On 17th January, the European Commission released two Proposals for Council Recommendations, as a follow-up to its November Communication on “Strengthening European Identity through Education and Culture”. These proposals contribute to the vision of a European Educational Area, which should be in place by 2025.
Continuing the implementation of the Paris Declaration
The Proposal for Council Recommendation on promoting common values, inclusive education, and the European dimension of teaching calls on Member States to continue to implement the commitments of the Paris Declaration, notably through promoting citizenship and ethics education; enhancing critical thinking and media literacy; enabling the active participation of teachers, parents,students and the wider community in school governance; make effective use of existing tools to promote citizenship education, notably the Council of Europe’s Competences for Democratic Culture framework. In view of promoting of a European dimension of teaching, the European Commission encourages the participation of students and teachers in the e-Twinning network and in cross-border mobility, especially for schools.
EEE-YFU welcomes this initiative and the attention given to the results of the public consultation, which was launched last summer. However, we want to stress the key role played by non-formal education providers in achieving the objectives of the Paris Declaration and the importance of continuing monitoring its implementation in Member States. While we agree that virtual exchanges can be an effective tool for intercultural learning, we believe that they cannot replace physical mobility, but they should rather complement and support it.
Emphasis on Global Citizenship and Intercultural Competences
The Proposal for a Council Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning responds to the need to update the 2006 Key Competences Framework. EEE-YFU appreciates the stronger emphasis on civic competence, active citizenship, and intercultural skills. We also welcome the strong reference to Target 4.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals, in which global citizenship education is a core aspect. As highlighted in EEE-YFU’s position paper on the revision of the Key Competences Framework, not only it is important to appropriately recognise the global dimension of social and civic competencies, but it is also crucial to including in the new framework a clear and proper definition of intercultural competence.
The YFU community of students, families, youth workers, and volunteers look forward to a European Educational Area where learners can develop global and intercultural competencies, thus contributing to the creation of peaceful and inclusive societies.