectives.


1 . This declaration was adopted unanimously with the exception of the Polish Delegation.

2 . This resolution was adopted unanimously with the exception of the Polish delegation.

3 , This resolution was adopted unanimously with the exception of the Polish Delegation