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Procedure : 2002/2268(INI)
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Document selected : A5-0080/2004

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PV 26/02/2004 - 9.4

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Thursday, 26 February 2004 - Brussels
Schools and access to culture

European Parliament resolution on the role of schools and school education in maximizing public access to culture (2002/2268(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community and, in particular, to Articles 149, 150 and 151 thereof,

–   having regard to the Council Resolution of 28 October 1999 on integrating history into the Community's cultural action(1),

–   having regard to the Presidency Conclusions of the Lisbon European Council of 23-24 March 2000,

–   having regard to Decision No. 508/2000/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 February 2000 on establishing the Culture 2000 Programme(2),

–   having regard to Decision No. 253/2000/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 January 2000(3) establishing the second phase of the 'Socrates' programme,

–   having regard to its resolution of 16 January 2001 on quality evaluation of school education(4),

–   having regard to its resolution of 6 February 2002 on education and training systems(5),

–   having regard to its resolution of 5 September 2002 on the third Commission report on Citizenship of the Union(6),

–   having regard to the report from the Commission to the Spring European Council of 21 January 2004 on 'Delivering Lisbon: reforms for the enlarged Union' (COM(2004) 29),

–   having regard to Rule 163 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Culture, Youth, Education, the Media and Sport (A5-0080/2004),

A.   whereas the Lisbon European Council in March 2000 set a strategic new goal for the European Union to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010,

B.   whereas the Council meeting on education of 12 February 2001 defined the following three strategic objectives to obtain the goals set in Lisbon:

   - increase the quality and effectiveness of education and training systems in the European Union
   - facilitate the access of all to the education and training systems
   - open up education and training systems to the wider world,

C.   whereas the Education Council adopted in May 2003 five European benchmarks for the attainment of these objectives,

D.   whereas the Commission has pointed out in its Communication "Education and Training 2010" (COM(2003) 685) that there is a shortfall of investment in human resources in the Member States regarding education,

E.   whereas the Commission has stated in its aforementioned report that there is a clear need for the Member States to invest more effectively - i.e. to identify and invest in those areas of education and training which produce the greatest results,

F.   whereas the respect for and promotion of cultural and linguistic diversity and the sharing of a common cultural heritage work as a positive force in the integration process and the development of the EU,

G.   whereas the process of European integration and globalisation poses new challenges to the various European cultures and to the educational systems of the different Member States, not least in promoting awareness of other Member States" culture and history, without losing sight of the importance of national culture,

H.   whereas according to a 2000 Eurobarometer study(7), the majority of EU citizens do not believe in the existence of a shared European cultural identity,

I.   whereas interest in culture is acquired in childhood and a significant contribution is made to this in the home environment and at educational institutions, including not only schools but also pre-school and other institutions,

J.   whereas, particularly in densely populated urban areas, many school pupils (or their parents) do not originate from the country in which they are attending school, which means that schools have a major cultural role to play in terms of integration; whereas, at the same time, this provides an excellent opportunity for cultural exchange and the development of intercultural understanding,

K.   whereas it is possible to stimulate cultural interest at school in particular by organising and participating in special events such as painting, photography and film competitions, visits by artists to schools, excursions to places of culture and cultural events in the locality, class trips abroad and pupil exchange schemes,

L.   whereas language teaching, in particular, plays a central role in acquiring an understanding of other cultures since contact with other languages initially involves contact with other cultural, literary and artistic works,

1.  Regrets the fact that only 17% of 15-year-old pupils in the European Union possess the basic educational skills, namely reading, writing and arithmetic, that conforms with the average set by the OECD;

2.  Calls on Member States, in particular those whose GDP percentage invested in education is lower than the EU average, to increase investment in human resources in the field of education;

3.  Points out that school education in Europe should place a greater emphasis on achieving a basic fundamental knowledge of the process of European integration; points out, moreover, that the European dimension should be present in all school disciplines and not only in those directly linked with this subject such as history, philosophy, geography, economics, literature and art;

4.  Recalls that languages are the expression of cultural wealth and diversity and confirms its support for the European Community's objective of enabling all pupils to learn two languages other than their own;

5.  Calls on the Member States to provide continuous training for teachers in European integration to ensure that students from the various EU Member States are provided with a standard basic knowledge of the subject;

6.  Is of the opinion that projects promoting the teaching of European integration in schools should be funded not only by cultural and educational EU programmes but also by other relevant programmes;

