This manual is part of a series, collectively a “toolkit” designed and produced by the Council of Europe to help schools and other educational institutions to promote and develop Education for Democratic Citizenship (EDC – see Appendix II). EDC is a matter of paramount importance to theCouncil if the 46 member states are truly to progress together along the path of democracy: it liesat the heart of ensuring that the next generation of young citizens are prepared and equipped toplay their democratic part – in their own communities, in their wider societies and in theframework of Europe as a whole. EDC is thus a theme that is mentioned many times throughoutthis volume, as it is in all the publications that make up the EDC toolkit.
What does this manual do?
This is a tool for the democratic governance of
but it is applicable to all kinds of educational institutions and, indeed, other places where education of the young takes place. Theword school is used for the sake of simplicity, not in any attempt to exclude other forms or settings. Similarly, those learning in such places will be called “students”, though it must beremembered that this term encompasses the very youngest children (who are never too young tolive and learn democracy and democratic citizenship) as well as young adults.The tool is designed to help readers to gauge how their school contributes to their students’ EDC,and thus to their preparation for adult citizenship in a democracy, by looking at the ways in whichthe school operates from day to day – and the ways in which people behave. So this is not reallyabout teaching citizenship in schools: nor is it about the theory or principles of democracy, of democratic education, or even of EDC. It is intended as a practical tool to bridge the gap betweentheory (such as the question: “How do we prepare young people to become participatingdemocratic adult citizens?”) and practice (such as the answer: “By ensuring that they experiencedemocracy in action in every aspect of school life at every level”). Thus it begins with a fewdefinitions; describes how the journey towards democracy tends to take shape; helps readers toestimate how far along the journey their school has so far travelled; and gives practical adviceand ideas on how either to start the journey or to travel further on it, with appropriate evaluationof the progress that has been made.
Who is it for?
No democracy is perfect; no school is perfect; and no school is perfectly democratic! Much of thismanual is aimed at school leaders, the term generally given nowadays to those professionals atthe senior end of management who have the power and responsibility to determine to a largedegree the way in which the school operates. The authors of the main part of the guide make noapology for this! We are both serving heads, though we both recognise that we are far from beingthe only people in our schools with the power and authority described above. But the first personin a school who is likely to read this (before passing it on, we hope!) is the head and, without theactive support and work of the head, democracy is unlikely to take root and grow: so we haveused the word “head” as being interchangeable with “leader”, and hope we will be forgiven for our deliberately loose terminology.But in a democracy there are other stakeholders. This manual can be used with equal success bythe other people who have an interest in the success of the school. The students – children and youngpeople aged (in the view of this manual) from four (or below) to 20 (and beyond), and whether informal school, in university, in technical or vocational training in college or in the workplace –are the people who have the paramount interest
in the education that is provided for them
in the manner in which it is provided. We cannot stress too strongly that democratic