Parliamentary Assembly

RECOMMENDATION 897 (1980)[1]

on educational visits and pupil exchanges between European countries

The Assembly,

1. Referring to the European Cultural Convention, which calls upon Signatory States to facilitate the movement and exchange of persons ;

2. Considering that educational visits and school exchanges, if properly prepared and organised, constitute a direct and highly fruitful experience for young people in Europe, developing mutual understanding and a sense of belonging to a single civilisation, and also of their individuality ;

3. Believing that the importance of pupil exchanges is now recognised both nationally and internationally as being of educational, cultural and human value, but that more active support is needed from the public authorities ;

4. Wishing to enable all school children, irrespective of the financial situation of their families, to take advantage of these educational exchanges and visits ;

5. Stressing the importance of the organisation of study visits abroad, if possible during school time ;

6. Conscious of the growing cost of such exchanges and study visits, and of the difficult problems of insurance and legal liability to which they give rise ;

7. Recalling the activities of the Council of Europe and the Council for Cultural Co-operation relating to young people, and the proposals made by the European Association of Teachers at the course on "educational and school exchanges" organised at Sevres in 1973 ;

8. Referring to the conclusions of the 1977 Venice Colloquium on "pupil exchanges in the European Community", and to the proposals addressed in 1978 by the Commission of the European Communities to the Council in the context of Community action in the field of education ;

9. Considering that the hospitality offered by Greece, with the support of the Council of Europe, in summer 1978 to 1 000 school children from the Council for Cultural Co-operation countries, as also the similar Italian project for the summer of 1980, contribute to making the European idea better known to the younger generation, and believing that other member states could follow this example ;

10. Asserting that such school exchanges and educational visits should be as wide as possible, not limited to a restricted number of member states, and aware that a better balance should be struck between the states participating in these exchanges ;

11. Noting that information on exchanges is generally incomplete and inadequately circulated,

12. Recommends that the Committee of Ministers:

A. invite the governments of member states :

i. to foster educational visits and school exchanges through support measures, especially financial, and to increase their range in order to include states whose languages are not widespread or not generally taught in schools beyond the national frontiers ;

ii. to encourage the inclusion of such visits and exchanges in school curricula ;

iii. to improve the content and availability of information, so as to make it more accessible to those interested ;

B. call upon the Council for Cultural Cooperation :

i. to help circulate information about the various categories of exchanges at the European level ;

ii. to deal with the problem of school exchanges as a whole, in order to propose solutions on the European level ;

iii. to encourage the Signatory States to the European Cultural Convention to follow the example set by the Greek and Italian Governments by taking turns on a regular basis to host visiting groups of European school children.

[1]. Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 3 July 1980.

See Doc. 4541, report of the Committee on Culture and Education.