Today most schooling in Europe is “school-centred” rather than child-oriented. Schools are predominantly organised and managed paying attention to operational constraints, but the solutions adopted do not necessarily reflect the most effective ways to educate children. It may be far more manageable to teach children in classrooms under the supervision of teachers along a fixed set of course options and using the same textbooks and learning resources for all. However, the failing results of the predominant ‘one-size-fits-all’ model of education are gradually moving the attention of education specialists from improving organisational efficiency to the understanding that schools should be redesigned to enhance student learning.
The child-centred education model considers that all children have a right to an education that helps them grow and develop to their fullest. Every child is a unique and special individual. Consequently, teaching should be “personalised”, meaning that it should address the distinct learning needs, interests, aspirations, or cultural backgrounds of individual pupils. This “personalised” model could help responding to the expectations of children with special needs, including disabilities or particular giftedness.
Furthermore, there is a need for a better understanding in European school systems of remedial education, which can be designed for any pupils, with or without special needs; the defining trait is simply that they have reached a point of unpreparedness, regardless of why. For example, even children of high intelligence can be under-prepared if their education was disrupted, for example, by internal displacement or war or simply by migration.
The Parliamentary Assembly should explore these different aspects, seeking to provide policy guidelines on how to improve the European school systems to give every child a better and more individual development opportunity.