EDUCATION AND CULTURE COMMITTEE
Strasbourg, 2 June 2014
The Education and Culture Committee, with Ms Sabine Rohmann in the chair:
Thoughts on the current situation following the terrorist attacks in Paris and Copenhagen. Ms Rohmann emphasised the important role played by education, whether formal, non-formal or informal, in combating radicalisation, in particular among young people, and in defending democratic values.
Ms Rohmann gave the floor to Mohammed Abou, former head of the University of Oran and former Minister for Administrative Reform (2011-2012). “We would be very pleased if Mr Abou would act as an intermediary between our committee and Algeria in organising a conference on “intercultural education for democratic citizenship and human rights”, following on from the work to create a genuine Africa/Europe partnership”.
Ms Rohmann went on to describe the general objectives of the Education and Culture Committee and its working groups.
The Education and Culture Committee undertook:
It saw this work as making a contribution:
in order to support the sustainable development of democratic societies.
To achieve these objectives, four working groups had been set up:
4. Statement by Nawel Rafik Elmrini, Representative of the Chamber of Local Authorities of the Council of Europe – Deputy Mayor of Strasbourg: Presentation of the report “Promoting diversity through intercultural education and communication strategies”
Current developments were giving cause for concern as they carried a risk of social division. On Sunday 11 January 4 million people had taken to the streets in France, calling for unity, solidarity, fraternity, freedom and the rule of law, i.e. a proper culture of “living together” and genuine “intercultural” education.
Basic requirements for a better integrated society, which was the only guarantee of lasting peace in our democracies:
Diversity was widely perceived as a threat. It was important to establish a pact to promote intercultural understanding by making use of every available lever:
“Citizenship and interculturality are the backbone of democracy”.
“Otherness is an opportunity for enrichment, not a threat”.
5- Statement by Ulrich Bunjes, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe for Roma Issues on the Council of Europe programme for Roma
As far back as 2010, the Council of Europe had been developing programmes to improve the lives of the Roma. Since then, there had been some improvements in certain countries but also, here and there, some setbacks. Little prospect of change in the near future for the 12 million Roma living in extreme poverty.
Attention should be focused on four areas:
The talk was followed by a discussion with members of the Education and Culture Committee.
6. Working group reports:
- Education in intercultural dialogue – Living together in Europe – Person in charge: Roseline Moreau
Roseline Moreau invited the forty or so participants to get involved in this initiative. The purpose of this meeting, therefore, was to consider what areas to focus on. What plans should be made for the coming three years? What innovative measures should be included in the vade‑mecum which the Education and Culture Committee was hoping to bring out? Sabine Rohmann, the committee chair, suggested the possibility of creating sub-groups, including one focusing specifically on Roma populations.
This was followed by a large number of comments from the floor. Participants suggested a number of possible avenues that could lead to innovative solutions. These were presented:
either as specific topics:
or as organising principles:
To conclude, Sabine Rohmann stressed the need to aim for an inclusive education and to make use of our European networks in order to increase the number of countries represented.
Roseline Moreau explained that a work plan would be drawn up for this group, based on a summary of the proposals, which would be examined in the light of the key Council of Europe texts on intercultural dialogue and living together in Europe today.
Teachers interacting with their environment – A shared responsibility for education in European values – Person in charge: François Debrowolska
The participants began by asking themselves the following question: what could be done to help teachers in their educational work, having due regard to the environment in all its forms?
After the discussion, the working group set itself the goal of discovering ways to help teachers, with a message for teachers and politicians alike.
In conclusion: the group reached a consensus: there was a need to “requalify individuals”: the group would draw on the Council of Europe Teacher Manifesto for the 21st Century, as discussed at the conference on “The professional image and ethos of teachers” in April 2014.
- History teaching – Moving towards a European narrative for genuine education for democratic citizenship – Person in charge: Alain Mouchoux
Following the death of our dear friend Alain Mouchoux, the group would work with its leader to identify some priorities for discussion and action.
- Proper use of digital media in educational practice – A challenge for formal and non-formal education for democratic citizenship and participation – Person in charge: Didier Schretter
Mr Schretter reminded participants that the working group had originally been set up to discuss internet access for all within a human rights context. He also pointed out that this was a major issue for the Council of Europe which had been working in this area with 130 experts and which had drafted Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to member States
on a Guide to human rights for Internet users, adopted on 16 April 2014.
Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)6 showed that members of the Conference of INGOs had a number of mutual concerns:
Mr Schretter suggested that the group divide its work over the next three years into three phases:
Participants were asked to send any documents, suggestions and other information gathered about the group’s future work themes to d[email protected].
7. Conclusion: outline of proposals for better communication, by Didier Schretter
Better communication required that we:
3-year work programme:
Rapporteur of the Education and Culture Committee