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New Guidance on Integrating Democratic Competences in Vocational Education and Training Announced

In an important development aimed at strengthening democratic values and practices in vocational education and training (VET) systems, the Council of Europe's Steering Committee on Education (CDEDU) has adopted new guidance on the integration of competences for democratic culture (CDC) in VET. The guidance document for VET were presented at the 5th plenary session of the CDEDU, held in Strasbourg, France, on 20 March, and represent a significant step forward in the promotion of democratic cultures through vocational education and training.

The new guidance, developed in cooperation with international experts and based on the Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture (RFCDC), aim to address the urgent need to promote democratic competences in the VET sector, identified through evaluations of the implementation of the Council of Europe Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education.

The guidance is a response to the resolutions adopted at the 26th session of the Council of Europe's Standing Conference of Ministers of Education, held in Strasbourg on 28-29 September 2023, where the renewal of the civic mission of education was highlighted as a key objective. The Council of Europe Education Strategy for 2024-2030 "Learners First" further emphasises the importance of integrating CDC in VET to promote quality citizenship education.

Aimed primarily at policy makers, stakeholders, educators and trainers, the guide serves as a comprehensive tool for the effective integration of CDC in VET programmes. Covering various aspects such as curriculum development, teaching methods and assessment of democratic competences, it suggests an integrated approach to promoting democratic culture and intercultural understanding in vocational education and training.

The document underlines the unique position of VET in preparing learners not only for employment but also for active citizenship in democratic societies. By embedding CDC in learning processes in VET , the Council of Europe aims to ensure that VET learners acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to participate fully in democratic life.

This initiative marks a significant milestone in the Council of Europe's ongoing efforts to strengthen democracy through education and highlights the crucial role of VET in shaping informed, engaged and responsible citizens. The Guidance document on VET is expected to pave the way for more inclusive, democratic and culturally diverse learning environments across Europe.

Strasbourg, France 21 March 2024
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