Parliamentary Assembly

RECOMMENDATION 611 (1970)[1]

on permanent education in Europe

The Assembly,

1. Recalling that, as part of the general theme of "Europe twenty years hence", the development of permanent education is one of the major objectives of the Council of Europe ;

2. Recalling its Resolution 422 (1969), by which it decided to make a contribution to International Education Year in the form of a study on permanent education in Europe ;

3. Congratulating UNESCO on helping, through the International Year, to make world public opinion further aware of the increasing importance of education for developed and developing countries alike ;

4. Noting with satisfaction that the Council for Cultural Co-operation has published an excellent series of studies on permanent education ;

5. Believing, with an eye to the future, that it is of cardinal importance to all member States that they should each equip themselves with an educational system that enables every individual to achieve self-fulfilment by a life-long process which integrates the whole range of educational influences ;

6. Believing that a comprehensive study needs to be made with a view to deducing the principles which governments should apply in order to establish in Europe a system of permanent education that meets the demands of social justice and economic progress in present-day society,

7. Recommends that the Committee of Ministers ask the Council for Cultural Co-operation to be guided by the general and practical measures set out below in its efforts to work out a system of permanent education to be proposed to the States which are parties to the European Cultural Convention.

Towards a system of permanent education in Europe

General principles and practical measures

I. Long-term action

1. Information campaign on the need for permanent education to meet the contemporary demands of social justice and economic progress.

2. Identification of the objectives of the various types of basic education (i.e. all education - primary, secondary and technical - except higher education).

3. Study, as a result, of :

- the contents of curricula ;

- interdisciplinarity ;

- the attitude towards knowledge and information (transformation of the conventional library into a data-processing laboratory).

4. Study of problems regarding examination methods :

- How to stimulate effort without upsetting the balance of studies or giving rise to inhibiting apprehension ?

- How to achieve a system of continuous assessment that is not a multiplicity of small tests ?

- Deciding precisely what qualities are to be looked for in the way in which a pupil performs the exercises which the study of each subject or group of subjects entails.

After these qualities have been carefully identified and designated, how can they assessed quantitatively ?

- Building-up of a meaningful portrait of the pupil from assessments of the individual qualities referred to above.

- Revision of the concept of qualifications so that it is more in the nature of a periodical confirmation of the manner in which a person uses these qualifications for the purpose of carrying out his duties.

5. Study of old age in relation to the society of permanent education :

- How to prepare for retirement ?

- What contribution can elderly people make to the implementation of permanent education activities ?

II. Short-term action

1. Review and prospective study of the education of subnormal children (6-7% of their age group).

2. How can lower secondary education be made attractive and effective for those pupils who, with conventional educational methods, show an allergy, even an aversion, to school that is prejudicial to their development and their participation in the society of permanent education ?

3. Study of problems connected with the establishment of a system of educational (social and vocational) facilities for young people between the school-leaving age and the age at which they assume civic responsibilities, who are not engaged in the pursuit of studies or for whom there is no suitable system of apprenticeship and supplementary training. The educational assistance envisaged here should cover vocational training, general education, cultural activities and leisure pursuits.

4. Compilation and periodical revision by the Council of Europe Secretariat, for all member countries, of a catalogue of :

(a) adult education establishments catering for the various occupational levels ;

(b) youth and leisure activities ;

(c) measures taken by public authorities or firms to further the cultural and vocational training of working people.

5. Enumeration and development of the information and guidance facilities which should be made available to families, teachers and pupils in order to facilitate the choice of the path to be taken at the end of the lower secondary and upper secondary education.

6. Human understanding and economic relations among the countries of Europe call for a greater effort to extend the teaching of foreign languages in each country. Instruction in foreign languages is the more effective the earlier it starts, provided suitable methods are used. Foreign languages should therefore be taught in primary schools and even in nursery schools. This means that primary school teachers would need training in foreign languages. The Council of Europe has already had occasion to recommend exchanges of trainee primary school teachers between one European country and another. A review should therefore be made of the results achieved, and all necessary steps taken to accelerate the extension of exchanges and of linguistic and methodological courses for trainee primary school teachers.

[1]. Assembly debate on 22 September 1970 (15th Sitting) (see Doc. 2817, report of the Committee on Culture and Education ).

Text adopted by the Assembly on 22 September 1970 (15th Sitting).