Education and Languages, Language Policy

    Standing Conference of European Ministers of Education

20th Session - "Educational policies for democratic citizenship and social cohesion: challenges and strategies for Europe", Cracow, Poland, 15-17 October 2000

Declaration of the European Ministers of Education on the main theme of 20th session 

    The European Ministers of Education, convened for the 20th session of our Standing Conference in Cracow: adopt this Declaration addressed to our citizens, to the Council of Europe, and to ourselves.

    1. WE REJOICE in the democratic transformation of central and eastern Europe over the last decade, and the giant strides made by the whole of Europe towards a shared space of democracy, human rights, peace and prosperity. HOWEVER we realize that this achievement is incomplete and vulnerable, and education must play its part to safeguard and strengthen it.

    2. Our times throw down common challenges to our education policies, combining great opportunities with serious threats:

    – Our countries are becoming knowledge societies, with economies driven by constant change in technology, and labour markets calling for lifelong renewal of skills;
    – Our schools fail to equip many school-leavers with sound basic competences, and many more adults have no access to flexible higher and continuing education. While the safe haven of lifelong job security has silted up, we risk perpetuating chronic unemployment and the further marginalisation of entire social groups;
    – All of us now enjoy greater freedom to live our private and public lives as we ourselves choose: but the erosion of traditional personal values and community solidarities also weakens the cohesion of society;
    – The new information and communication technologies offer huge potential for cultural enrichment and lifelong learning: but no one can predict today the cultural changes they will bring about, and there are clear risks of abuse, loss of personal contact, cultural hegemonies, and social exclusion;
    – Europe and European societies are increasingly multicultural and diverse, which is good in itself: but a significant number of our citizens, and even some political leaders, reject this development and yield to isolationism, racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, extreme nationalism and other forms of prejudice and intolerance;
    – Finally, the quickening pace of economic and technological change is a sign of widening opportunities for individuals and governments alike: but its unpredictability is a source of anxiety and confusion and challenges the traditional role of education;
    – Across Europe, there is now widespread acceptance of the principle of democracy but democratic culture has to be constantly fought for, hence the vital role of education.

    3. WE ARE DETERMINED to take up these challenges. We affirm this common goal for our future education policies: to nurture democratic citizenship and social cohesion in open pluralist societies where human rights are respected and no person or group is excluded.

    4. WE AGREE that this goal entails action by our governments, such as:

    – Ensuring equal access to high-quality education and training within open and flexible education systems;
    – Defining educational goals and quality criteria, and designing curricula and their delivery so as to take account of probable future developments not only in work but also in personal, family, community, cultural and political life;
    – Promoting the acquisition of qualifications defined both in terms of knowledge and of the methods, essential competences and capacities for acquiring new knowledge and skills, as well as the fair recognition of these qualifications throughout Europe;
    – Making full use for these purposes of all the potential of the new information and communication technologies, both in the classroom and in the management and development of the education system as a whole with particular attention to ethical issues related to the use of the Internet;
    – Improving the social status of education staff;
    – Increasing the involvement and responsibility of parents in the education process in schools;
    – Setting up regular partnership structures with all the professional and user groups involved in education, counselling and assessment, so that rapid responses can be made to unforeseen changes;
    – Strengthening the role of vocational education and training in laying the foundations for further learning and widening the range of qualifications;
    – Taking concrete steps to break down the barriers between the various tiers of formal and non-formal education provision, in the perspective of lifelong learning;
    – Embracing in every reform plan the European and international dimensions that are now an integral part of education for citizenship and necessary for developing mutual understanding and the mobility of people and ideas;
    – Responding to the increasing awareness of the need to protect the environment and of the principles of sustainable development.

    5. WE CALL UPON the Council of Europe to continue to support us in these vital efforts. It is our firm belief that:

    – European co-operation in the field of education, together with political and human rights co-operation, constitutes an indispensable pillar of the Council of Europe’s work in achieving the goals set forth in its statute;
    – The Council of Europe, as a pan-European forum in the field of education, has, now more than ever, a specific role to play in devising and implementing education strategies to meet the challenges facing our sector and to uphold the values of the Organisation as a whole.

    6. WE UNDERLINE the role of education in strengthening the stability of Southeast Europe. In particular, we:

    – support the developments of the Enhanced Graz Process as a multilateral framework in Southeast Europe and the active participating of the Council of Europe in the Process;
    – ask the Council of Europe to organise the second Conference of Ministers of Education in Southeast Europe as soon as possible in one of the countries of the region.

    7. WE EXPRESS our satisfaction concerning the achievements and results of the projects and activities conducted by the Council of Europe in particular on education for democratic citizenship, history teaching, language learning and reform strategies for general and higher education. This work has thrown light on essential aspects of a global policy aimed at democratic stability and social cohesion.

