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Progress made towards the European Space for Citizenship Education

An important step towards the creation of a European Space for Citizenship Education was taken during the 12th meeting of the European Policy Advisors’ Network (EPAN) held online on 14 - 16 May. This initiative, part of the Council of Europe Education Strategy 2024-2030, aims to establish a comprehensive framework ensuring quality citizenship education across Europe, addressing both current and future challenges.

The European Space for Citizenship Education is underpinned by strong political support, notably the Summit of Heads of State and Government in Reykjavik in May 2023 and the 26th Standing Conference of Ministers of Education in September 2023. These events called for a collective commitment from member states to shape a democratic future through education.

Opening the meeting, Sarah Keating, Head of Council of Europe’s Division for Formal and Non-Formal Education, emphasised the crucial role of EPAN in the co-creation process of this initiative. She highlighted the democratic backsliding in Europe and underlined the importance of education in preparing learners to become active and informed citizens.

Over the three-day meeting, delegates from 31 member States engaged in extensive discussions to develop the strategic architecture for the European Space for Citizenship Education. They identified key content components and helped to identify strategic steps needed for the initiative’s launch in 2026.

The discussions also covered a range of topics on national developments and the Reference Framework of Competence for Democratic Culture (RFCDC), including initiatives in Armenia, Belgium, Germany, Portugal, Slovakia, Switzerland, Sweden, and the Netherlands, highlighting innovative approaches, challenges and successful practices.

Delegates also received updates on several CoE projects, including the report on the review of the RFCDC implementation in CoE member States, a new phase of the project on the RFCDC in Vocational Education and Training, and new initiatives on the RFCDC and education for sustainable development.

The outcomes of the 12th EPAN meeting reflects the collective dedication of member States to uphold democratic values through education.

Strasbourg and online 14-16 May 2024
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