B Explanatory memorandum, by Mr Glăvan
1 Democracy is a type of society
which operates through participation, ownership and the exercise
of rights and responsibilities by each citizen. As a historic project,
democracy is the first form of governance which is not imposed,
it is assumed. For this, the democratic state needs to form a minimum
level of civic culture for all citizens.
2 Educational institutions and professional trainers have an
essential role in this process. School is the place where systemic
transmission of knowledge takes place, where pupils have the occasion
to practise participative democracy directly and to learn how to
live in a diverse environment. At school age, young people learn
how to organise themselves in self-governing bodies, to negotiate
and communicate, to solve conflicts in a non-violent way, to observe
differences and to exercise their rights and responsibilities.
3 These competences do not appear automatically. There has to
be a set of learning situations, created and oriented by teachers.
4 In this perspective, the present document is centred on teacher
education and the formation of the necessary competences for educational
staff in order that they may be in a position to contribute to education for
democratic citizenship and human rights and to cope with sociocultural
diversity in a democratic manner. In this way, we wish to draw attention
to the importance of the teachers in the democracy learning processes
and to turn to good account the experience and expertise of the
Council of Europe in this field.
education in the Council of Europe context
5 Teachers and other categories
of educational staff have been the main beneficiaries of the projects
of the Council of Europe in the field of education. The “Pestalozzi”
programme is well known for its influence and the expertise it brought
about in continuing teacher training in fields of common interest,
such as education for democratic citizenship (EDC), human rights
education (HRE), intercultural and inclusive education, history teaching,
plurilinguism and education for Europe.
6 Moreover, each project of the Council of Europe in the field
of education contains at least one explicit component meant for
teachers which is usually finalised through methodological guides,
tool kits, working instruments or even curricula for teacher training.
The 4th Prague Forum (2005) was dedicated to teacher education,
to the new roles and teachers’ competences in the new European context.
On this occasion, as well as on the occasion of other events concerning
European policies on teacher education, it has been found that, on
the one hand, it is necessary to diversify the educational profession
(as exercised not only by the traditional teacher, who transmits
knowledge, but also by experts in social relations and human development,
as mediators, tutors, counsellors and learning facilitators). On
the other hand, it has been underlined that democracy learning needs
a permanent updating of teachers’ competences, so that the programmes
of teacher education (both pre-service and in-service) take into
account citizenship needs and human rights education as well as
diversity education requirements.
3 Teacher education
and democracy learning
7 There is a great variety of
experiences and institutional settings for teacher education throughout Europe.
As shown by a survey undertaken by the Council of Europe in 2006-2007,
the teacher education programmes offer a great diversity of solutions,
contents and training situations. In general, the programmes of
initial or preservice training try to take into account the needs
in the field of democracy learning, within the limits of each specialisation.
More and more, the suppliers of teacher training are realising that
EDC/HRE promote experiential learning and the direct practice of
living together to a greater extent than knowledge-centred courses.
These courses, either delivered as modules included in other programmes
or being the object of specific programmes as such, are directly
linked to real life problems, which they try to solve with the help of
human rights and citizenship practices. Such programmes are based
on projects and learning by doing, on social learning and problem
solving. Among others, these programmes prepare teachers to organise
non-formal learning and to participate in democratic school governance,
in order to develop partnerships with the parents, local authorities
and civil society.
8 In a very pragmatic manner, as demonstrated by the “Pestalozzi”
programme of the Council of Europe, in service teacher education
is complementary to initial training and permits the development
or the deepening of competences which initial training could not
tackle other than in an incipient manner.
4 Key competences
for teacher education
9 The teachers are the key factor
in educational processes: they must transform objectives into effective teaching
practices and these practices should be materialised in appropriate
learning outcomes. In other words, the teachers must have the necessary
competences to carry out this set of educational and managerial transformations.
10 According to the definition promoted in the Council of Europe
projects, competence is a set of knowledge, skills and attitudes
which permit a person to solve the specific problems of a given
social, cultural and political context. What is generically understood
through “citizenship competence” or “civic literacy” is the totality
of knowledge, skills and attitudes which permit the exercise of
rights and responsibilities in a specific “polity” (public sphere).
11 As for teachers’ professional competences, they are in fact
a set of specific competences enabling them to carry out certain
educational activities in the field of citizenship, human rights
and diversity education.
- subject-based competence;
- social and civic competence.
Civic competence can include, in its turn, certain skills
and attitudes, such as:
capacity to incorporate EDC/HRE principles into teaching practice
- knowing how to implement rights and responsibilities in
- respect for the rights of learners and sensitivity to
their needs and interests;
- the ability to promote a positive classroom climate;
- co-operative learning skills;
- team work;
- taking shared responsibilities;
- coping with conflicts;
- intercultural mediation;
- emphatic communication;
- participation in collective decision making;
- the capacity to develop projects and create non-formal
- the capacity to manage situations arising from discrimination,
injustice, racism, sexism and marginalisation;
- the ability to bring up and discuss openly the problems
imposed by a hidden curriculum;
- the ability to adjust teaching styles to a variety of
- the capacity to stimulate active participation within
the school community;
- the capacity to take part in public debates;
- the ability to encourage exchanges, openness and interaction.