    8. WE RECOMMEND that through its expert bodies – the Education Committee and the Higher Education and Research Committee of the Council for Cultural Co-operation – the Council of Europe address key components of the common challenges and national objectives we have identified. We ask them, in co-operation with the other Council of Europe bodies and the other international organisations concerned, to focus on these issues:

    – The new roles of schools open to their economic, political and cultural environment, in touch with real-life situations and working together with all partners and persons involved in education, in particular in the context of the information society and developing the schools as true learning organisations;
    – The development of intercultural skills in personal relations and communication, not only through language learning but also by promoting a sense of human dignity, social responsibility, tolerance, solidarity as well as the rules of democracy;
    – The changes required in the teaching profession and consequently in initial and in-service teacher training;
    – The education of minorities resulting from migration and other national minorities including Roma/Gypsies;
    – Educational measures in particular in teachers training which may prevent the recurrence or denial of crimes against humanity such as the Holocaust and ethnic cleansing, which have scarred the 20th century with massive violations of human rights and the fundamental values upheld by the Council of Europe.

    9. WE AGREE to institute in schools a Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust and for the prevention of crimes against humanity, chosen with regard to the history of each member state.

Statement on recent events in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Serbia 

    The European Ministers of Education, convened for the 20th Session of our Standing Conference in Cracow, adopt this statement on recent events in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Serbia.

    1. Political developments in Serbia give hope that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, respecting the fundamental principles of human rights, pluralist democracy and the rule of law, will in the near future be able to join the European family and take part in European co-operation, in particular within the Council of Europe. The political transition is far from complete, and at all events the principle, the timing and the conditions of the engagement of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia with the Council of Europe are matters for political organs of the Council. The Council of Europe and its members should be in a position to respond swiftly and effectively to the opportunities that may arise in the educational field.

    2. We understand that, under the current constitution of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, education lies within the competence of the constituent republics (that is Serbia and Montenegro). Assistance to the two Republics should of course be negotiated with representatives of the democratic Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as well, respecting Resolution 1244 of the UN (1999). The Council of Europe should prepare its offer in three key areas:

    – Engagement in regional co-operation in Southeast Europe

    Serbia and Montenegro should as soon as possible be invited to participate in existing regional educational projects especially under the Graz Process within the Stability Pact. Furthermore, democratisation greatly widens the prospects for this co-operation, for example in the extension of the Bologna Process of reform in higher education and in history teaching in schools.

    – Replacing the Serbian Law on Universities

    The 1998 Serbian Law on Universities has been widely criticised (including by the Council of Europe and the Association of European Universities - CRE) as a gross violation of European standards of academic freedom and university autonomy. The Council of Europe can help introduce modern standards of governance and facilitate an engagement in the Bologna Process.

    – Education for democratic citizenship

    Large-scale support should be given to the schools in both the dimensions of education for democratic citizenship: democratic school governance and practice, and curriculum reform in civics and related areas of the humanities and social sciences. Immediate help could be offered in two areas: teacher training seminars in education for democratic citizenship, based on the materials used in Bosnia and Herzegovina; and a rapid modernisation of textbooks. A medium-term programme could include a deeper reform of the history curriculum.

    3. In accordance with the policy of intensified regional co-operation recommended above, European assistance to education in Serbia and Montenegro should not come at the expense of the help being provided to their neighbours in Southeast Europe. In consequence, priorities should be assessed and resources for these measures should be provided, at a tiny fraction of the cost of the renewed conflict that remains a possibility.

Resolution on results and conclusions of the completed projects in the 1997-2000 medium-term programme 

    The European Ministers of Education, meeting in Cracow for their 20th session,


    – the adoption at their 19th session, in Kristiansand (1997), of a medium-term work programme comprising three projects: Education for Democratic Citizenship, Learning and Teaching about the History of Europe in the 20th Century, and Language Policies for a Multicultural and Multilingual Europe;
    – the decision at the same session to set up permanent dialogue on educational reform with a view to democratic security and social cohesion;
    – the Legislative Reform Programme in Higher Education and Research, launched in 1992 in order to meet the needs of the new member states in this field;

    Having discussed on that occasion the conclusions of the three projects and the Legislative Reform Programme in Higher Education and Research at the present session:

    1. STATE first of all that the themes chosen are, in the present European context, still essential factors in the development of policies aimed at achieving democratic security, mutual understanding, tolerance, pluralism and harmonious and peaceful relations within the member states and throughout Europe;