7.  Believes that within the context of history teaching, there is a need to address the tendency to concentrate predominantly on the 20th century, at the expense of preceding stages of civilisation which underpin European culture, literature, philosophy, art and music;

8.  Points out that there is a need to raise awareness within the EU Member States of the history and culture of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and vice versa;

9.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that in European research programmes encouragement is given to projects concerning the fundamentals of European civilisation such as fundamental legal principles, the history of institutions and education, the rules of coexistence, social and anthropological practices and artistic manifestations;

10.  Believes that there is a need for European education systems to foster awareness of the cultures and ways of living of all European peoples and to raise awareness of common European values;

11.  Underlines the contribution made within individual Member States for the respect and promotion of cultural and linguistic diversity;

12.  Stresses the need to educate young people through cultural activities and structures which are supported financially by the relevant authorities at all levels;

13.  Notes that the European Youth Programme already encourages awareness of common European values and works towards developing a sense of European citizenship and recommends that this programme be expanded for the benefit of school teachers and school children;

14.  Notes that access to Europe's cultural heritage is a fundamental precondition to the integration process and a force for the consolidation of a sense of European citizenship;

15.  Recommends that the knowledge of Europe's cultural heritage should be a natural component of the syllabus in schools throughout the EU;

16.  Asks the Commission to draw up a text on the history of European culture (art, philosophy, science, etc.) which, after adoption by the Council and with due respect for the principle of subsidiarity, might become a standard subject on the school syllabus in the Member States;

17.  Points to the numerous opportunities offered by schools and education to promote intercultural and interreligious exchanges between pupils, extending also beyond European cultural borders, thereby contributing to the development of cultural understanding, for example by encouraging children to talk about their country of origin or the country of origin of their parents, together with their customs and traditions, and to describe their experiences as foreigners in an unfamiliar cultural context;

18.  Stresses the need to step up active public policies for the conservation of the common cultural heritage; urges associations recognised in Europe to become more actively involved in conservation and educational initiatives in respect of the historic and artistic heritage;

19.  Notes that the Commission's action "Netd@ys Europe" associates European cinema with schools; believes that it would be advantageous in this connection, to widen the scope of such projects so as to encourage cooperation, for example, through school films, introductions to the media professions and invitations addressed to film directors to visit schools as 'guest speakers', etc. Further proposes that the MEDIA Plus programme should contribute in raising pupils' awareness and interest in European cinema; Points out that a Pan -European Children's Network would be an efficient way to disseminate and raise awareness of European films of high quality;

20.  Calls on the Member States to promote collaboration between teachers and artists with a view to encouraging pupils to learn about the performing arts at school in a European context;

21.  Urges the improvement of quality and access to the pedagogical services of museums, theatres, libraries and other cultural structures; calls on schools to open themselves up to these cultural centres and institutions, contacts and exchanges which can only be mutually beneficial;

22.  Emphasises that children's participation in artistic and cultural activities is an important factor in developing their creative skills and that the development of creative potential benefits their future personal and professional lives; stresses, in this connection, the importance of cooperation between schools and homes in greatly helping to achieve this objective;

23.  Welcomes the fact that there is a growing recognition at all levels in the EU that the educational and professional success of individuals depends on development of school curricula which value both academic and creative abilities alike;

24.  Urges schools, homes, cultural institutions and creative artists and intellectuals to cooperate more closely in the field of cultural education; urges schools to take greater advantage of the opportunities offered by the diverse cultural backgrounds of their pupils for the purposes of cultural education;

25.  Stresses the importance of pupil exchange schemes, class trips to other countries and language teaching in becoming acquainted with and experiencing European and non-European cultures and therefore calls on the Member State and European Union authorities to promote such initiatives to a greater degree;

26.  Considers that music, fine arts and theatre are a fundamental component of the cultures and history of the individual Member States and of Europe's cultural heritage and therefore recommends these disciplines are given a higher priority in school education;

27.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, and the governments of the Member States.

(1) OJ C 324, 12.11.1999, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 63, 10.3. 2000, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 28, 3.2. 2000, p. 1.
(4) OJ C 262, 18.9. 2001, p. 44.
(5) OJ C 284 E, 21.11. 2002, p. 196.
(6) OJ C 272 E, 13.11. 2003, p. 446.
(7) Eurobarometer Study N° cat. NC-31-00-910-EN-C "How Europeans See Themselves"

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