Citizenship Education at School in Europe

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Citizenship Education at School in Europe

Transcript Of Citizenship Education at School in Europe

Citizenship Education at School in Europe
Eurydice The information network on education in Europe

This document is published by the Eurydice European Unit with the financial support of the European Commission (Directorate-General for Education and Culture). Available in English (Citizenship Education at School in Europe) and French (L’éducation à la citoyenneté à l’école en Europe).
ISBN 92-894-9467-0 This document is also available on the Internet ( Text completed in May 2005. © Eurydice, 2005. The contents of this publication may be reproduced in part, except for commercial purposes, provided that the extract is preceded by a complete reference to ‘Eurydice, the information network on education in Europe’, followed by the date of publication of the document. Requests for permission to reproduce the entire document must be made to the European Unit.
Cover photograph: © European Parliament Mediateque
Eurydice European Unit Avenue Louise 240 B-1050 Brussels Tel. +32 2 600 53 53 Fax +32 2 600 53 63 E-mail: [email protected] Internet: Printed in Belgium

In recent years, fostering social cohesion and more active participation by citizens in social and political life has become a key issue in all European countries. It is also an objective firmly supported by the European Commission. In its 2004 communication Building our common Future: Policy challenges and Budgetary means of the Enlarged Union 2007-2013, the Commission clearly identified the development of European citizenship as a foremost priority for EU action. The aim of the forthcoming EU action programme ‘Citizens for Europe’ is to promote civic participation and a stronger sense of citizenship. Scheduled to follow the current action programme ending in 2006, the new seven-year programme will provide the European Union with the instruments it needs to work towards these goals. Extensive consultation was conducted with most sectors of civil society when preparing the programme proposal. The programme will support projects and initiatives intended to make Europeans aware of their rights and responsibilities as citizens, to involve them actively in the process of European integration, and to develop among them a sense of belonging and European identity. The development of responsible civic behaviour may be encouraged from a very early age. Citizenship education, which includes learning about the rights and duties of citizens, respect for democratic values and human rights, and the importance of solidarity, tolerance and participation in a democratic society, is seen as a means of preparing children and young people to become responsible and active citizens. This new Eurydice publication deals with the provision of citizenship education in schools and covers 30 European countries participating in the Eurydice Network. The comparative survey focuses on different national approaches to citizenship education and examines whether a European or international dimension has been officially incorporated into teaching of the subject in schools. The survey shows that an elaborate approach to provision in this area exists in most European countries. However, progress in the training of those who teach citizenship and more effective promotion of active participation by pupils in society at large are arguably two major challenges in the years ahead. The Council of Europe has proclaimed 2005 the European Year of Citizenship through Education. The European Union actively supports the valuable work of the Council of Europe in promoting citizenship education, and I hope the present Eurydice survey will give yet further impetus to that support.
Ján Figel’ Commissioner responsible for Education, Training, Culture and Multilingualism






