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Aspects of Education and the European Union
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Oxford Studies in Comparative Education

Aspects of Education and the European Union

Edited by DAVID PHILLIPS

1996 paperback 160 pages, £30.00, ISBN 978-1-873927-18-2
https://doi.org/10.15730/books.39

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About the book

In early 1995 a series of seminars was held under the aegis of the Oxford Centre for Comparative Studies in Education, based in the Department of Educational Studies of the University of Oxford, on aspects of education and the European Union. The papers given at those seminars are collected together in this volume. They range from an overview of the legal position following the Maastricht Treaty, through an examination of what is meant by the 'European dimension' in education and a study of the curriculum in countries of the European Union, to analyses of faculty mobility and a case study of the Europeanisation of education in science and engineering.

Contents

David Phillips. Introduction

Catherine Barnard. The Treaty on European Union, Education and Vocational Training

Martin McLean. The European Union and the Curriculum

Peter Stokes. Education in England and Wales: out of step with Europe?

Raymond Ryba. Is Progress Towards Development of the European Dimension in Education Satisfactory?

Andrew Convey. The European Dimension in Teacher Education

John Sayer. Experiences of European Union Programmes with Central and Eastern Europe

Sylvia van de Bunt-Kokhuis. Determinants of International Faculty Mobility in Europe

John U. Shearn. Professional Mobility in Europe: reflection and comment on the need for professional staff to undertake assignments in other countries for the purpose of career development

Josephine Anne Stein & Nicole Kurtz-Newell. The Europeanisation of Science and Engineering Education

Introduction

The aim of this book was to explore some issues relating to the education and training policies of the European Union (EU). The Treaty on European Union (The Maastricht Treaty) shifted the agenda of education and training policy in the European Community. Previously it had to be emphasised that the Treaty of Rome (1957) specifically did not include provision in the field of education; the Treaty referred (in Article 128) only to training:

The Council shall, acting on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting the Economic and Social Committee, lay down general principles for implementing a common vocational training policy capable of contributing to the harmonious development both of the national economies and of the common market.

However, in the Maastricht Treaty (1992; in force from 1 November 1993) ‘education’ was included for the first time in a much enlarged new Article 126. The full text, together with most of Article 127 (on vocational training), is included in an Appendix to this Introduction; for our present purposes the key part is what is said at the very beginning of the Article:

The Community shall contribute to the development of quality education by encouraging cooperation between Member States and, if necessary, by supporting and supplementing their action, while fully respecting the responsibility of the Member States for the content of teaching and the organization of education systems and their cultural and linguistic diversity.

While the Article is clear in its recognition of the Member States’ rights to determine the form and content of their individual education systems, there is now nevertheless scope for a much freer interpretation of educational policy than was possible under the restricted provisions of the Treaty of Rome. It goes on to talk, inter alia, of the encouragement of the ‘European Dimension’ in education, of teacher and student mobility and of the mutual recognition of qualifications and periods of study, of co-operation between educational establishments, of the exchange of information and experience, of youth exchanges and of distance education. Most of these points are covered in the papers included in this volume. ‘Incentive measures’ will be possible to achieve these policy objectives, but they will exclude “any harmonization of the laws and regulations of the Member States”. This last point, ensuring the rights embedded in the principle of ‘subsidiarity’, prevents any EU-wide legislative or other regulatory harmonisation, while encouraging Member States – through the Commission’s various training and research programmes – to co-operate in measures designed to bring those involved in education and training closer together.

Catherine Barnard steers us skilfully in her contribution through the implications of these provisions. Often, as she demonstrates, the interpretation of policy resides in the judgements of cases brought before the courts. The rationale she provides for the Community’s interest in education – education as a means to influence the population; promotion of that understanding between peoples that will lead to “an ever closer union” – makes it perhaps surprising in retrospect that the Treaty of Rome did not make mention of education. We are told, indeed, that Jean Monnet himself once said: “If I had to start again, I would start with education”. However, the reality, of course, was that the Treaty of Rome and the ‘Treaty Establishing the European Coal and Steel Community’ that preceded it were concerned with economics and not with wider social policy.

Martin McLean draws on his long-standing interest in the European curriculum to examine questions of diversity and potential uniformity, while Peter Stokes, comparing England with France and Germany, points to the difficulties England’s educational idiosyncrasies create for the kind of closer co-operation with our European neighbours implicit in the Maastricht Treaty.

In their papers, Raymond Ryba and Andrew Convey examine in detail the concept of a ‘European Dimension’ in education and its practical implications. Convey concentrates on teacher education, a field experiencing considerable turmoil in the UK and elsewhere, and he identifies the considerable problems involved in accommodating a European dimension within teacher education programmes as they exist at present.

John Sayer, who has had a long involvement with collaborative programmes funded by the Commission, describes his experiences of running a TEMPUS project involving institutions in Eastern Europe. His work constitutes a valuable case study in itself of the realisation of the aims behind the various EU initiatives promoting collaborative projects in the Member States and beyond.

Josephine Anne Stein & Nicole Kurtz-Newell take the example of the education of scientists and engineers to examine changing professional and employment circumstances within the EU, focusing on curricular coordination, mutual recognition and accreditation, and identifying stronger and weaker national policies on the ‘Europeanisation’ of education. In their contributions, Sylvia van de Bunt-Kokhuis and John Shearn take the theme of European collaboration and cooperation further by examining problems of faculty mobility and career development in Europe.

Interest in the EU, and education and training policy is growing. Following Guy Neave’s important work of 1984, there have been many publications on the subject, some of the most recent of which deserve particular attention. It is hoped that this present volume will contribute to the growing literature and encourage further writing on this important subject.

