European Commission Colloquium Underlines the Importance of Education

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A Way to Prevent Violent Radicalisation

On May 26 a colloquium was held in Brussels on “Promoting Inclusion and Fundamental Values through Education. The objectives of the Colloquium were to take stock of progress since the adoption of the Paris Declaration at EU, national, regional and local level. During the colloquium to showcase some innovative and inspiring practices and to contribute to key policy messages to support further the implementation of the Paris Declaration on promoting citizenship and the common values of freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination through education. In short, this declaration calls for the mobilisation of the education sector at European, national, regional and local level on the following four objectives:

  1. Ensuring young people acquire social, civic and intercultural competences, by promoting democratic values and fundamental rights, social inclusion and non-discrimination, as well as active citizenship
  2. Enhancing critical thinking and media literacy, particularly in the use of the Internet and social media, so as to develop resistance to of discrimination and indoctrination
  3. Fostering the education of disadvantaged children and young people, by ensuring that our education and training systems address their needs
  4. Promoting intercultural dialogue through all forms of learning in cooperation with other relevant policies and stakeholders

The declaration was adopted in March 2015 and considering the events occurring worldwide, there is an urgent need to accelerate actions on the ground, while seeking long term solutions that focus on strengthening the role of education in fostering inclusion and promoting fundamental values.

EuroClio ambassador Sylvia Semmet attended the academic conference in Brussels. She listened, with much interest, to the speakers there. According to Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, “we need to defend our values”. He stressed the importance of linking “the European to the local”. Barry van Driel, Secretary General of the International Association for Intercultural Education, and International Director for Teacher Training and Curriculum Development at the Anne Frank House, linked this to the classroom, encouraging teachers to address political aspects. He also highly promoted the professionalisation of teachers. According to him EuroClio stands as a good player in the field and as one to provide good practice.

Critical thinking and media literacy play important roles in promoting inclusion and fundamental values. Thomas Myrup Kristensen, Managing Director for EU Affairs and Head of Facebook’s Brussels office, promoted digital literacy as a core issue and stressed that Facebook was looking for partners from civil society  to promote this. In the closing remarks, Martine Reicherts, Director-General for Education and Culture, European Commission, put the focus on “collaboration as the key“.

For more information about the colloquium or video’s of the speakers, you can read the Background Note or the Leaflet below, or go to the official webpage of the European Commission.

EuroClio Supports Council of Europe Project on Quality History Education

In 2016-2017, the Council of Europe History Teaching Unit is implementing a new inter-governmental project entitled “Educating for Democracy and Diversity. Quality History Education for the 21st Century”. In this project four regional seminars are envisioned across Europe, aiming to collect examples of high quality in dealing with a variety of issues that can be seen as supportive of the role of history education in dealing with current challenges in Europe. These issues include topics like teaching sensitive and controversial history, diversity, history education in the digital age and the effective engagement of young people.

The Council of Europe organised the first regional seminar in Tallinn, Estonia, hosted at the occasion of the Estonian Chairmanship of the Council of Europe and in close cooperation with the University of Tallinn. EuroClio Ambassadors Mare Oja and Benny Christensen were part of the local team, as EuroClio Ambassador and former President Dean Smart and EuroClio Director Jonathan Even-Zohar were there to support in reporting and moderating various session. The overall reporting was done by Council of Europe expert Luisa Black, supported by colleagues John Hamer and Brian Carvell.

The seminar was a great opportunity for discussion and networking, among policy makers and expert practitioners and representatives of history teachers associations from the wider North of Europe. EuroClio is very glad at the opportunity to collaborate closely with the Council of Europe in this project. The next regional meeting will be in Greece in October.

Council of Europe