"We support Europe"
Arguments in favour of a European policy on education (07/2002)
- One fundamental aspect would entail anchoring European thinking in schools and education. Instilling a positive overall attitude to Europe is one of the most important educational goals of the future in schools, education in general and further training.
- Exercising basic freedoms and asserting the right to freedoms stipulated in the European Charter require education in tolerance and multicultural understanding as well as access to equality of opportunity throughout Europe while, at the same time, respecting people's diverse origins in a regionally strong Europe.
- Finally, the European citizen's non-discriminatory right to education and free choice of schooling, irrespective of national boundaries, is a goal which must be attained.
- Demands to be met by a European policy an education
- General free access to education is commensurate with the demands of self determining citizens in Europe.
- The basic right to education should imply the right to the best education possible in accordance with each citizen's individual abilities. In order to comply with this demand, a European educational standard must be devoid of discrimination and organized along pluralist lines.
- Both actual and legal monopolistic structures must be dismantled and/or prevented in Order to safeguard and ensure citizens' rights to education in a regionally strong, diverse Europe. A pluralist network consisting of state-subsidized and privately-funded institutions under the aegis of independent school authorities, answerable to the public, must be created.
- A European educational standard also includes the mutual recognition of general certificates of education and professional qualifications obtained under each country's respective education system.
- The basic tenets governing environmental awareness, European mobility and proficiency in foreign languages should be part of Europe's educational aims.
- The necessary resources in respect of financing, staff and materials, should be made available.
The way to achieve a European educational standard is by consistently exercising the basic rights laid down in the European Charter: parents' rights, children's rights, the right to freely choose one's profession and (the right to) equality of opportunity.
- Academic/professional qualifications which are recognized throughout Europe should entail similar timescales of study in the interests of equality of opportunity and free choice of profession.
- Education is a public responsibility. Both state-subsidized and privately-funded institutions are involved on an equal basis in the provision of education options. In so doing, they ensure a pluralist approach while coping with demand an a fair, widespread basis. Statesubsidized and privately-funded institutions work under the same basic conditions - not least in a financial sense; equal opportunity of access rather than selection in accordance with material wealth ensures the right to a free choice of school.
- Based an the assumption that everyone has a sound knowledge of his or her mother tongue, the acquisition of at least one additional foreign European language is a basic contribution towards a peaceful and tolerant Europe. In this respect, international teaching staff play an important role together with the opportunity for pupils to attend school abroad during their own school career. This can be effected through better counselling together with the right encouragement and an unbureaucratic accreditation of the examinations passed during school attendance abroad.
- All EU countries must provide schoolchildren with a basic understanding of Europe. This should include intercultural skills as well as historical, geographical and linguistic knowledge.
- Information relative to the different education systems among Europe's member states should be acquired in the course of special seminars for teachers organized at multinational level.
The development of a European educational standard does not mean that education systems will be levelled down in order to achieve synchronized harmony. The assessment of equal value is based an mutual recognition, not homogeneous conformity. A "regionally strong Europe" will have a similarly strong education System. A Europe such as this will not give priority to individual education Systems; it will allow for creative competition between historically developed, practically oriented methods of education under equal circumstances.
In consequence of the arguments discussed above, the European agreements should underline the common aim of a pluralist approach towards education options as represented by statesubsidized and privately-funded institutions. Equal access an equal terms to all educational institutions should be guaranteed.
Der Vorstand des
Bundesverbands Deutscher Privatschulen e.V. (VDP)
Frankfurt am Main, im April 2002