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Ref. DC 064(2016)

European ministers back new tool for securing democracy through education

Brussels, 12.04.2016 – Education ministers from across the continent have given their backing to a new tool to help teach democracy and democratic values in schools and other settings.

Following a two-day conference in Brussels, representatives of the 50 countries covered by the European Cultural Convention also agreed to help put the tool into practice by supporting its testing at national, regional and European level.

Speaking at the conference, Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland said: “This tool sets out, for the first time ever, the specific competences needed by young citizens across all of our democracies: How to live in a society where not everyone thinks like you.

“In the long term, education policies and practices will be more decisive for tolerance and stability than any counter-terror measure, asylum reform or any new law.”

The new tool – called the Council of Europe Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture – sets out a series of 20 key competences needed to play an active role in democratic society and explains how these can be defined and measured.

It has been developed by the Council of Europe, with input from over a thousand teachers and experts from across the continent, as part of the organisation’s work to help tackle violent radicalisation and terrorism and to promote inclusive societies.

Participants at the conference also committed to increasing the effectiveness and status of education for democratic citizenship and human rights education in all levels of education and training.

Further information

-          Conference website

-          Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland’s opening speech

-          Final Declaration

Contact

Andrew Cutting, Council of Europe Spokesperson/Media Officer in Brussels, tel. +32 485 217 202