May 19, 2008
People know little about the European project. Only an ambitious and comprehensive approach can remedy this shortcoming. People should – even superficially – be aware of the whereabouts of the European project and the numerous benefits it generates. When European decisions are to be taken options should feed the public debate. European political parties shall play their role. Adequate information should reach a general public which is mostly not concerned. Here cooperation between leading European TV-channels can be of help. It should mainly show the achievements of de European Union. Also national governments shall inform their general public adequately.
Education in Europe shall embrace a new ambitious project. Youngsters shall gradually be acquainted with the specific features of Europe. Not just the basic assumptions of Europe, but also objective history teaching, away from nationalistic rhetoric and civic eductation that focusses on knowlegde of public values and norms. In short this type of education shall prepare the pupils for a life in a society featuring diversity, viz. multiculturalism, multilinguism, multiraciality, transnationality and democracy at that level. Knowledge about the new society shall become part of the basic skills of pupils in primary and secundary schools. Teachers involved will need extra training. This global endeavour must be supported and implemented by local authorities as well as by the European institutions. The European political project should embrace this new major objective and challenge. The European Union can’t do without public support for the new societal project. This educational project goes by a gradual multiple-track-approach. The various tracks reinforcing each other when carried out in a comprehensive context.
Antwerp, May 16, 2008
Europees Studie- en Informatiecentrum (ESIC) vzw, Antwerpen
(European Study and Information Centre, Antwerp, Belgium)
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