Democracy should be learned and lived on an everyday basis! 2005 will be European Year of Citizenship through Education. The aim is to launch throughout Europe a campaign to popularise and put into practice the education for democratic citizenship policies and programmes developed within the Council of Europe.
If education is an investment for the future, education for citizenship is an investment for Europe's democratic future. Democracy is not something that can be taken for granted. Nor is it an abstract concept. It calls for a commitment and responsible action by citizens in their everyday lives.
Low election turnouts among young people and their decreasing participation in public and political life lend urgency to the issue of education for democratic citizenship, which should be seen as a long-term investment to promote the democratic values of human rights, tolerance and cultural pluralism.
European Year of Citizenship through Education marks the culmination of eight years' work by the Council of Europe to define concepts, policies and strategies for applying good practices in the area of education for democratic citizenship (EDC).
In 2002 a Committee of Ministers Recommendation laid down guidelines, methods and aims for the reforms and policies to be adopted by states in order to train the citizens of tomorrow to carry forward the European democratic project.
The Council of Europe is launching the European Year for Citizenship through Education in order to encourage the practical implementation of pledges by political decision-makers who undertook to adapt the Recommendation to their states' education systems.
The launch conference of the “Year” in Sofia on 13 and 14 December 2004 marked the start of an action plan designed to make the different players more aware of their responsibilities: not only the decision-makers in the ministries, head teachers and university vice-chancellors, but also teachers, trainers, project leaders and NGOs.
The “Year”, organised on a decentralised basis, will be punctuated by a series of activities and events in various European countries. It will thus offer opportunities for exchanges of innovatory practices among professionals, as well as opportunities to raise public awareness of democratic citizenship issues.
Partnerships not only between the different sectors of the Council of Europe, but also between the Council and other international organisations such as the European Union, UNESCO, OSCE etc, will ensure that tangible results are achieved throughout the member States of the Council of Europe.
More info on: http://www.coe.int/T/E/Cultural_Co-operation/education/E.D.C/