    2. NOTE with satisfaction that at the Strasbourg Summit (1997) and the Committee of Ministers session in Budapest in 1999 on the occasion of the Organisation’s 50th anniversary, the main components of the medium-term programme were endorsed as matching the Council of Europe’s general lines of action and priorities;

    3. CONSIDER that the three projects are positive examples of multicultural co-operation as they concern all educational systems beyond national specificities and CONGRATULATE the Council of Europe on having completed them within the agreed time and in compliance with the objectives that were set;

    4. WELCOME the quality of the results, which have made it possible to conduct:

    – detailed study of the chosen themes and adaptation of them to new circumstances;
    – preparation of proposals and guidelines for education policies which serve member states as a reference for their educational reforms;
    – production of teaching materials and resources which can be used directly for both formal and non-formal education;
    – introduction of innovative working methods in keeping with the new requirements resulting from the greater diversity of situations in an enlarged Council of Europe.

    5. WELCOME the conduct of these projects in co-operation and synergy with various Council of Europe bodies as well as with other international organisations, in particular Unesco and the European Union and non-governmental organisations;

    6. STRONGLY RECOMMEND that the results and conclusions of these projects be widely disseminated by all appropriate means, not only to government bodies but also to all players in the education system;

    7. REQUEST that these results be taken into consideration in future in the drawing up, implementing and adjustment of national educational reforms;

    8. OBSERVE that the results obtained strengthen their belief that such intergovernmental and pan-European projects provide the necessary basis for responding to assistance and requests for advice from states or regions that are encountering particular difficulties;

    a. as regards the Education for Democratic Citizenship project

    9. NOTE that the project has developed a common approach to education for democratic citizenship, responding to the needs of today’s Europe from the standpoint of concept, approach, practices and methods, and in particular, has:

    – enlarged today’s understanding of democratic citizenship in the education dimension as well as the ethical, political, legal, cultural, socio-economic and psycho-sociological dimensions;
    – shown how education for democratic citizenship can contribute to social cohesion through leaning to participate in the life of society, to assume responsibility and to live together;
    – identified methods of learning, training, teaching, and school organisation which are in keeping with participative education strategies and non-formal education;
    – analysed and networked a number of practical experiments (citizenship sites) illustrating innovative approaches in action;
    – produced studies, teaching materials and new educational tools (Internet sites, a compendium of good practices and so on);
    – identified the elements of the common guidelines for education for democratic citizenship (appended to this resolution), laying down a comprehensive, integrated approach to policies and practices in this field;

    10. RECOMMEND that the Council for Cultural Co-operation’s Education Committee:

    – finalise and disseminate the draft common guidelines for education for democratic citizenship as an instrument for framing education policy;
    – prepare in accordance with the Budapest Declaration a draft Committee of Ministers’ recommendation based on the achievements of the project and especially on the appended draft common guidelines ( see the Appendix);
    – ensure that the results are disseminated by all appropriate means, in particular through an interactive Internet site and a European campaign promoting democratic citizenship based on citizens’ rights and responsibilities;
    – apply the results in implementing support and partnership activities in response to special situations or needs;
    – develop the networks of citizenship experiments and sites;
    – strengthen co-operation in this field with other international organisations, non-governmental organisations and regional initiatives such as, in particular, the enlarged Graz Process;
    – accentuate, in their future work in this area, aspects more directly linked to educational policy and practice;
    – in this context, further develop in elements linked to organisation, content and methods of both formal and non-formal human rights education provision.

    b. as regards the Learning and Teaching about the History of Europe in the 20th Century project

    11. REAFFIRM that history teaching, a constant concern of the Council of Europe since it was founded, is a key factor in the development of democratic citizenship;

    12. POINT OUT that the aim of the project is not to replace national approaches but to enrich them by strengthening the European aspect of history teaching and establishing a basis for dialogue and joint examination of mutual concerns or moments of shared history;

    13. NOTE that the project has:

    – made significant progress towards a pluralist and tolerant conception of history teaching, in particular through development of the individual’s research skills and critical thinking;
    – highlighted innovative teaching methods that make appropriate and effective use of the new information technologies and the new sources available;
    – developed examples of open approaches to sensitive issues in 20th century European history, approaches that take different conceptions and points of view into consideration;
    – set out the principles and methods of a new approach to basic and further training of history teachers;
    – made a practical contribution to study of the Holocaust and development of methods of teaching about it;

    14. UNDERTAKE to take the achievements and outcomes of the project into account in their national education policy;

    15. WELCOME the fact that the thinking and concrete results of this project have already provided the basis for schemes to reform history teaching and textbooks in a number of European countries and regions;

