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The right to freedom of choice in education in Europe

Doc. 13010: collection of written amendments | Doc. 13010 | Final version

Caption: AdoptedRejectedWithdrawnNo electronic votes

ADraft Resolution

1The Parliamentary Assembly points out that the effective enjoyment of the right to education is a necessary precondition to enable each and every individual to fully develop and carry out his or her role in society. In order to guarantee the fundamental right to education, every education system must ensure equal opportunities and provide high-quality education for all pupils, seeking to transmit not only the knowledge required to enable them to find employment and play a full part in society, but also the values nurturing the protection and promotion of fundamental rights, democratic citizenship and social cohesion. In this respect, public authorities (at national, regional and local level) have a fundamental and irreplaceable role which they accomplish in particular through a network of educational institutions that they run (hereafter “public-run schools”).
2It is on the basis of the right to education as explained above that the right to freedom of choice in education should be understood. This right, which is intimately linked to freedom of conscience, is enshrined in Article 2 of the Additional Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights (ETS No. 9). It carries with it the obligation for all Council of Europe member States, in the exercise of their functions in the field of education and teaching, to “respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions”, insofar as these are compatible with the fundamental values of the Council of Europe.
3The Assembly welcomes the fact that the right to freedom of choice in education is recognised in the constitutions and laws of most Council of Europe member States. It considers that, within a sound national legal framework, schools which are not run by public authorities ( hereafter “private schools”, irrespective of terminology and specific arrangements in different countries) can foster the development of high-quality education and bring the education possibilities available into line with families’ demands.
4Accordingly, the Assembly recommends that the Council of Europe member States:
4.1uphold the role of public authorities in the field of education and the availability of public-run schools in all parts of the country, as well as the principle of State neutrality and pluralism in the national education system;
4.2ensure the viability and quality of the network of public-run schools;
4.3recognise clearly in law, where this has not already been done:
4.3.1the right to establish and run private schools, at least at primary and secondary level;
4.3.2the possibility for these schools to be part of the national education system;
4.3.3the possibility for their pupils to obtain the same qualifications as those awarded following the successful completion of studies in public-run schools;
4.4ensure that this recognition is subject only to objective, fair and non-discriminatory conditions;
4.5guarantee, through these conditions, the standards applicable to private schools and a system of regular inspections, that:

In paragraph 4.5 of the draft resolution, after the words “regular inspections”, add the following words: “, accreditation processes and quality assurance assessments”

Explanatory note

The purpose of the amendment is simply to flesh out the idea of regular inspections of the state of private and public education establishments.

4.5.1the content of the curricula and the teaching methods are not based on or do not advocate attitudes which conflict with the values of the Council of Europe;
4.5.2no aspect of the school environment violates the rights of children and in particular their dignity and physical and psychological integrity;
4.5.3private schools do not encourage, by the messages they deliver or the policy they implement, communitarian segregation;
4.5.4pupils are provided with suitable and secure premises;
4.5.5the quality of teaching complies with the standards applied to public-run schools;
4.5.6the nurturing of critical thinking and cultural openness are an integral part of any educational project.
5The Assembly recommends that the Council of Europe member States, while guaranteeing the viability and quality of the network of public-run schools:
5.1grant pupils attending private schools and their families the same financial benefits (education allowances or other advantages) available to pupils of public-run schools and their families;

03 October 2012

Tabled by Lady Diana ECCLES, Mr Ludo SANNEN, Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER, Mr Kent HÄRSTEDT, Mr Jim DOBBIN, Mr Michael CONNARTY

Votes: 79 in favor 4 against 4 abstentions

In the draft resolution, before paragraph 5.1, insert the following paragraph:

"ensure that sufficient funding is made available to allow all children to access statutory education provision in private education establishments if sufficient provision is not available within the public-run school sector;"

03 October 2012

Tabled by Mr Jean-Pierre MICHEL, Mr Joe BENTON, Lord John E. TOMLINSON, Mr Brian BINLEY, Mr Michael CONNARTY

Votes: 54 in favor 31 against 2 abstentions

In the draft resolution, delete paragraph 5.1.

5.2ensure that the funding of private schools which are part of the national education system is subject only to objective and non-discriminatory conditions, including those that are necessary to make sure that the amounts disbursed benefit the families in question, such as the non-profit making status of the schools concerned and the requirement for them to submit their accounts for audit.

03 October 2012

Tabled by Mr Jean-Pierre MICHEL, Mr Joe BENTON, Lord John E. TOMLINSON, Mr Brian BINLEY, Mr Michael CONNARTY

If adopted, amendments 5, 6 falls.

Votes: 49 in favor 36 against 2 abstentions

In the draft resolution, delete paragraph 5.2.

03 October 2012

Tabled by Mr Joe BENTON, Mr Jean-Pierre MICHEL, Lord John E. TOMLINSON, Mr Brian BINLEY, Mr Michael CONNARTY

Falls if amendment 4 is adopted.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 5.2., delete the word "private".

03 October 2012

Tabled by Mr Joe BENTON, Mr Jean-Pierre MICHEL, Lord John E. TOMLINSON, Mr Brian BINLEY, Mr Michael CONNARTY

Falls if amendment 4 is adopted.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 5.2., replace the word "families" with the word "students".

6Finally, the Assembly recommends that the Council of Europe member States:
6.1carry out as soon as possible the analyses required to identify the reforms needed to effectively guarantee the right to freedom of choice in education;
6.2ensure the gradual implementation of these reforms at each level of government concerned (central government, regions and local authorities) in line with the competencies of each level, in order to achieve the desirable systemic improvements within a reasonable time, with due regard for the necessary budgetary implications.