What kind of society will our children live in tomorrow? An important part of the answer to that question lies in the education we give them today. Education plays an essential role in building the future and reflects the type of world we want to prepare for the generations to come.
This was the starting point for a Council of Europe project based on an initiative from Andorra during its Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers. Since December 2013 the project has been developed by an international and interdisciplinary expert group, of which EWC has been an important member.
The mandate for the expert group was to develop non-prescriptive guidelines and descriptors for competence for democratic culture and intercultural dialogue that national authorities and education institutions can use and adapt as they see fit.
After a thorough process involving consultations among a broad list of stakeholders on all levels of education and various piloting projects and surveys, the three volumes of the Reference Framework of Competence for Democratic Culture are published. Volume one of the Reference Framework contains the model of competences for democratic culture that was unanimously approved by European ministers of education at their standing conference in Brussels in April 2016. Volume two lists the descriptors of the competences for democratic culture that are intended to help educators identify learning outcomes, achieved proficiency after a period of learning, and areas for further development. Volume three offers guidance on how the model of competences and the corresponding descriptors may be used in six education contexts. Together, these volumes offer educators a reference and a toolbox for designing, implementing and evaluating educational interventions, in formal and non-formal settings. They can be downloaded at https://www.coe.int/en/web/education
Along with the Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education, the Reference Framework is a substantial achievement which guides the education policy of the CoE forward. EWC will support its implementation through our programmes, just as we have supported the development of the Framework both in the expert group and in its piloting phase.