    16. RECOMMEND that:

    – the Education Committee use the results so far and the conclusions of the project’s final conference, which will be held in Bonn in March 2001, to draft a Committee of Ministers recommendation on history teaching with particular emphasis on teacher training;
    – the Council of Europe arrange for dissemination of the project’s results, through the appropriate use of the information and communication technologies and in particular hold a series of national and/or regional seminars over the next
    two years;

    c. as regards the Language Policies for a Multilingual and Multicultural Europe project

    17. REITERATE their firm belief that the development of language learning in the present European context is also an integral part of developing a civic development and training approach that accommodates everyone’s local, regional, national and European allegiances;

    18. NOTE that the project has:

    – discussed and developed practical instruments for encouraging mutual understanding, mobility and social cohesion in a multilingual Europe;
    – finalised a Common European Reference Framework which is an invaluable tool for developing language policies and takes account of the multilingualism and cultural diversity within European countries and in Europe as a whole;
    – developed the criteria for preparation and validation of a European language Portfolio;
    – developed instruments which can be used in national language policy reforms, including those for the promotion of regional, minority or less widely spoken languages;
    – given concrete illustrations of the links between language policies, education for democratic citizenship and social cohesion;

    19. ADOPT a resolution on the European Language Portfolio.

    20. RECOMMEND that the Education Committee:

    – conduct a European Year of Languages in 2001, jointly with the European Union and with the support of Unesco, and assess its results with a view to future promotion of language learning;
    – take the appropriate steps, during and after the European Year of Languages, to disseminate the Common European Reference Framework and the European Languages Portfolio and promote their use;
    – continue its activities to assist member states in framing and implementing language policies that aid communication and co-operation between individuals and groups with differing linguistic and cultural identities;

    d. as regards the Legislative Reform Programme in Higher Education and Research

    21. POINT OUT that over the past decade, the new central and east European member states have had the tremendous challenge of transforming their higher-education systems in order to make themselves more democratic and become full members of the European family;

    22. ARE PLEASED TO NOTE that the Legislative Reform Programme in Higher Education and Research has made an appropriate, constructive and effective contribution to meeting these challenges and that the project was carried out with financial and professional support from all the member states;

    23. WELCOME the shared intention of the Higher Education and Research Committee and the Education Committee to use the experience acquired as a basis for a common strategy of partnership for development of education policies and practices in areas for which the Council of Europe has immediate responsibility;

    24. INVITE the Education Committee and the Higher Education and Research Committee to incorporate this aim into their bilateral and multilateral actions, and STRESS that financial contributions by member states are essential to the continued success of this action;

    25. particularly URGE the Council of Europe, through bilateral and multilateral action regionally as part of the Bologna Process and in co-operation with other European partners, to help consolidate convergence of the various systems needed to create a European area of higher education;

    26. WELCOME the fact that the programme has highlighted and validated the mission of higher education in the development of democratic society, one presupposing high standards as regards accessibility, equal opportunity, professionalism, international-mindedness and development of a participatory and tolerant spirit;

    27. OBSERVE with satisfaction that this project has aided the emergence of European consensus on the general principles for organising and managing a higher education system founded on the common values of freedom of speech and academic independence as referred to in the European Convention on Human Rights and the 1989 Magna Carta of European Universities;

    28. NOTE with interest that the programme has identified a list of functions and responsibilities specific to the various tiers of the system;

    29. RECOMMEND that, in association with the Observatory of Fundamental Values and Rights of Universities set up by the Conference of European Rectors under the Bologna Process, the Higher Education and Research Committee continue its work on standards for organising and managing higher education systems.

    Draft common guidelines for education for democratic citizenship

    The draft common guidelines identify the core elements of education for democratic citizenship (EDC) and provide a comprehensive and integrated approach for policy and practice in this area.

    Definition and objectives

    Education for democratic citizenship:

    – is based on the fundamental principles of human rights, pluralist democracy and the rule of law;
    – refers in particular to rights and responsibilities, empowerment, participation and belonging, and respect for diversity;
    – includes all age groups and sectors of society;
    – aims to prepare young people and adults for active participation in democratic society, thus strengthening democratic culture;
    – is instrumental in the fight against violence, xenophobia, racism, aggressive nationalism and intolerance;
    – contributes to social cohesion, social justice and the common good;
    – strengthens civil society by helping to make its citizens informed and knowledgeable and endowing them with democratic skills;
    – should be differentiated according to national, social, cultural, historical contexts.

