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For the promotion of a culture of democracy and human rights through teacher education

Recommendation 1849 (2008)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 3 October 2008 (36th Sitting) (see Doc. 11624, report of the Committee on Culture, Science and Education, rapporteur: Mr Glăvan). Text adopted by the Assembly on 3 October 2008 (36th Sitting).
1. The Council of Europe places special importance on the learning of democracy. Consistent with its mission and the fundamental values it promotes, it considers education, culture and science to be pillars of European society, in a period of new challenges and situations, which require co-operation and common efforts.
2. Member states have long acknowledged that democracy and human rights need to be learned and that teachers play a fundamental role in this respect.
3. The Action Plan of the 3rd Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe (Warsaw, May 2005), and the recommendations of the 22nd Session of the Standing Conference of European Ministers of Education (Istanbul, May 2007) call on the Council of Europe to step up its work in the field of teacher education. More recently, the Parliamentary Assembly adopted Recommendations 1682 (2004) on education for Europe and 1791 (2007) on the state of human rights and democracy in Europe, which call on the Council of Europe to adopt a framework policy document on education for human rights and democratic citizenship. Such a framework document will have to address, inter alia, the issue of teacher education.
4. The Assembly strongly supports the activities organised by the Council of Europe as follow-up to these recommendations. It also notes with great interest the initiative of the Norwegian authorities to launch a European resource centre on education for intercultural understanding, human rights and democratic citizenship, one of the main objectives of which will be the training of teachers and educators in these fields.
5. The Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers call on governments and the appropriate authorities of member states to turn to good account the experience and expertise of the Council of Europe in this field. In particular:
5.1 preparing children for life in a democratic society should be recognised as an overall aim of primary and secondary education policies;
5.2 the competences required for promoting the culture of democracy and human rights in the classroom should be introduced in the curriculum for the education of teachers of all subjects;
5.3 a lifelong learning perspective in respect of teacher education should be promoted to help teachers adapt to the needs of rapidly changing democratic societies;
5.4 grassroots initiatives on teacher education in the field of democracy learning should be supported and promoted.
6. The Assembly further recommends that the Committee of Ministers:
6.1 recognise the role of teachers and other educational staff as important actors in promoting the culture of human rights and democracy;
6.2 express its renewed support of the Council of Europe’s “Pestalozzi” programme for education professionals;
6.3 encourage broad dissemination of practical tools on teacher education developed by the Council of Europe in the areas of education for democratic citizenship and human rights;
6.4 support the development of an appropriate Council of Europe framework policy document on education for democratic citizenship and human rights.