Ensuring the right to quality education for all

Ensuring the right to quality educationThe Council of Europe advocates quality education to prepare young people not only for employment, but also for their lives as active citizens in democratic societies, and to ensure their personal development and the development and maintenance of a broad, advanced knowledge base.

All four purposes are equally important and compatible. They reinforce each other. Many of the competences you need to be an active citizen also help make you employable and they contribute to your personal development.

Education systems in Europe should make it possible for every student to develop their abilities to the full and help them to realise their ambitions. This is particularly important for students who come from backgrounds where education is considered less as an opportunity than as a waste of time. Therefore the determination of the quality of an education system must include its ability to provide adequate opportunities for all learners. Moving from the institution to the system level, it becomes even more evident that inclusion is an important dimension of the quality debate. Can a system be excellent if it leaves a percentage of its learners by the wayside?

Quality education is provided differently in compulsory and non-compulsory education, just as it is provided differently in pre-school and higher education. Some groups will need special attention and measures to benefit from quality education that is adapted to their needs, but quality education must be guaranteed for all.

Public authorities have an important role in making sure that quality education is available to all, however each country does this in different ways and at different levels. Some education is provided in private schools but within a framework established by public authorities. Public responsibility does not stop where private schooling begins or when compulsory education comes to an end.