    Democratic citizenship

    Education for democratic citizenship is based on a multifaceted and process-focused approach to citizenship which includes:

    – a political dimension - participation in the decision-making process and exercise of political power;
    – a legal dimension - being aware of and exercising citizens’ rights and responsibilities;
    – a cultural dimension - respect for all peoples, fundamental democratic values, both a shared and divergent history and heritage, and contributing to peaceful intercultural relations;
    – a social and economic dimension – in particular, the fight against poverty and exclusion, considering new forms of work and community development, and how the economy can foster a democratic society;

    – a European dimension - being aware of the unity and diversity of European culture, and learning to live in a European context;
    – a global dimension – recognising and promoting global interdependence and solidarity.

    Skills and competencies for democratic citizenship

    Democratic citizenship skills and competencies:

    – are part of social and life skills;
    – give equal importance to knowledge and values, and attitudes and the capacity for action and participation in a democratic society;
    – imply that citizens should learn to be free, autonomous and creative, to think critically, be aware of their rights and responsibilities, and be able to participate in teamwork, peaceful dialogue and negotiation;
    – are constituent elements of educational strategies for democratic citizenship;
    – need to be learned, maintained and renewed constantly, at all age levels.

    Learning approaches for democratic citizenship

    Education for democratic citizenship:

    – is a lifelong learning process;
    – is social learning, that is, learning for, in and about society, and learning to live together;
    – implies the democratisation of learning by focusing on the learner and her or his autonomy and responsibility in the learning process, hence implying the reciprocity of teaching and learning;
    – is achieved through multiple, interconnected, transversal learning approaches, for example through civic education, human rights education, intercultural education, education for peace and global understanding and media education;
    – is based on experience and practice;
    – requires an open curriculum which includes participative and interactive approaches based upon learning through experience, action and co-operation;
    – takes place in a broad range of formal and non-formal education settings, which increasingly need to converge, such as the family, schools and universities, adult education, the workplace, enterprise, NGOs, local communities, the media, cultural and leisure initiatives;
    – is reinforced by continual evaluation, in particular learners’ self-assessment.

    The democratic learning environment

    Education for democratic citizenship:

    – promotes and is promoted by a democratic learning environment in schools and universities and a whole-school approach, in terms of school ethos, learning and teaching methods and the participation of pupils, students, educational staff and parents in decision making and, as far as possible, in determining the formal and informal curriculum;
    – requires that pupils and students be recognised as subjects of rights on the one hand, and as holders of rights on the other;
    – involves complementary educational actors, such as teachers, parents, NGOs, local authorities, social partners, as well as leaders from the business community;
    – is enhanced and sustained by a creative and supportive interaction between educational institutions and the community, implying co-operation between formal and non-formal learning;
    – requires the necessary legal and financial provisions for autonomous development at all levels.

    Sites of citizenship

    Sites of citizenship:

    – are new or innovative forms of management of democratic life;
    – are initiatives rooted in civil society, in schools, communities, youth and cultural centres, NGOs;
    – practice participative and representative democracy at local level, where citizens speak up, express their needs and interests and respond to different aspects of social life, such as exclusion and discrimination, as well as foster communication between different ethnic groups in a multicultural setting;
    – provide learning opportunities, in formal and non-formal learning environments, in the context of lifelong learning;
    – constitute a network for action research, linking theory and practice, training, exchange and twinning arrangements to strengthen mutual support;
    – are enhanced by effective partnerships between EDC actors and support institutions.

    Educational policies

    Policies to strengthen education for democratic citizenship should:

    – focus on both formal and non-formal education and enhance synergies and mutual support;
    – consider the values and principles of education for democratic citizenship as an essential goal of the entire curriculum and as criteria for quality assurance of education systems;
    – adopt a holistic approach to skills and competencies and apply learner-centred and participative methods to all areas related to school, teacher training, adult education curricula, and evaluation and assessment;
    – include education for democratic citizenship as part of social learning in vocational education and training;
    – encourage the recognition of skills, qualifications and training in education for democratic citizenship, which have been acquired in both formal and non-formal contexts;
    – support the production of learning resources by authors from different sectors of society, which focus on learning processes and are accompanied by training in their use;
    – draw-up legislation for education for democratic citizenship.

    Support systems for education for democratic citizenship

    Education for democratic citizenship should be further promoted by:

    – establishing partnerships among the actors in education for democratic citizenship;
    – placing value on democratic youth cultures and lifestyles and on young people’s self expression and aspiration to be heard, and making this a basis for education for democratic citizenship;
    – carrying out participatory basic and applied research and development in education for democratic citizenship, thus contributing to the monitoring of EDC initiatives and innovations and to EDC training and curriculum development;
    – promoting information and communication technologies in education, paying particular attention to the selection and critical assessment of information, and to supporting access to and initiatives in ICT related to EDC;
    – developing the awareness and the practice of corporate social responsibility;
    – creating conditions in which business and the social partners may support education for democratic citizenship.

