18. Committee of Ministers Recommendation Rec (2002) 12 to member states on education for democratic citizenship (2002)

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 16 October 2002) 


2. Educational objectives and contents of education for democratic citizenship

Education for democratic citizenship as defined in this recommendation covers specific disciplines and varied or cross-curricular fields of learning and institutions in the member states, depending on their traditional approach to this area.

For instance, it might involve civic, political or human rights education, all of which contribute to education for democratic citizenship without covering it completely.

In order to fulfil the general aims of education for democratic citizenship, the following actions are needed:

 - encouraging multidisciplinary approaches and actions combining civic and political education with the teaching of history, philosophy, religions, languages, social sciences and all disciplines having a bearing on ethical, political, social, cultural or philosophical aspects, whether in terms of their actual content or the options or consequences involved for a democratic society;

 - combining the acquisition of knowledge, attitudes and skills, and giving priority to those which reflect the fundamental values to which the Council of Europe is particularly attached, notably human rights and the rule of law;

- paying particular attention to the acquisition of the attitudes necessary for life in multicultural societies, which respect differences and are concerned with their environment, which is undergoing rapid and often unforeseeable changes.

 To that end, it would be appropriate to implement educational approaches and teaching methods which aim at learning to live together in a democratic society, and at combating aggressive nationalism, racism and intolerance and eliminate violence and extremist thinking and behaviour. The acquisition of the following key competencies would contribute to reaching these aims, namely, the ability to:

 - settle conflicts in a non-violent manner;

 - argue in defence of one’s viewpoint;

 - listen to, understand and interpret other people’s arguments;

 - recognise and accept differences;

 - make choices, consider alternatives and subject them to ethical analysis;

 - shoulder shared responsibilities;

 - establish constructive, non-aggressive relations with others;

 - develop a critical approach to information, thought patterns and philosophical, religious, social, political and cultural concepts, at the same time remaining committed to fundamental values and principles of the Council of Europe.