“Education is one of the most important factors of social development,” said PACE President Pedro Agramunt, introducing today a plenary session of the World Forum for Democracy, with Anja Olin Pape, Vice Chair of the Council of Europe Advisory Council on Youth. He raised the question of how education could be reformed so as to better bridge divides in society, and how education could help promote civic engagement and improve opportunities for all.
“This is becoming a serious issue with the rise of populist, extreme and nationalist movements,” he warned. “Populists play with lack of knowledge and information; they exploit often well-grounded fears, frustrations and disillusionment of citizens by oversimplifying the complex challenges our societies are facing,” he added. He believes that politicians have to oppose demagogy and populist rhetoric by explaining to the citizens the policy choices and their possible positive and negative consequences. “The democratic political process relies on active participation of educated citizens,” Mr Agramunt concluded.