Education has an important role to play in countering the challenges of today’s complexities and uncertainties
The European policy cooperation framework emphasises that education and training have a crucial role to play in meeting the many socio-economic, demographic, environmental and technological challenges facing Europe and its citizens today and, in the years, ahead.
The primary goal of European cooperation should be to support the education and training systems in the EU Member States, aimed at ensuring: (a) the personal, social and professional fulfilment of all citizens;
(b) sustainable economic prosperity and employability, whilst promoting democratic values, social cohesion, active citizenship, and intercultural dialogue.
These purposes echo the vision of education developed by the Council of Europe (in Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)6), that includes four major purposes:
- Developing a broad knowledge base,
- Preparing for the labour market,
- Preparing for life as active citizens and,
- Personal development
The first two areas are largely the ones state schools focus on. Yet, increasingly, perhaps under the pressures of the conditions of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) we live in today, education for democratic citizenship and personal development are receiving more attention.
Shared responsibility for education and deciding what is important for children and teenagers to learn is possible with stakeholders cooperating towards common goals: parents, educational institutions, civil society and young people themselves.
An increasing number of educators experiment within the curriculum to create learning activities that teach values, attitudes, skills and knowledge that learners need to contribute to a democratic culture. They instill democratic processes in learning activities and classroom settings such as democratic classroom management, cooperative learning structures, participative (self- and peer-) assessment, and participation of civil society throughout young people’s education journey. With the growing awareness of education professionals that needs in education are changing, we are entering a ‘ripe moment’.