On 20 June 2017 the Council of Europe Report on citizenship and human rights education in Europe was launched at a conference in Strasbourg. The Report includes analysis of feedback from governments, conclusions of a survey from civil society organisations and key messages from prominent personalities.
The Report notes substantial progress, in particular the growing recognition of education as an essential response to the current challenges to democracy and human rights in Europe. Key challenges identified include growing inconsistencies between policies and practices for the promotion of democracy and human rights through education; discrepancies between the perception of governments and civil society; ensuring balanced provision of education for democratic citizenship and human rights in all types and levels of education (including higher education and vocational education and training), and developing criteria to evaluate the effectiveness of relevant education programmes.
A majority of respondents felt that the Charter review process, which was carried out by the Council of Europe for the 2nd time since 2010, encouraged stronger action and higher quality and provides an opportunity to promote good practice as well as to support dialogue between and within countries.
The Report points out that “citizenship and human rights education needs to be constantly questioned, tested, reviewed and updated, and that this process must be inclusive, respectful and democratic. It must not be about adding more content to education systems, but rather about doing things differently”.
The Council of Europe promotes human rights and democracy through education, as a means of building peaceful societies which respect the human dignity of all people. With the adoption of the Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education in 2010, the member states committed to “the aim of providing every person within their territory with the opportunity of education for democratic citizenship and human rights education”. The state of citizenship and human rights education in Europe is reviewed every 5 years with member states and civil society with the aim to identify achievements and challenges and to propose action at European, national and local level. This report covers the second review for the period 2012-2017.