Notes[1] Treaties Establishing the European Communities, Luxembourg (Office for Official Publications of the European Communities), 1973, p. 275.

[2] Quoted from Bernard Rudden & Derrick Wyatt (Eds)(1994) Basic Community Laws, 5th edn, p. 92. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

[3] Quoted by G. de Landsheere (1994) in his article ‘European Community: educational goals and plans’, in Torsten Husén & T. Neville Postlethwaite (Eds) The International Encyclopedia of Education, 2nd edn, p. 2053. Oxford: Pergamon Press.

[4] See in particular Brian Holmes & Martin McLean (1989) The Curriculum: a comparative perspective. London: Unwin Hyman; Martin McLean (1990) Britain and a Single Market Europe: prospects for a common school curriculum. London: Kogan Page; Martin McLean (1995) Educational Traditions Compared: content, teaching and learning in industrialised countries. London: David Fulton.

[5] See also John Sayer (Ed.) et al. (1995) Developing Schools for Democracy in Europe: an example of trans-European co-operation in education. Wallingford: Triangle Books.

[6] For useful descriptions of the various programmes of the Commission, see Jill Preston (1991) EC Education, Training and Research Programmes: an action guide. London: Kogan Page.

[7] Guy Neave (1984) The EEC and Education. Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books.

[8] Among them are Colin Brock & Witold Tulasiewicz (Eds)(1994) Education in a Single Europe. London: Routledge; Linda Hantrais (1995) Social Policy in the European Union. Basingstoke: Macmillan; Gordon H. Bell (Ed.)(1995) Educating European Citizens. London: David Fulton.

Appendix The Treaty on European Union
Article 126

1. The Community shall contribute to the development of quality education by encouraging co-operation between Member States and, if necessary, by supporting and supplementing their action, while fully respecting the responsibility of the Member States for the content, teaching and the organization of education systems and their cultural and linguistic diversity.

2. Community action shall be aimed at:

  • developing the European dimension in education, particularly through the teaching and dissemination of the languages of the Member State;
  • encouraging mobility of students and teachers, inter alia by encouraging the academic recognition of diplomas and periods of study;
  • promoting co-operation between educational establishments;
  • developing exchanges of information and experience on issues common to the education systems of the Member States;
  • encouraging the development of youth exchanges and of exchanges of socio-educational instructors;
  • encouraging the development of distance education.

3. The Community and the Member States shall foster cooperation with third countries and the competent international organizations in the sphere of education, in particular the Council of Europe.

4. In order to contribute to the achievement of the objectives referred to in this Article, the Council:

  • acting in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 189b, after consulting the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, shall adopt incentive measures, excluding any harmonization of the laws and regulations of the Member States;
  • acting by qualified majority on a proposal from the Commission, shall adopt recommendations.

Article 127

1. The Community shall implement a vocational training policy which shall support and supplement the action of the Member States, while fully respecting the responsibility of the Member States for the content and organization of vocational training.

Community action shall aim to:

  • facilitate adaptation to industrial changes, in particular through vocational training and retraining;
  • improve initial and continuing vocational training in order to facilitate vocational integration and reintegration into the labour market;
  • facilitate access to vocational training, and encourage mobility of instructors and trainees, and particularly young people;
  • stimulate cooperation on training between educational or training establishments and firms; develop exchanges of information and experience on issues common to the training systems of the Member States.

 

3. The Community and the Member States shall foster cooperation with third countries and the competent international organizations in the sphere of vocational training.

4. The Council, acting in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 189C and after consulting the Economic and Social Committee, shall adopt measures to contribute to the achievement of the objectives referred to in this Article, excluding any harmonization of the laws and regulations of the Member States.

Contributors

Catherine Barnard was until recently Jean Monnet Chair of European Integration at the University of Southampton. She now teaches in Cambridge.

Andrew Convey is Research Fellow in the School of Geography of the University of Leeds.

Nicole Kurtz-Newell is a nuclear physicist working as Chargée de Mission in the London Office of the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS).

Martin McLean is a lecturer in comparative education in the Institute of Education of the University of London. His latest book is Educational Traditions Compared (David Fulton Publishers, 1995).

David Phillips is a Fellow of St Edmund Hall, Oxford, and Director of the Centre for Comparative Studies in Education in the Department of Educational Studies of Oxford University. His latest books are Education in Germany (Routledge, 1995) and Pragmatismus und Idealismus (Böhlau, 1995).

Raymond Ryba has long been involved in the development of a ‘European dimension’ in education and has written extensively on the subject. He is based in the School of Education of the University of Manchester and serves as General Secretary of the World Congress of Comparative Education Societies.

John Sayer, based in the Department of Educational Studies of Oxford University, directs the EU-funded ‘DSDE’ (‘Developing Schools for Democracy in Europe’) Project.

John U. Shearn was until recently Director of ARTISTE Ltd, ‘Anglia Region Training in Science and Technology for Europe’.

Josephine Anne Stein is a Senior Research Fellow with the Programme of Policy Research in Engineering Science and Technology (PREST), a research institute of the University of Manchester, and is Manager of PREST’s London office. She is currently directing a seven-country EU-funded study on ‘International Education and Training of Scientists and Engineers and their Employment in European Industry’.

Peter Stokes wrote his paper in this volume during a period of sabbatical leave. He has published extensively on education in England and Germany.

Sylvia G.M. van de Bunt-Kokhuis has been Senior Researcher of International Programmes at Tilburg University since 1993. From January 1996 she has also been Director of the University Enterprise Training Partnership (UETO) located in the south of the Netherlands. Her published work is largely in the field of cultural and international dimensions in industry and higher education.

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