Citizenship Education in Europe - Eurydice Report

The report shows that all European countries now have introduced central regulations to promote student participation in school governance. Encouraging citizens, particularly young people, to actively engage in social and political life has recently become a growing political priority both at national and European level. Because education is viewed as a principal means to promote active citizenship, the report aims to capture how policies and measures relating to citizenship education have evolved over recent years in European countries. To this end, the report provides an overview of the state of play on five main topics: 1) Curriculum aims and organisation; 2) student and parent participation in schools; 3) school culture and student participation in society; 4) assessment and evaluation; 5) and support for teachers and school heads.
"European countries need citizens to be engaged in social and political life not only to ensure that basic democratic values flourish but also to foster social cohesion at a time of increasing social and cultural diversity.
In order to increase engagement and participation, people must be equipped with the right knowledge, skills and attitudes. Civic competences can enable individuals to participate fully in civic life but they must be based on sound knowledge of social values and political concepts and structures, as well as a commitment to active democratic participation in society. Social and civic competences have, therefore, featured strongly in European cooperation in the field of education; they are among the eight key competences identified in 2006 by the Council and the European Parliament as essential for citizens living in a knowledge society.
Promoting equity, social cohesion and active citizenship through school education is also one of the main objectives of the current Strategic Framework for European Cooperation in Education and Training which extends to 2020. Developing effective approaches to reach this objective is a major challenge for decision-makers and practitioners. This second edition of the Eurydice report 'Citizenship Education in Europe' is intended to inform the debate by providing a comparative analysis of recent national developments in the field.
The report reviews national policies and strategies for reforming the citizenship curricula. It also focuses on measures to encourage 'learning by doing', which is a critical element in an area of learning that requires practical skills. Comparable and detailed information is provided on the regulations, programmes and initiatives that enable students to gain practical experience in social and political life; the methods of assessment used by teachers to evaluate students' practical learning are also discussed. In addition, the changes to initial teacher education and continuing professional development introduced to improve teachers' knowledge of the citizenship curricula and their skills in teaching the subject are examined. Finally, the study investigates the role of the school head in developing and implementing whole school approaches to citizenship education. In 2010, all the Member States of the European Union adopted the Council of Europe's Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education. I actively support the implementation of the Charter and I am confident that the present Eurydice report, which contains valuable and comparable European-level data, will give yet further impetus to this process. I am convinced it will also offer a timely contribution to the 2013 European Year of Citizenship."
Androulla Vasiliou
The report provides information on 31 of the Eurydice Network countries (EU Member States, Iceland, Norway, Croatia and Turkey). The reference year is 2010/11.

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