Resolution on the European Language Portfolio 

    The European Ministers of Education, meeting in Cracow for the 20th session of their Standing Conference,


    – the conclusions and recommendations of the 19th Session of the Standing Conference of the European Ministers of Education;
    – Recommendation No. R (98) 6 of the Committee of Ministers to member states concerning modern languages;
    – Recommendation 1383 (1998) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on linguistic diversification;
    – the encouraging results of the PILOT PROJECTS conducted in 15 member states in an initial pilot phase (1998 to 2000) in order to explore the practical potential, feasibility and effects of a European Language Portfolio.


    The Governments of member states, in harmony with their education policies:

    1. implement or create conditions favourable for the implementation and wide use of the ELP according to the “Principles and guidelines” laid down by the Education Committee;

    2. Where it is decided to introduce the ELP, they:

    2.1. ask a competent body (such as a national committee) to examine ELP models for compulsory education, to establish whether they meet the agreed criteria, and to forward them with a recommendation to the European Validation Committee;
    2.2. ask the competent body to monitor compliance with the “Principles and guidelines” at the national, regional, local level;
    2.3. create conditions to enable learners to use ELPs throughout formal and informal education;
    2.4. assist teachers in the effective use of the ELP through appropriate training programmes and support;
    2.5. take steps to ensure that an ELP is acknowledged as a valid record of competence regardless of its country, region, sector or institution of origin;
    2.6. facilitate co-operation between education institutions and other relevant agencies at all levels, be they public or private, with a view to the harmonious development and implementation of ELPs;
    2.7.  monitor the dissemination and impact of the ELP and report the findings to the Council of Europe regularly, and at least once every three years.

    Principles and guidelines
    In the interest of

    – the quality and credibility of the European Language Portfolio as a pedagogic and reporting tool and of
    – the quality, validity and transparency of individual ELPs in a European context
    – authorities, decision makers, ELP developers, teachers and learners undertake to follow these “Principles and guidelines” when creating, using and promoting the European Language Portfolio.

    1. The ELP reflects the Council of Europe’s aims, in particular:

    1.1. the deepening of mutual understanding among citizens in Europe;
    1.2. respect for diversity of cultures and ways of life;
    1.3. the protection and promotion of linguistic and cultural diversity;
    1.4. the development of plurilingualism as a life-long process;
    1.5. the personal development of the language learner;
    1.6. the development of independent language learning ability;
    1.7. transparency and coherence in language learning programmes;
    1.8. the clear description of language competence and qualifications in order to facilitate mobility.

    2. The ELP:
    2.1. is a tool to promote plurilingualism and pluriculturalism;
    2.2. is the property of the learner;
    2.3. builds on the full range of the learner’s language and intercultural competence and experience regardless of whether acquired within or outside formal education;
    2.4. is a tool to promote learner autonomy;
    2.5. has both a pedagogic function of guiding and supporting the learner in the process of language learning and a reporting function in recording language proficiency;
    2.6. is based on the Common European Framework of Reference with explicit reference to the common standards of proficiency;
    2.7. encourages learner self-assessment (which is usually combined with teacher assessment) and assessment by educational authorities and examination bodies;
    2.8. incorporates a minimum of common features (outlined below) which make it recognisable and comprehensible across Europe;
    2.9 may be one of a series of ELP models that the individual learner will possess in the course of life-long learning. ELP models can cater for the needs of learners according to age, learning purpose and context and background.

    3. The authorities which undertake to produce an ELP for one or more target groups of learners should:

    3.1. develop ELPs in conformity with the aims and principles described in this document and in the Common European Framework of Reference;

    3.2. respect the basic division of the ELP into three parts so that the learners have the possibility to use each of these according to their particular needs in their different learning contexts;

    The Passport section provides an overview of the individual’s proficiency in different languages at a given point in time; the overview is defined in terms of skills and the common reference levels in the Common European Framework; it records formal qualifications and describes language abilities and significant language and intercultural learning experiences; it includes information on partial and specific competence; it allows for self-assessment, teacher assessment and assessment by educational institutions and examinations boards; it requires that information entered in the Passport states on what basis, when and by whom the assessment was carried out. To facilitate pan-European recognition and mobility a standard presentation of a Passport Summary is promoted by the Council of Europe for ELPs for adults.

    The Language Biography facilitates the learner’s involvement in planning, reflecting upon and assessing his or her learning process and progress; it encourages the learner to state what she or he can do in each language and to include information on linguistic and cultural experiences gained in and outside formal educational contexts; it is organised to promote plurilingualism, that is the development of proficiency in a number of languages.

    The Dossier offers the learner the opportunity to select materials to document and illustrate achievements or experiences recorded in the Language Biography or Passport.