General Introduction


Chapter 1: Citizenship and Education Policy


1.1. The Concept of ‘Responsible Citizenship’


1.2. Main Orientations of Education Policy


Chapter 2: Citizenship Education and the Curriculum


2.1. Approaches to Citizenship Education


2.2. Aims and Content of Citizenship Education


2.3. Competencies to be Acquired


Chapter 3: School Culture and Participation in Community Life


3.1. Daily Life at School


3.2. Participatory Initiatives in Schools


3.3. School Participation in Society


Chapter 4: Evaluation of Citizenship Education


4.1. Pupil Assessment


4.2. Evaluation of Schools



Citizenship Education at School in Europe

Chapter 5: Teacher Competencies and Support


5.1. Teacher Education


5.2. Support


Chapter 6: The European Dimension of Citizenship Education


6.1. The Curriculum


6.2. Teacher Education


6.3. Support for Teachers and Teaching Materials


6.4. Activities in the Wider School Context








Table of Figures







In recent years, initiatives on the part of several international organisations and research institutions have sought to encourage the idea of citizenship education and research into related issues, as well as teaching in this field. For example, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) actively promoted the idea of citizenship education on a global scale through its UN Decade for Human Rights Education (1995 to 2004) (1).
The Council of Europe has been carrying out its project on Education for Democratic Citizenship (2) (EDC) since 1997. The project constitutes a forum for discussion between EDC experts and practitioners from throughout Europe, in order to define concepts, develop strategies and gather good practice in EDC. On the basis of the findings and recommendations, the Council of Europe has set policy standards in the field of EDC and advocated their implementation by its member states. Several brochures, information packs, manuals and training kits on EDC have been made available. They are aimed at helping decision-makers, teachers and other practitioners to put EDC policies into effect in their various national contexts. The EDC project concludes at the end of 2005, which was officially proclaimed the European Year of Citizenship through Education (3).
In the last 10 years, the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) has undertaken efforts to prepare and conduct an international Civic Education Study. More than 140 000 pupils, teachers and school principals from 28 countries took part in the study, and two major reports were issued by the IEA in 2001 and 2002 (4).
At EU level, the Lisbon strategy has mapped out the route towards a knowledge-driven economy and a new European social agenda up to 2010. Social inclusion and active citizenship are important policy objectives central to the Lisbon process. In this context, the education system may be regarded as the most important medium through which to impart and demonstrate the principles of equity, inclusion and cohesion. Therefore, social inclusion and active citizenship feature prominently in the three strategic goals for European education and training systems adopted by the European Council in March 2001, covering quality of, access to and openness of European education to the world (5).
With the recent enlargement of the EU, the concept of citizenship is once more high on the political agenda. As Europe grows bigger and closer, it has become increasingly important to provide young people with an idea of what is meant by responsible citizenship within a democratically based society. So too, therefore, is the need to provide them with the essentials of a positive civic attitude. In the interests of social cohesion in Europe and a common European identity, pupils at school need to be informed specifically about what it means to be a citizen, the kinds of rights and duties that citizenship entails and how to behave like a ‘good citizen’.
(1) For further information see: .
(2) For further information see: . (3) For further information see: . (4) For further information see: . (5) Council of the EU: The Concrete Future Objectives of Education and Training Systems. Report from the Education
Council to the European Council. 5980/01 (Brussels, 14 February 2001).

Citizenship Education at School in Europe
Politicians have also agreed on the need to bring the EU closer to the citizens and that democracy should be consolidated by fostering their active participation in the life of society. It is for this reason that a working group on an ‘Open Learning Environment, Active Citizenship and Social Inclusion’ was set up within the European Commission Directorate-General for Education and Culture at the beginning of 2003. One of its aims is to ensure that the learning of democratic values and democratic participation by all school partners is effectively promoted in order to prepare people for active citizenship (6). For this reason, the working group has been provided with relevant data on citizenship education by its EU member state representatives.
Since the beginning of 2004, the European Commission has been implementing a Community Action Programme (7) to further active citizenship with a view to support a series of bodies and actions in this field. This programme aims at promoting the values and objectives of the EU, bringing citizens closer to the EU and having them involved in reflection and discussion on its future, intensifying links between citizens of different countries, and stimulating initiatives in the field of active citizenship (8). The programme will come to an end in December 2006. However, a proposal for a subsequent programme is currently already being prepared. In addition to the Community Action Programme, the European Commission has also agreed on more research to develop key indicators for social cohesion and active citizenship in Europe (9).
Background and methodology
The present Eurydice survey, covering 30 countries in the Eurydice Network (10), analyses how citizenship education is taught at school. It was requested by the Dutch presidency of the Council of the European Union, which lasted from July to December 2004. One of the Presidency’s aims was to initiate a debate with citizens and governments on common European values and on how full European integration and cooperation could be brought about. In this respect, special attention was devoted to the contribution made by education to social cohesion through activities aimed at promoting active citizenship (11).
This comparative analysis is based on country descriptions supplied by the Eurydice National Units. To collect information for them, a Guide to Content, including common guidelines and definitions, was prepared by the Eurydice European Unit (EEU) in consultation with the National Units at the beginning of 2004. The aim of the Guide to Content was to ensure that the country descriptions were drafted in accordance with a common structure to facilitate subsequent cross-country comparison of the information provided. The completed country descriptions are available on the Internet (
(6) European Commission: Open Learning Environment, Active Citizenship and Social Inclusion. Implementation of Education and Training 2010 Work Programme: Progress Report. (Brussels, November 2003).
(7) For further information see: . (8) Council of the EU: Council Decision of 26 January 2004 Establishing a Community Action Programme to Promote
Active European Citizenship (Civic Participation). 2004/100/EC (Luxembourg, 4 February 2004). Available on the WWW: . (9) European Commission Staff Working Paper: New Indicators on Education and Training. Brussels, 29.11.2004, SEC (2004) 1524. (10) Turkey did not take part in the survey, as it joined the Eurydice Network at the beginning of 2004 when data collection was already under way. (11) Dutch Presidency of the Council of the European Union: Priorities, p. 14. (The Hague/Brussels, 2004). Available on the WWW: .

