Non-Governmental Organisations



Strasbourg, 25 May 2009



1. The Culture, Science and Education Committee of the Conference of INGOs met in Strasbourg on 27 April 2009, with Edouard Jagodnik, of the European Federation of Schools (FEDE), in the chair, assisted by Sabine Rohmann, of the Robert Schuman Institute for Europe (IRSE), vice-chair.

2. The committee unanimously adopted the meeting agenda without amendment.

3. The committee, after hearing and taking account of several observations and corrections, unanimously adopted the synopsis of the meeting of 27 January 2009 [CONF/CULT(2009)SYN1].

4. Statement by Ólöf Ólafsdóttir, deputy to the Director of Education and Languages

      Introduction: After working at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik, Ms Ólafsdóttir had joined the Council of Europe in 1988, where she had begun work in the heritage department before moving to the Committee on Culture, Education and the Media of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities. She had then been head of the Human Rights Directorate’s Gender Equality Division before taking up her current post.

    Ms Ólafsdóttir briefly outlined the Steering Committee for Education’s current activities:

      - follow-up to the Prague Forum on “The Right to Quality Education”;

    - the “Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights” project;

      - the appraisal report on the CDED’s 2006-2009 “Learning and Living Democracy” programme;
      - the project on “Policies and practices for teaching socio-cultural diversity”;

    - the “Education of Roma children in Europe” project;

      - the “Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust and for the prevention of crimes against humanity” project;
      - the Pestalozzi in-service training programme for education professionals;
      - the project on “the image of the Other in history teaching”;
      - the programme on “Language Policies for Democratic Citizenship and Social Inclusion”;
      - a transversal study on language education policy profiles;
      - a framework for the development of intercultural policies in schools.

      Reference was also made to the 2010-2014 education work programme, as drawn up in co-operation with the Steering Committee for Higher Education and Research, which included the following activities:

    - promoting social inclusion and combating discrimination in and through education;
    - education as a means of promoting the Council of Europe’s fundamental values;
    - education for intercultural understanding and sustainable democracies;
    - higher education for a Europe of values.

      In relation to higher education, Ms Ólafsdóttir referred, inter alia, to:
      - the Council of Europe’s substantial involvement in the Bologna Process;
      - discussions on matters relating to quality assurance;
      - public responsibility for quality assurance;
      - public responsibility for higher education.

Ms Ólafsdóttir answered numerous questions, after which she left the meeting room to general applause.

5. Review of activities since the last session

Edouard Jagodnik talked about his work with the Council of Europe Steering Committees for Education and for Higher Education and Research along with Alain Mouchoux, the former Chair of the Education and Culture Grouping. The issues referred to by Ms Ólafsdóttir had been addressed in the course of this work. Certain texts had been adopted (unanimously, by all 47 countries) to be submitted to the Committee of Ministers.
The activity was intense, painstaking and productive. Edouard Jagodnik had been most impressed. He had taken the floor to insist on the need to maintain the financial resources of the Education Directorate at current levels despite the economic crisis. The conclusions of both committees on the subject had taken account of this view.

He would be attending the Culture Committee meeting on 14 and 15 May.

The Chair had also attended a conference held by the State University – Higher School of Economics in Moscow on economic and social development problems, at the invitation of Nina Belyaeva.

He had taken part in a workshop on establishing a democratic culture and the relevant international standards, infrastructure and practices, where he had talked about the role and the work of the NGOs at the Council of Europe, focusing in particular on the Culture, Science and Education Committee. The conference had been attended by some 2 000 people, including a large number of prominent figures (such as ministers and Nobel Prize winners).

With Sabine Rohmann, he had met Alexander Bartling, Secretary of the Committee on Culture and Education of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, and discussed the potential for co-operation with this body.

He also reported on his dealings with the European Wergeland Centre, a resource centre for education in intercultural understanding, human rights and democratic citizenship. He had been invited to the official opening ceremony of the centre, in Oslo on 28 and 29 May 2009.

The working groups it had been agreed to establish at the January session had also been set up between the two sessions, and Sabine Rohmann and the group co-ordinators had played an active part in this.

Lastly, co-operation had been established with the Human Rights Committee and its Chair, Gabriel Nissim, to avoid duplication and decide on areas in which the committees could work together.

6.7.8. Sub-Committees

Sabine Rohmann gave a PowerPoint presentation on a possible work schedule.

The working group co-ordinators then briefly described how their work was progressing before answering questions in relation to the sub-committees.

It was noted that the “Health Education” group would be ready to submit a report to the committee in a few months time. This would probably be the first to be examined by the committee.

    Cc: President of the Conference of INGOs
    Members of the Standing Committee
    Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly
    Secretary General of the Congress
    Secretary of the Committee of Ministers
    Directors General

      Registrar of the European Court of Human Rights
      Director of the Private Office of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe
      Director of External Relations
      Director of Strategic Planning
      Director of Communication
      Director of the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights