Council of Europe report calls for consistent implementation of Education for democratic citizenship and Human rights education policies

17 October 2017

The 2017 Council of Europe Report: “Learning to Live Together” highlights the great importance of democratic citizenship and human rights education in all European countries.

The report highlights that 66% of the government respondents reported inconsistencies between Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education policies and their implementation. The report also underlines the need for further support to civil society and improved cooperation with public authorities to achieve more effective results.

The growing awareness of the essential role education plays in promoting values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law is reflected in the adoption of the Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education (EDC/HRE) by the Organization’s 47 Member States. Improving the effectiveness of such education has become an imperative for the Council of Europe member states, and is the main focus of the 2017 Report on the State of Citizenship and Human Rights Education in Europe.

The 2017 report, launched during a conference on the future of citizenship and human rights education in Europe in Strasbourg in June 2017, forms part of the implementation of the Charter and draws on the lessons from the first review in 2012. Data analysis is based on responses to questionnaires for a) governments and b) civil society organizations.

Between 2012 and 2016, substantial progress was made in the 40 countries that responded to the survey. EDC/HRE gained in importance in European countries. At the same time, feedback from civil society shows that relevant policies need to be supported more effectively, that co-operation between public authorities and civil society should be further developed, and that the work done by civil society needs to be better recognized. The report also elaborates on key topics including extremism, migrants and refugees, social cohesion and equity.

Education systems as well as stakeholders in non-formal education need to commit to carrying out EDC/HRE in a manner that is accessible, sustainable and of high quality, which is consistent with the aim of the Charter. In this respect, the Charter review is also part of the Council of Europe’s contribution towards the United Nations World Programme for Human Rights Education and the United Nations’ 2030 Education Agenda (Target 4.7).

As presented in the above figure, the report also highlights key topics of extremism, migration and refugees, social cohesion and equity together with an elaboration on how EDC/HRE positively contributes to address these challenges of today societies.

As the world moves forward on the implementation of the Education 2030 Agenda, UNESCO is committed to monitoring the progress towards the achievement of Target 4.7, with a focus on Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship. Regular reports, news, analyses, publications and links to data sets produced by UNESCO and its partner provide evidence that indicate how the world is progressing towards the achievement of the Target.