General Introduction
Some national descriptive elements have been included in the comparative analysis wherever they seem essential to a sound understanding of it and provide clarification with examples.
Information in the survey covers the primary, general lower and upper secondary levels of public-sector education and/or government-dependent provision (i.e. education provided by institutions which receive over 50 % of their finances from the public purse). The reference year is 2004/05. However, information on reforms relating to citizenship education, which are being discussed and/or will be implemented in the near future, is presented in the final section of the country descriptions.
It should be borne in mind that the EEU has been able to draw profitably on the work already carried out by the Council of Europe in its EDC project mentioned above. Various documents and regional reports, including valuable information on many Eurydice Network member countries, have already been published as part of the project. Eurydice has thus been able to study and supplement information on certain matters that the Council of Europe has not considered in detail.
For the purpose of this survey, common definitions of the term ‘responsible citizenship’ and the closely associated concept of citizenship education, i.e. educating young people to become ‘responsible citizens’, have been adopted by the Eurydice Network. The following definitions are to some extent inspired by the Council of Europe definitions in its EDC project (12).
As a starting point, a ‘citizen’ may be regarded as a person coexisting in a society. In recent decades, societies have changed and, with them, the theoretical conceptions and practical implementation of citizenship. The concept is steadily broadening and changing, as lifestyles and patterns in our relations with others become more diversified. Far from being limited to the national context, the notion of harmonious coexistence among citizens relates to the concept of a community embracing all contexts – local, regional, national and international – in which individuals live.
The notion of ‘responsible citizenship’ raises issues concerned with awareness and knowledge of rights and duties. It is also closely related to civic values such as democracy and human rights, equality, participation, partnership, social cohesion, solidarity, tolerance of diversity and social justice. The concept of ‘responsible citizenship’ is now increasingly widespread, particularly in that a series of relevant recommendations and resolutions promoting the issue have been adopted by the member states of the Council of Europe (13). The European Commission (14) has also published White Papers and studies on the issue, as a result of which it has become a priority area for many European countries.
(12) See the definitions given in: Council of Europe, Karen O’Shea: Developing a Shared Understanding. A Glossary of Terms for Education for Democratic Citizenship (Strasbourg, 2003).
(13) Council of Europe: Final Declaration. Second Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe (Strasbourg. 10-11 October 1997); Council of Europe, Committee of Ministers: Declaration and Programme on Education for Democratic Citizenship, Based on the Rights and the Responsibilities of the Citizens (Strasbourg, 1999); Council of Europe, Committee of Ministers: Recommendation to Member States on Education for Democratic Citizenship (Strasbourg 2002).
(14) European Commission: Learning for Active citizenship. A significant Challenge in Building a Europe of Knowledge: Education and Active Citizenship in the European Union. (Luxembourg, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 1998); European Commission: Open Learning Environment, Active Citizenship and Social Inclusion. Implementation of Education and Training 2010 Work Programme: Progress Report. (Brussels, November 2003); European Commission: The future of Education and Citizenship Policies: The Commission adopts Guidelines for Future Programmes after 2006 (Brussels, 2004).
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