    3.3. adhere to terminological conventions, standard headings and rubrics as specified by the Council of Europe in at least one of the official languages of the Council of Europe (English or French) in addition to any other languages;

    3.4. make the ELP and related documents available in the national language(s) and as far as relevant and practically feasible in the target languages and in the languages of the learners;

    3.5. adapt the ELP to the diversity of learners’ needs according to age, learning purposes and contexts, and background, and in particular to develop where appropriate distinctive ELP models for different age groups whilst taking measures to ensure easy mutual recognition of all models and continuity between different educational institutions, sectors, regions and countries;

    3.6. respect the European character of the ELP so as to promote mutual recognition of Portfolios within and across national boundaries, which requires the recording of competencies in an internationally transparent manner by relating them to the categories and levels of proficiency described in the Common European Framework;

    3.7. submit the ELP for approval before its publication and implementation to the Council of Europe or other bodies nominated by it for this purpose;

    3.8. monitor and evaluate the use of the ELP and report the results to the appropriate co-ordinating body;

    3.9. seek to improve the ELP in the light of experience.

    4. The authorities and education institutions using an ELP should:

    4.1. create the conditions in which the ELP can be used effectively with regard to the agreed aims and principles, and especially seeking the closest possible co-ordination between ELPs and national curricula;
    4.2. make it possible for learners who so wish to obtain and use an ELP;
    4.3. recognise the learner as the owner of the ELP;
    4.4. ensure that the aims and the purposes of the ELP are understood by the learners and that they can understand the content;
    4.5. promote the concept of European citizenship by providing a record of all language competencies and experiences, including, where appropriate, indigenous languages of minorities and languages of migrants;
    4.6. ensure that learners are strongly encouraged to develop competencies in several languages which may include partial and specific competencies (for example receptive skills, competence in specified tasks) even at modest levels of proficiency;
    4.7. assist teachers in the use of the ELP through teacher training programmes, providing them with all necessary support;
    4.8. help learners to use the ELP effectively;
    4.9. help learners to develop autonomy, a critical awareness of their learning and to assess their language and intercultural competence;
    4.10. acknowledge all language and intercultural competence equally, regardless of whether it is acquired within or outside formal education;
    4.11. recognise, support and value other ELPs which individual learners may possess and wish to present or maintain;
    4.12. publicise the ELP and disseminate examples of good practice.

Resolution on the activity programme for 2001-03 

    The European Ministers of Education, meeting in Cracow for their 20th session:

    1. CONSIDERING the Final Declarations of the Strasbourg Summit (1997) and the 104th meeting of the Committee of Ministers at Budapest (1999);

    2. RECALLING that the Statute of the Council of Europe and the European Cultural Convention constitute the policy framework of their action in the field of education;

    3. NOTING that the results of European education co-operation are hereafter a key element in reflecting upon and working out education policies in each of the signatories to the European Cultural Convention;

    4. HAVING DISCUSSED the principal theme of their 20th session, “Education policies for democratic citizenship and social cohesion: challenges and strategies for Europe” and adopted a general policy declaration on these issues,

    5. NOTING with satisfaction the quality of the results of the projects in the 1997-2000 work programme;

    6. CONSIDERING the need to implement a new work programme for 2001-03, which will guarantee both the continuity and renewal of its work programme;



    – concentrate their resources on achieving the following objectives:

    . educating and training future citizens so that they achieve their full potential in exercising the rights and performing the duties that democratic society confers on them;

    . developing education policies and practices aimed at social cohesion, in particular by devising education strategies that meet the new social, economic, cultural and political realities in each of the member states and in Europe as a whole;

    . responding to specific needs and problems of particular countries or regions through well-targeted, advice and support activities for the renewal of educational structures and contents;

    – continuing the efforts already under way to improve the coherence of the activities of the Education Committee and the Higher Education and Research Committee with a view to a comprehensive educational co-operation programme;

    – wherever possible and appropriate, seeking opportunities for synergy or cross-sector co-operation with the various relevant bodies within the Council of Europe and with other international organisations, in particular Unesco, the European Union and the Nordic Council of Ministers, and non-governmental organisations;

    – continuously evaluating each activity as regards the objectives pursued, the means employed and the dissemination and impact of the results in member states;


    – implement a programme of activities (2001-03) following the orientations below:

    i. in education for democratic citizenship:

