The Council of Europe is launching its new campaign for schools on 14 November 2018 in Norway, in partnership with the European Wergeland Centre.


Sjur Bergan, Head of the Council of Europe’s Education Department, talks about the new campaign for schools, to be launched on 14 November.




FREE TO SPEAK – SAFE TO LEARN - Democratic Schools for All focuses on making sure that children and young people at school feel free to speak and safe to learn, so that they can explore even the most controversial points of view, so that opinions which might lead to discrimination, hate speech or bullying – or even veer into violent extremism – can be challenged and discussed, rather than being driven underground.

This requires that schools are democratic and that everyone – from pupils and students to teachers, school leaders, parents and members of the local community – respects human rights and has the competences they need to function effectively in a democratic society.

These competences form the basis of the Council of Europe’s Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture, which will be implemented in Europe’s schools during the campaign.

Policy makers, schoolchildren, education professionals, researchers and experts from across Europe will participate in the launch, from 14-16 November. The conference also marks the 10th anniversary of the European Wergeland Centre.


There are six campaign themes:


  • making children's and students’ voices heard;
  • addressing controversial issues;
  • preventing violence and bullying;
  • dealing with propaganda, misinformation and fake news;
  • tackling discrimination;
  • improving well-being at school.


The campaign will run until 2022, at national, regional and European level. It involves 50 states across Europe; the Council of Europe’s 47 member states as well as Belarus, the Holy See and Kazakhstan, as additional parties to the Organisation’s European Cultural Convention.


Download the leaflet of this campaign "Free to Speak – Safe to Learn"

  EDU-Working group on Competences and Higher Education
Paris (France) - 13 to 14 February 2020

Education Department

Council of Europe
Agora Building
1, Quai Jacoutot
67075 Strasbourg Cedex

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