Standing Conference of European Ministers of Education
 

18th session - Madrid, Spain, 23-24 March 1994

Resolution on "Education for democracy, human rights and tolerance" (N1)

Resolution on preparation for the world of work (N2)

Resolution on the promotion of school links and exchanges in Europe (N3)

Resolution on co-operation on education within the Council of Europe (N4)

Resolution on "Education for democracy, human rights and tolerance" (N1)  

(adopted during the Eighteenth Session of the Standing Conference of  Ministers of Education of the Council of Europe, Madrid, 23-24 March 1994)

The European Ministers of Education, meeting in Madrid at the 18th Session of their Standing Conference

1. TAKE NOTE of the Declaration of the Summit Conference of the Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe's member States (Vienna, 8-9 October 1993) and of the proposals put forward at the Council of Europe Seminar on "Education: Structures, Policies and Strategies" open to all CSCE Participating States (Strasbourg, 7-10 December 1993);

2. CONDEMN, in the strongest terms, the challenges to democratic values in European countries, in particular the growth of political extremism, intolerance, xenophobia, racism, anti-semitism and violence,

3. EXPRESS CONCERN at the apathy of many young people and adults towards the political process and at the low participation rates in some local and national elections;

4. STRESS that democracy can only thrive with widespread support and informed, active and responsible participation;

5. AFFIRM the important role which education for its part can play in helping young people and adults to equip themselves with:  

- the motivation, knowledge and skills to operate and improve democratic institutions and to uphold the rule of law; 

- a set of values which includes tolerance, solidarity and respect for diversity; 

- the ability to make independent and balanced judgments and not to be swayed or manipulated by extremist views or biased information;

6. EMPHASISE the need for a coherent and sustained approach by schools to education for democratic citizenship. Such an education should start at an early age and make full use of the many possibilities offered by the formal curriculum and extra-curricular activities, including contacts with organisations working for human rights. As the ethos and organisation of schools can be an important element in the social education of their pupils, schools should be democratic communities, which provide opportunities for dialogue and participation by pupils and parents, show consideration and respect for all their members, and reject all forms of intolerance, in particular racism and sexism, 

7. RECOGNISE that the effectiveness of programmes of education for democratic citizenship depends on the commitment and skills of the teachers. They need appropriate training and support, and there should be an effective partnership between educators, politicians and members of the community - all firmly committed to the values proclaimed in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;

8. EXPRESS their full support for: 

- the European Youth Campaign against Racism, Xenophobia, Anti-semitism and Campaign against Intolerance initiated by the Vienna Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe's member States;

- the international Year of Tolerance (1995) proclaimed by the United Nations;

9. WELCOME the initiative by the Polish Minister of Education to establish, in Warsaw, a European Information Centre on Civic Education, which will: 

- act as a clearing-house for the exchange of civics curricula and teaching resources;

- organise workshops and training seminars for curriculum planners, teacher trainers, teachers and educational administrators, especially from the new democracies;

- facilitate the creation of national associations of civics teachers in Central and Eastern Europe;

10. RECOMMEND that the appropriate authorities responsible for education should:

- recognise the importance of education for democracy, human rights and tolerance at all levels of education;

- monitor the effectiveness of programmes and curricula to ensure that they promote both an active commitment to human rights and pluralist democracy and responsible participation in the political process;

- encourage research on, and institutions and associations involved in, education for democracy, human rights and tolerance;

- encourage educational publishers and broadcasters to produce teaching resources and programmes to support education for democracy, human rights and tolerance; 

- participate ate fully in the 'European Youth Campaign and the International Year of  Tolerance (1995);

- encourage schools, teacher training establishments and universities to observe International Human Rights Day (10 December) each year;

11. ASK the Council of Europe to:

- strengthen its activities on education for democracy, human rights and tolerance; Special attention should be paid to the scope, content and teaching methods of teaching education for democratic citizenship in school and adult education and in teacher training;

- update its study on the role which education can play in the non-violent resolution of conflict;

- help member States to monitor their programmes of civic and human rights education, and disseminate the results;

- foster the setting up of networks of schools and teachers actively engaged in education for democracy, human rights and tolerance;

- facilitate the development of the European Information Centre on Civic Education to be established by the Polish authorities. by providing advice, ex experts and documentation and by supporting the organisation of seminars and workshops;

12. WELCOME the Council of Europe's decision to start new work on the teaching of history in schools, in particular on the positive mutual influences between different countries, religions and ideas in the historical development of Europe. This work should respect the historian's quest for truth, encourage critical thinking, and help young people to understand different points of view;

13. INVITE the Council of Europe to bring, together the International Organisations, the European Union and international non-governmental organisations with the aim of co-ordinating and stimulating their activities on education for democratic and pluralist societies.