    – continuing the work in the crucial area of education for democratic citizenship so as to promote active citizenship and democratic values in a context of lifelong learning;
    – fostering awareness of citizens’ rights and responsibilities;
    – helping member states frame and implement education policies and strategies involving education for democratic citizenship as an integral part of their education reform processes;
    – intensifying exchange of experiences and of conceptual and policy thinking, in partnership with civil society;
    – to analyse the role and influence of the media in education for democratic citizenship;
    – in developing education for democratic citizenship programmes further account should be taken of the equality of opportunities in acquiring education for democratic citizenship skills;
    – strengthening pre-service and in-service teacher training;
    – developing an interactive website;
    – disseminating the results of the 1997-2000 “Education for democratic citizenship” project, in particular through a pan-European campaign;

    ii. in history teaching:

    – developing the work on learning and teaching history in the 21st century with a view to strengthening relations of trust and tolerance within and between the signatories to the European Cultural Convention and in particular between neighbouring countries;
    – disseminating the results of the Learning and Teaching about the History of Europe in the 20th century project and the teaching material it has produced, with appropriate use of information and communication technologies, in particular through the development of the Internet site and the production of a CD-Rom;
    – stepping up assistance activities concerning design of new history curricula and setting of standards for history teaching, including the production of new textbooks in the Russian Federation, the countries of the Caucasus, Southeast Europe and the Black Sea region;
    – elaborating a recommendation of the Committee of Ministers in this field.
    iii. in modern languages:

    – conducting the European Year of Languages in 2001 and launching a new project on language policies for intercultural understanding and citizenship aimed at:
    – promoting and valuing Europe’s linguistic and cultural diversity;
    – developing education systems that produce multilingual and multicultural citizens capable of communicating and co-operating with individuals and groups with different linguistic and cultural identities;
    – recognising the value of language learning at all levels in the perspective of lifelong learning;
    – promoting the quality and effectiveness of language learning and teaching both in schools and in out-of-school activities;
    – developing a whole range of principles and guidelines for specific actions within the language policy framework that respond to urgent needs of certain member states or regions of Europe;

    iv. implementing, 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;

    v. continuing the ongoing dialogue on education policy and strategy issues connected with education’s contribution to social cohesion,

    vi. conducting exploratory work on educational policies for and the educational needs of Roma/Gypsies in all its dimensions, drawing on relevant experience in member states;

    vii. promoting the European dimension among teaching staff and secondary school pupils through an in-service training programme for educational staff, support for the “Europe at School” competition, and the “European Secondary School Student Exchange” pilot programme;

    viii. developing co-operation and partnership activities, particularly with Unesco, the European Union and the Nordic Council of Ministers, for education development, by guaranteeing effective co-ordination of each activity and by enhancing sectorial actions with additional ones, aiming at the smooth development of the education system in its entirety.


– to establish its programme for the years 2001-03 according to the following orientations:

    – contributing in a substantial way to the Bologna Process of higher education reform in Europe, with the goal of rendering European higher education more competitive, improving mobility and the recognition of qualifications and reforming structures;
    – continuing, in this context, to play its role as a main forum for the development of policies in favour of the recognition of qualifications in Europe, in close co-operation with Unesco and the European Commission;
    – implementing, with the Education Committee, the new project Teaching and Learning in the Communication Society;
    – continuing its action in favour of the reform and development of higher education in priority areas, in particular in Southeast Europe, the Russian Federation and the Caucasian countries, where appropriate in co-operation with other intergovernmental organisations, including non-governmental organisations;
    – developing actions aiming to reinforce the role of higher education in citizenship and human rights education as well as in respect of cultural and linguistic diversity, taking into account in particular the pilot project on the University as a Site of Citizenship, European Studies for Democratic Citizenship and the activities of the Education Committee in the framework of the European Year of Languages;
    – developing activities in the field of research policy, in particular as concerns the ethical dimension, with regard to the basic values of the Council of Europe;
    – undertaking an activity on the identity and role of the European academic community, as a follow up to the joint project with the Cultural heritage Committee on the heritage of European universities, in the framework of the "Europe, a common heritage" campaign.


    – in the context of the priority objectives set for the Organisation, strengthen education co-operation, one of the pillars of the Council of Europe, and provide it with the resources it needs for translating fundamental principles and values into day-to-day reality in member states and the daily lives of all their citizens.


    – to employ all means available to ensure continual dissemination of the results of European education co-operation at all levels;
    – to contribute to the implementation of the activities and projects of the new medium-term work programme, whose main thrusts are described above;

    EXPRESS their gratitude to the Hungarian authorities for their offer of an extraordinary contribution to the Council of Europe's education programme for the three coming years and TAKE good note of their invitation to the other delegations to follow suite in a spirit of solidarity.


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    EXPRESS their gratitude to the Polish authorities for their hospitality on the occasion of the 20th Session of their Standing Conference and warmly THANK Greece for its offer to organise their forthcoming session.