The progressive view on education in Europe: more Solidar citizenship please

The progressive view on education in Europe: more Solidar citizenship please

Has the engine of education boosted the development of culture and solidarity among European citizens? If would certainly seem so. Last Thursday in the European Parliament the S&D group organized a conference on education, culture and supportive citizenship in the context of reshaping Europe.

The panel discussion brought a number of various stakeholders, from politicians to civil society actors, academics and youth activists.  The aim of the discussion was to bring culture to the heart of Europe and our identities, to allow a transformation of Europe in times of greater social and economic disparities and strong populist waves across the Member States.

Sacha Garben, EU law permanent professor at the College of Europe, highlighted the need to have studies of comparability assessments for citizenship education so as not to create asymmetries and imbalances between the different educational systems in the EU. Garben also called for the inclusion of citizenship competences in the EU competence framework, along with giving more direct competences to the EU as provided in Article 165 TFEU.

Tamara Gojkovic, Vice-President Lifelong Learning Platform, also focused on citizenship education along with the Lifelong Learning aspect of quality education, through strengthening policy coherence and proposing Lifelong Learning cards in parallel with European student cards for communities and families’ learners.

Andrea Casamenti, from the European Youth Forum, emphasized the right to quality education, volunteering activities and the increase of youth organizations that are also providers of citizenship education, through teaching to develop skills, making decisions and assuming responsibility. The focus was also put on national recognition and validation of non-formal and informal education for young people in the future.

SOLIDAR Foundation supports the promotion of national recognition and validation of non-formal and informal education for all to bring citizens into democratic participation, learn and practice supportive citizenship. However, to lead this in a successful way requires prioritizing sustaining resources and support for non-formal and informal learning, along with supporting inclusive learning societies within and across countries in Europe.

SOLIDAR Foundation introduced its own Citizenship and Lifelong Learning Monitor and from the collected data across the member states we concluded:

  • The methods and concepts taught in the framework of non-formal and informal learning (NFIL) could serve as a model for the revision of national curricula and particularly for civic education. Inclusive education governance is needed and it ought to be accompanied by sustainable funding that will allow CSOs to continue developing and sharing their expertise with national authorities.
  • The value-based education that puts the learner at the centre is an environment that best stimulates critical thinking and understanding of the subject. An education system which equips people with such competences empowers them and endows them with the capacities they need to become active participants in democratic processes, intercultural dialogue and in society in general.
  • Closer attention has to be paid to the broad and varied experience that organized civil society has developed over the years while actively combating online harassment and disinformation. It could serve as a valuable input for national authorities who are currently establishing different national schemes to fight disinformation and illegal data collection.

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