Resolution on preparation for the world of work (N2)  

(adopted during the Eighteenth Session of the Standing Conference of  Ministers of Education of the Council of Europe, Madrid, 23-24 March 1994)

The European Ministers of Education, meeting in Madrid at the 18th Session of their Standing Conference,

CONSIDERING the challenges confronting education systems in the preparation of the individual for working life, in particular:

- the recourse to advanced technology in ever more sectors of employment and the consequent changes in working methods and the skills required;

- the pace of change in the economy and its implications for a vocational education intended to equip young people for the whole of their active lives;

- the need to develop a labour force capable of facing the growing competition in international markets and benefiting from the Single European Market and the European Economic Area;

- the radical reforms in the former Communist states of Central and Eastern Europe and the shift towards a market economy;

- the dramatic increase of unemployment, especially among young people, in many member States and the serious threat to the social fabric caused by the exclusion of a large part of the population from the possibility of useful occupation, 

RESOLVE:

- to take steps to enhance the prestige of vocational education, to assign to it a value which is no less than that attributed to general secondary education and to improve its attractiveness by increasing possibilities to transfer from one branch of the education system to another; involvement

- to pursue their efforts to improve vocational guidance, both by a better of outside partners in information about occupations and professions and by determined measures to broaden the career options for girls;

- to seek new ways of avoiding the marginalisation of the less able within the education system and redouble their efforts to offer school-leavers with no qualification an opportunity nevertheless to obtain some form of basic training or work experience after the end of compulsory schooling;

RECOMMEND that member States should:

- ensure that the education system affords opportunities for familiarisation with the world of work, especially through a close relationship with employers' and employees' organisations;

- seek, through the school system, to encourage the development of a spirit of initiative and entrepreneurial skills;

- see to it that technological education is made available to all pupils and, in particular, seek to co-operate with firms and labour market institutions for the establishment of knowledge centres where pupils can be introduced to advanced equipment and modem working methods;

- where it is still necessary, involve industry and commerce more closely in initial vocational education and promote among them a consciousness of their responsibility in this field;

- ensure that vocational education on develops, along with technical competence, the general skills needed to be able to adapt to rapid changes in working methods and economic structures, in particular by facilitating the acquisition of key qualifications such as creativity, ability to learn autonomously, communication skills, flexibility and aptitude for team-work;

- seeking to prepare young people, inter alia by the learning of modem languages, for mobility in the future European labour market;

- make serious provision within the framework of vocational education, as within general education, to prepare young people to cope with the challenges of life in a pluralist society and with major problems of their social environment;

- promote co-operation. between relevant ministries and other public authorities to take account of the converging objectives of general and vocational education;

- bear in mind that both the increasing pace of technological progress and the demands of the integrated European market reinforce the need for life-long education;

- examine how adult education can be developed and adapted to the new economic and social context. eg. by involvement of firms and social organisations in its implementation;

WELCOME the work carried out by the Council of Europe in order to

- enhance the transparency of national education systems and mutual knowledge of them, with a view to improving comparability between them and fostering mobility within the wider European context;

- develop vocationally oriented language learning tailored both to the requirements of firms and to the educational and communication needs of the learners;

- improve and promote life-long education, with due regard for its contribution to retraining and further education and hence its role in helping the individual to adapt to the changing conditions of the world of work or face the challenge of unemployment;

RECOMMEND that the Council of Europe should:

- intensify the exchange of information, experience and research findings between member States with a view to identifying and promoting best practice in these fields;

- work to promote common basic European principles in vocational as well as general education;

- pursue the activities carried out under the authority of the Council for Cultural Co-operation which are of particular relevance to equipping young people for working life, notably in the field of modem language teaching;

- in particular, seek to promote greater coherence and European consensus with regard to the objectives, contents and teacher training models for vocationally oriented language learning programmes;

INVITE the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe

- to verify how far its Recommendation No. R (83) 13 on the role of the secondary school in preparing young people for life has been implemented in the member States;

- to make available the necessary financial and human resources for the Council of Europe to carry out the above tasks, the European and international organisations

- to develop their capacity to respond to requests from the countries of Central and Eastern Europe for technical assistance in adapting their education systems to meet the requirements of the market economy (including an understanding of its social and ethical framework).

