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The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on education and culture

Recommendation 2217 (2021)

Parliamentary Assembly
Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 26 November 2021 (see Doc. 15397, report of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media, rapporteur: Mr Constantinos Efstathiou).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly, referring to its Resolution 2411 (2021) “The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on education and culture”, considers that education and culture are central to democratic stability in Europe, as they help people to acquire knowledge, a critical mind and a broader understanding of the world, to interact with others, to have a voice and to define their role in society. Active citizenship, particularly among young people, will be fundamental to collectively addressing the numerous social, cultural, economic, and environmental challenges of the 21st century.
2. The Council of Europe has long-standing experience in the fields of education and culture and must remain at the forefront of positioning education and culture as an integral part of democratic processes. In this respect, the Assembly fully supports the intergovernmental work intended to deliver policy guidance and develop practical tools to assist member States in shaping new models for sustainable operation of the education and cultural sectors seeking more synergy between the two sectors to uphold democratic, cohesive, inclusive and resilient societies in the future.
3. The Assembly welcomes the adoption, by the informal Conference of Ministers of Education held on 29 October 2020, of a political declaration and a road map for action on the Council of Europe education response to Covid-19 to help member States face the educational challenges of the pandemic, including, in particular, a recommendation to bring together examples of relevant practice of online or hybrid education provision through the Democratic Schools Network and to develop a full-scale online training programme for educators on Digital Citizenship Education.
4. Accordingly, the Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers instruct the relevant sectors of the Council of Europe to:
4.1 consider preparing a standard-setting instrument on inclusive quality education, taking into consideration the new online and hybrid educational environment;
4.2 continue and finalise, in line with the education ministers’ declaration, the work on a model framework to govern equitable partnerships between business enterprises and education institutions, respectful of the overall public responsibility for education;
4.3 create guidance for innovative approaches and partnerships between the education and cultural sectors to implement the Council of Europe Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture and foster cultural and heritage education in the member States;
4.4 in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, co-operate with the European Union to support innovative projects and European exchange programmes that could support the sustainable operation of the education and cultural sectors, and to establish a strong European digital framework well adapted to online education and culture.