EU Education at School: new position and study
Knowledge is power. Only those familiar with the instruments of political participation can make themselves heard and impact the process of decision-making. However, debates on the EU are often laced with populist messages that are frequently based on misinformation or prejudice.
A debate about the EU is necessary, but should be supported by a foundation of solid knowledge. Citizenship education and a better understanding of the EU are essential in promoting an informed and critical discussion. Therefore, the European Movement proposes a rethink of the European education policy: Specifically, more knowledge about the EU should be conveyed in schools.
In its new Policy Position, the European Movement International argues that EU citizenship education in schools can be crucial for increasing democratic participation at the European level. As schools are the only educational institutions that reach all European citizens, teaching the EU at this level is thus a step forward in providing citizens with the insight necessary to make their voices heard, both in their own countries and the EU alike.
The Policy Position ‘EU Education at School’ proposes concrete measures to foster active citizenship, promote non-formal education methods, and include a European dimension in school curricula.
Published simultaneously is the Brief ‘Learning the European Union at school’, developed with the European Movement Germany. The brief analyses the state of play of EU education in Member States based on recent studies and interviews with German teachers. In theory, the EU is part of school curricula throughout its Member States, but in practice many graduate without any concrete knowledge on the subject.
To address this, the European Movement Germany and European Movement International call for more integration in education policy, starting with a common framework of guidelines for EU education in school. Furthermore, Member States should update their education systems with a goal of strengthening the EU dimension, and both the EU and Member States should support initiatives to convey more information about the EU to students and teachers through formal, non-formal and informal learning methods.
Petros Fassoulas, Secretary General of the European Movement International, stated on the occasion: “Education is the silver bullet. Knowledge is power. If we want to empower our fellow Europeans and safeguard European democracy we must invest in citizenship and EU education. Fostering education on the EU in schools needs a renewed commitment from both Member States and EU institutions. But that is not enough, organisations from all sides of society can play a big role but they need long term political and financial support to continue and elaborate initiatives that assist young people to become active, responsible and critically thinking citizens. The European Movement network has a long experience, across Europe, with successful educational projects on the EU. We have seen the benefit of engaging people and encouraging them to debate and discuss what the EU is and does and how they can take part in the decisions that affect them. We will continue to advocate for more and better civic education in schools across Europe.”
Find out more about the activities of the European Movement network in developing and implementing youth programmes that bring the EU into schools and universities.