Resolution on the promotion of school links and exchanges in Europe (N3)  

(adopted during the Eighteenth Session of the Standing Conference of  Ministers of Education of the Council of Europe, Madrid, 23-24 March 1994)

The European Ministers of Education, meeting in Madrid at the 18th Session of their Standing Conference:

1. RECALL their Resolution on "The European Dimension of Education" (Vienna, 1991) which noted that study, work and leisure in Europe are increasingly characterised by mobility, interchange and communication;

2. RE-AFFIRM that school links and exchanges are an essential element in preparing young people for life in a democratic, multilingual and multicultural Europe because they can:

a. encourage understanding and friendship between young people from different linguistic, cultural and religious traditions;

b. impart knowledge and experience of other regions and countries;

c. develop open-mindedness, tolerance and respect for the culture, history and lifestyle of other peoples and nations;

d. promote an awareness both of the common European heritage and of Europe's interdependence with other continents;

3. ARE CONVINCED that:

a. as many young people as possible - in primary, secondary, vocational and special education - should be helped to participate in school links and exchanges;

b. school links and exchanges are most effective when they receive strong political support, meet clear educational objectives and involve all educational partners: ministries of education, local authorities, parents, teachers, specialised agencies and non-governmental organisations;

c. the success of school links and exchanges depends on thorough preparation, careful supervision and rigorous evaluation, as well as appropriate training and support for teachers and school principals;

d. the development of school links and exchanges should not be hampered by legal and administrative problems, e.g. visas, the civil liability of accompanying teachers and the cost of insurance;

4. POINT OUT that such links and exchanges can involve most, if not all, subjects in the curriculum and that because of greater possibilities for international contacts, communication and travel, schools can now choose from a much wider range of forms of school links and exchanges than in the past, e.g.:

a. the exchange of letters, photos, audio-cassettes, videos, computer disks and teaching material;

b. school visits, field trips, and the short and long term exchange of pupils and teachers;

c. fax, electronic mail, teleconferencing and satellite links;

d. regional projects involving schools in neighbouring countries;

e. bilateral and multilateral curriculum-based projects with schools in other countries and continents;

5. WELCOME the recent initiatives on school links and exchanges within the Council of Europe, in particular:

a. the setting up, by the Council for Cultural Co-operation (the CDCC), of a European information network on school links and exchanges to promote the sharing of information, experience and good practice,

b. the support given by the CDCC to the regular European Children's Theatre Encounters and activities on European Heritage Classes:

c. implementation, by the Standing Conference of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (the CLRAE), of the twinning programme for Albanian schools, as well as the European Local and Regional History Project.

6. TAKE ACCOUNT of the fact that important activities on school links and exchanges are also under way in the other European Institutions and in international non-governmental organisations, e.g.:

a. the pilot project on multilateral school partnerships of the Commission of the European Communities;

b. the NORDPLUS Junior Project of the Nordic Council of Ministers,

c. the Associated Schools Project of UNESCO;

CONGRATULATE the Europe at School/European Schools-Day Competition on its 40th Anniversary and on its extension to countries in Central and Eastern Europe. This joint activity of the Council of Europe, the Commission of the European Communities, the European Parliament and the European Cultural Foundation has played a pioneering role in the promoting of the European dimension in schools, and, in the next phase of its activities, it should become the basis for new forms of school links and European projects;

8. RECOMMEND that member States should:

a. acknowledge school links and exchanges as an integral part of education at all levels of schooling and support them with all appropriate means - political, legal, administrative and financial;

b. favour measures, to allow all young people, during their schooling and vocational education, to participate fully in international projects and exchanges; 

c. provide teachers, school principals and educational administrators with the training, support and legal advice necessary for the successful planning and implementation of school links and exchanges;

d. recognise the periods of study of pupils who take part in long-term exchanges with schools in other countries;

e. encourage schools to establish bilateral or multilateral links and exchanges with their counterparts in as many countries as possible, and not just to concentrate on the bigger countries or those whose languages are widely spoken;

f. help teachers to take part in international exchanges which can broaden their professional experience and allow them to establish links of friendship with colleagues from other countries;

9. ASK the Council of Europe to: 

a. examine, in the Committee of Ministers, whether the European Agreement on Travel by Young Persons on Collective Passports between member States could be updated to take account of the new pan-European dimension of school exchanges and the multicultural character of many schools in Europe;

b. develop its Network on School Links and Exchanges as a service activity to:

organise the exchange and dissemination of information, experience and good practice e.g. through a newsletter, publications and training seminars organised within the framework of the Teacher Bursaries Scheme;

prepare innovatory projects and studies on teacher training and the theory and practice of exchanges;

establish priorities for action at national and European level, in co-operation with the other European organisations (in particular the European Union, UNESCO and the Nordic Council of Ministers) and international non-governmental organisations;

c. give high priority to the further development of the Teacher Bursaries Scheme, which should be expanded to cater for more teachers from Central and Eastern Europe;

d. explore the educational potential of its European Cultural Routes Project, e.g. by encouraging links, field trips, exchanges and projects with an historical dimension between schools on the Routes.

