Edition 180 - April 2016

The state of education policy in Europe – One year after the Paris Declaration

The 17th of March marked the date upon which, exactly one year ago, Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Commissioner Tilbor Navracsics, together with his ministerial counterparts across Europe, signed the Paris Declaration - promoting citizenship and the common values of freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination through education. Following the first attacks in Paris, January 2015, signatories committed themselves to develop education and policies capable of alleviating streams of violent radicalization in Europe, and a year later progress made on supporting inclusive education can be felt and evaluated.

A new Eurydice leaflet, providing an Overview of policy developments in Europe following the Paris declaration”, presents national advancements relating to key goals embedded in the Declaration and subsequently also reflects on various follow up initiatives at the European level. The Commission has shown efforts to ensure Erasmus+ pays special attention to the topic of citizenship and its funding program is to now mobilize financial support of up to €400 million in 2016 – starting  this month with the launch of a €13 million strong call, dedicated to implementation of key areas in the Declaration, particularly  addressing  the dissemination of good practices at grass roots level. In compliment, a second call with a €14 million budget focuses on policy experimentation in topics promoting inclusion and fundamental values. Furthermore, under the ET2020 a specific Working Group was established to exchange of best practices, support the prevention of radicalisation as a priority area and to inspire participation of policy makers in goals of the Declaration. The European Agenda on Security 2015 also positioned education as tool for tackling radicalisation.

The Eurydice research shows that policies in support of objectives identified in the Paris Declaration are present in all 28 EU Member States, although to varying degrees.  Results indicate, one year after the declaration over 65% of countries have broadened their education policies, targeting multiple dimensions of their education system  ranging from professional teacher training, learning contents and student engagement.  Notably, most measures address the level of school education and VET in contrast to adult and higher education that, by a substantial margin, show the lowest level of policy development.  An example of policy targeting higher education, is the Netherlands based program ‘Integrated Safety Higher Education’ where the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has set up a portal containing information on lifestyle risks and a toolbox for developing awareness on extremism, also providing advice for taking action when there are signs of radicalization.

A year after the declaration a multitude of policy for inclusive education can be found – here it is necessary to offer reflection on whether these developments are extensions to long established strategies or indeed novel approaches, and if the current level of growth of such initiatives can match up to contemporary challenges on collective values, faced by current and future generations. 

European Commission, press release  (only in French)

Eurydice leaflet - overview of education policy developments  

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