Higher Education and Research

Learning and Teaching in the Communication Society

In 2001 the Education Committee and the Higher Education and Research Committee launched a new project entitled "Learning and teaching in the communication society".

ICT based education is one of the principal challenges facing future education policies. They form part of a general context of change, innovation and far-reaching transformations of the demands made by society on the education system.

As a result, specific aspects of the development of the new communication technologies can best be dealt with by including them in the general issue of the educational and organisational reform that education systems will have to undertake in the years to come in order to meet the many challenges facing them, as pointed out by the European Ministers of Education in Krakow.

Bearing this in mind, the Project's general strategy is based on the following principles:

  • it address the whole of the education system, that is to say primary, secondary and higher education and lifelong learning, including non-formal teaching;
  • the development of the new information technologies serve as a common theme, but it is constantly linked with the other changes under way;
  • all the implications of the changes mentioned above should lead particularly, but not solely, to the development of the teaching profession and basic and further teacher-training, while remaining attentive to learners' points of view.

The political justification for launching this new activity is essentially:

  • The Committee of Ministers' Declaration on a European policy for new information technologies, adopted at the Committee of Ministers' meeting on 7 May 1999 in Budapest at the 114th session, on the occasion of the Council of Europe's 50th anniversary. The declaration devotes a large part of its recommendations to how people could master the new technologies, in particular through suitable information and training.
  • The European Ministers for Education, at the 20th session of their standing conference held in Krakow (Poland) from 15 to 17 October 2000, clearly stressed the importance they attached to the question of incorporating the new information technologies, emphasising both their potential and the dangers they pose to the education system as a whole. They also clearly stated that the introduction of the new technologies should be considered in the wider context of the various challenges facing education policies.
  • The resolution on the programme of activities for 2001-2003, adopted by the European Ministers of Education recommended that the Education Committee implement, "in conjunction with the Higher Education and Research Committee, the new project, "Teaching and learning in the communication society", the aim of which will be to develop proposals and guidelines on education policies that respond to the new demands generated by the sweeping changes in European societies, taking account of the impact of the new technologies. Particular attention will have to be paid to questions of general policy and strategy, to initial and in-service training for educational staff, to the outcomes of the projects on democratic citizenship and history teaching and to the critical use of the Internet".

In 2003, the Standing Conference of European Ministers of Education adopted a resolution on the Integration of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in educational systems in Europe.