Common action in educational and cultural matters will achieve greater unity among Council of Europe member states, according to a Recommendation adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE) on 12 December 2012.
Quality education for all
Recommendation CM/Rec (2012)13 also considers that the right to education can only be fully exercised if the education is of adequate quality. Ensuring that everyone can benefit from a quality education is a matter of individual justice as well as the best possible use of the resources of our societies; and ensuring quality education is a public responsibility.
“Public responsibility” is understood as the responsibility of public authorities, the document says. It may be exercised in different ways and at different levels (national, regional, local or a combination of these) in different countries and at different levels of education.
Member States are responsible for the organisation and content of their education systems, the recommendation highlights.
Education linked to democracy and citizenship
In addition, education must prepare children and young people for democratic citizenship as well as for economic activity, the recommendation notes. Education must further the personal development of pupils and students as well as their growth as active members of society. And it must develop and secure the linguistic, numerical and cognitive abilities that are the basis of successful learning in all subjects.
The recommendation covers all areas and levels of formal education within national education systems and aims at ensuring quality education for all members of society, while recognising that access to formal education may be based on qualifications obtained through informal and non-formal learning.
Recommendations to governments
The CoE recommends that Member State governments:
- Take steps to implement in their policy, law and practice the provisions set out in the appendix to this recommendation
- Promote the implementation of the provisions contained in the appendix where this is not their direct responsibility
- Promote the implementation of these provisions by educational institutions
- As appropriate, promote the implementation of these provisions by relevant stakeholders
- Ensure that this recommendation is distributed as widely as possible among all persons and bodies concerned
- Evaluate the implementation of the provisions of this recommendation in their policies, and inform the Steering Committee for Education Policy and Practice (CDPPE) of the measures undertaken and progress achieved
EI: Free public quality education a government duty
“We welcome this new CoE recommendation,” said Martin Rømer, Director of the EI European region, the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE). “It reasserts what education unionists, in Europe and worldwide, have been saying for many years: Education is a public good, and governments have the responsibility to provide their citizens with free quality public education.
“We will never tolerate that the economic and financial crisis be used as an excuse to cut spending in quality education and qualified teachers.”