Resolution on co-operation on education within the Council of Europe (N4)  

(adopted during the Eighteenth Session of the Standing Conference of  Ministers of Education of the Council of Europe, Madrid, 23-24 March 1994)

The European Ministers of Education, meeting in Madrid at the 18th Session of their Standing Conference:

THANK the Spanish Authorities warmly for their hospitality and the impeccable organisation of their 18th Session;

NOTE with satisfaction the results of the Emergency Programme for Albanian Schools which the Council of Europe undertook in response to the Resolution of their 17th Session (Vienna 1991) and welcome the follow-up activities carried out by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe;

3. TAKE -NOTE with interest of the initiative of the Romanian Government to convene a consultative meeting of the Ministers of Education of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe in June 1994;

Follow-up to the Vienna Summit

4. SUPPORT the implementation, within the framework of the follow-up to the Vienna Summit Meeting of Heads of State and Government of the member States of the Council of Europe, of the action plan to combat racism, xenophobia, anti-semitism and intolerance, to which education must make a major contribution;

5. UNDERLINE their attachment to the whole of the Council of Europe's intergovernmental programme on education, which is in itself a contribution to efforts to promote democracy and human rights in the widest sense;

6. WELCOME the initiative by the Nordic countries to make an additional financial contribution to the programme-budget of the Council for Cultural Co-operation in the field strengthening in of school legislation and exchange networks for teachers with a view to strengthening inter alia teaching about the European dimension, protection of the environment and the rights of minorities; this contribution is intended to help implement the follow-up to the Vienna Summit and the Council of Europe Seminar on "Education: Structures, Policies and Strategies" open to all CSCE Participating States;

Situation in Former Yugoslavia

7. EXPRESS their concern at the tragic situation of refugee or displaced pupils and students in former Yugoslavia and, in particular, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia whose education as been interrupted by war and at the very heavy burdens which this situation has placed on some countries;

8. TAKE NOTE of the efforts already made by Croatia and other countries, and WELCOME the offer by the Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation) to develop - possibly with other NGOs and in co-operation with the Council of Europe, ministries and universities - a systematic co-operative response to help solve the problems of refugee or displaced students;

9. ASK the Council of Europe - through its Committee on Higher Education and Research, which brings together representatives of Ministries and universities - to make proposals for such a response in co-operation with the other ministries concerned, the above-mentioned Institute, the other European institutions and international non-governmental organisations;

10- RECALL that a Special Account for this purpose has been opened within the Cultural Fund and invite member States to contribute to it;

11. ASK the Council of Europe, in co-operation with the European Union and 'UNESCO, to study forms of action which would make it possible to provide concrete and immediate help to young people during their school career and to reconstruct the education systems in the former Yugoslavia;

European Centre for Modern Languages

12. WELCOME the joint initiative of the Austrian and Dutch Authorities to set up, in Graz, a European Centre for Modem Languages, which will be a platform and a meeting place for policy-makers, specialists and multipliers from all over Europe;

13. POINT OUT that such a Centre could help citizens of member States to meet the multilingual challenges of the New Europe;

14. URGE member States, national cultural institutes, the other European Institutions and NGOs to support this initiative;

Seminar on "Education: Structures, Policies and Strategies"

15. NOTE with interest the proposals for action put forward at the Council of Europe Seminar on "Education: Structures, Policies and Strategies" open to all CSCE Participating States (Strasbourg 1993);

16. ASK the Committee of Ministers to entrust the Council for Cultural Co-operation with drawing up concrete proposals which should allow CSCE Participating States which are not Parties to the European Cultural Convention to take part in some of its programmes;

Future work of the Standing Conference

17. UNDERLINE their attachment to holding regular sessions of their Standing Conference, which has proved an indispensable instrument for dialogue and European co-operation;

18. ASK the Council of Europe's Education Committee to draw up proposals for new ways of organising their Ministerial Conference, so as to take account of recent developments in its membership and in the nature of the questions and problems which it is expected to discuss;

19. ACCEPT with pleasure the invitation of the Norwegian Minister of Education to organise their 19th Session in Norway in 1997, on a theme closely linked to the Education Committee's programme.