12 In the framework of the Council
of Europe a tool on democratic citizenship and human rights education competences
for teachers is currently being developed. The tool is aimed at
assisting the member states in introducing and developing citizenship
competences in the curriculum for initial and in-service teacher
training for teachers of all subjects.
5 European co-operation
on teacher education for democracy learning
13 Teacher education is a complex
activity, which calls for particular attention from policy makers.
While education is extended to all sectors of social life and the
school is considered as a lever of public policies, the teachers’
role has increased considerably. With the large acceptance of citizenship
principles and democratic governance, the teachers are more and
more involved in solving certain proximity problems which require
the exercise of rights and responsibilities.
14 School is not only a place of knowledge sharing and knowledge
transmission, but also an institution which prepares for active
citizenship, intercultural dialogue and social inclusion.
15 This perspective is common to all educational systems in Europe.
It is a new mission, a complex one, for which teachers must prepare
themselves. This presupposes that teacher education should include
not only general pedagogical preparation or subject-centred training,
but also the formation of competences in the fields of citizenship
and human rights education.
16 European co-operation has an immense potential in this respect.
The Council of Europe has always given importance to teachers and
other categories of educational staff as the main actors of education
policies in Europe. The Council of Europe has not only the expertise
and the necessary experience in building partnerships and operational
networks, but also the prestige of an organisation which has always
promoted values-oriented education and the teachers’ priority engagement
in democracy learning.
17 In this perspective, it is desirable that political decision-making
bodies, first of all the Committee of Ministers of the Council of
Europe, should give a clear message of support to the teachers’
contribution to European co-operation and urge member states to
undertake concrete measures so that teacher education should give
priority to education for democratic citizenship and human rights.
This could be done in particular by introducing citizenship competences
in the curriculum for initial and in-service teacher training for
teachers of all subjects.
Reporting committee: Committee on Culture, Science and Education.
References to committee: Doc. 10998 and Reference No.
3269 of 2 October 2006.
Draft recommendation unanimously adopted by the committee
on 21 May 2008.
Members of the committee: Mrs Anne Brasseur (Chairperson),
Baroness Hooper, Mr Detlef Dzembritzki,
Mr Mehmet Tekelioğlu (Vice-Chairpersons), Mr Remigijus Ačas, Mr
Kornél Almássy, Mrs Aneliya Atanasova,
Mr Lokman Ayva, Mr Rony Bargetze, Mr Walter Bartoš,
Mr Radu Mircea Berceanu, Mr Levan Berdzenishvili, Mrs Oksana Bilozir,
Mrs Guðfinna Bjarnadóttir, Mr Jaime Blanco García, Mrs Ana Blatnik,
Mrs Maria Luisia Boccia, Mrs Margherita Boniver, Mr Ivan Brajović,
Mr Vlad Cubreacov, Mrs Lena DabkowskaCichocka, Mr Ivica Dačić,
Mr Joseph Debono Grech, Mr Ferdinand Devinsky, Mr Daniel Ducarme, Mrs Åse Gunhild Woie Duesund, Mrs Anke Eymer, Mr
Relu Fenechiu, Mrs Blanca Fernández-Capel, Mrs Maria Emelina FernándezSoriano,
Mr Axel Fischer, Mr Gvozden Flego,
Mr José Freire Antunes, Mrs
Ruth Genner, Mr Ioannis GiannellisTheodosiadis, Mr Stefan Glǎvan,
Mr Raffi Hovannisian,
Mr Rafael Huseynov, Mr Fazail Ibrahimli,
Mr Mogens Jensen, Mr Morgan Johansson, Mrs Liana Kanelli, Mr Jan Kaźmierczak, Miss Cecilia Keaveney, Mr Ali Rashid Khalil,
Mrs Svetlana Khorkina, Mr
Serhii Kivalov, Mr Anatoliy Korobeynikov (alternate: Mr Oleg Lebedev), Mrs Elvira Kovács, Mr József Kozma, Mr Jean-Pierre Kucheida, Mr Ertuğrul Kumcuoğlu,
Mr Markku Laukkanen, Mr Jacques Legendre, Mr van der Linden,
Mrs Milica Marković, Mrs Muriel Marland-Militello, Mr
Andrew McIntosh, Mrs Maria Manuela de
Melo, Mrs Assunta Meloni, Mr Paskal Milo, Mrs Christine Muttonen, Mrs Miroslava Nĕmcová, Mr Edward O’Hara, Mr Kent Olsson, Mr Andrey Pantev, Mrs
Antigoni Papadopoulos, Mr Azis Pollozhani,
Mrs Majda Potrata, Mrs Anta Rugāte, Lord Russell-Johnston (alternate:
Mr Robert Walter), Mr Indrek
Saar, Mr André Schneider,
Mrs Albertina Soliani, Mr Yury Solonin, Mr Christophe Steiner, Mrs
Doris Stump, Mr Valeriy Sudarenkov, Mr Petro Symonenko, Mr Hugo
Vandenberghe, Mr Klaas de Vries, Mr Piotr Wach, Mr Wolfgang Wodarg.
NB: The names of the members present at the meeting are printed
This text will be discussed at a later sitting.