European, global and intercultural dimension in curriculum development
In addition to the requirements and guidance set out in decrees, the Core Skills and the Final Achievement Targets, numerous course curricula refer to the internationalisation and Europeanisation of education, regardless of the network or educational level. Geography and history curricula include a large proportion of European and international topics, language curricula frequently affirm the need for language exchanges, and so on. The European and international dimension in education in general and in curricula in particular is one of the primary concerns of French Community education and training administrators.
The need to highlight the European dimension in education can take different forms, which cover various areas of subject content and teacher training.
At the level of schools, the Decree on the Missions of Schools stipulates in its Article 9 that all the controlling authorities providing education in the French Community must adapt the definition of their curricula and educational plans to take into account the increasing influence of the European and international dimension of education. In its definition of the framework for the definition of the controlling authorities’ curricula and educational plans, the Decree explicitly mentions adaptation to ensure the understanding of the living environment, history, and, more specifically, reasons for and consequences of European unification, the value of knowing languages other than French and above all of being able to communicate in those languages, the transmission of cultural heritage in all of its aspects and the discovery of other cultures, which, together, send signals of the recognition of those cultures and strengthen social ties.
This type of recommendation inevitably leads to a reinforcement of the place of topics relating to the European Union and its identity, in the various disciplines. For example, in history and geography, the Core Skills and the final achievement targets include among other ‘key moments’ a thorough study of the place occupied by Belgium in Europe and in the world. In artistic education, the same Core Skills require students to be able to easily identify the ‘other’, its culture, its art, its folklore, its differences, etc. In the final achievement targets relating to foreign languages, the reference to internationalisation of education is omnipresent and in those relative to classical languages, the most important aspects of Greek and Roman civilisations are to be placed in relation to contemporary European culture and the constitutive elements of our individual and collective identity through consideration of its European and universal dimension.
Finally, as from 1 September 2016 for primary schools, and as from 1 September 2017 for secondary schools, offering a choice between religion and moral education studies : at least one of the two lessons per week allocated to religion or moral studies should be devoted to 'philosophy and citizenship'. Instruction on this subject is part of compulsory education. In the other schools, the content and objectives of "Education to philosophy and citizenship" must be acquired through all subjects.
The decree’s main objective is the development of students' competences and knowledge related to philosophy, citizenship and democracy education. The reference framework and the programs for the subject "philosophy and citizenship" provide the whole aspect related to the recognition of the plurality of values and cultures, at the level of the competence "being open to the plurality of cultures and beliefs".
Partnerships and networks
Erasmus + is the European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport. It is open to all schools from pre-primary education. Funds are available for mobility projects (key action 1) and strategic partnerships (key action 2) in Europe. The Erasmus + programme is open to 34 countries in Europe and, under certain conditions, to other countries in the world.
Mobility projects allow school staff to train abroad. These activities must be part of a development strategy of the school in relation to its needs and its reality on the ground. Participants can attend a course or seminar, do an observation internship or go and teach in a partner school. Mobility projects also offer the possibility for students in vocational education and in dual vocational education to complete an internship in a company abroad. Schools also have the opportunity to invite experts from foreign companies to teach.
Strategic partnerships allow cooperation around a common theme between organizations active in education and training. They can range from simple exchange of good practices to the development of innovative productions. Depending on the objectives of the project, it will be open to students, staff or any other stakeholder concerned by the theme developed in the project. This allows whole classes or groups of students to work on a common theme and to participate in exchanges between partner countries.
In the French Community, the programme is managed for the European Union by the French-speaking Agency for Lifelong Learning (AEF-Europe). Each year, the European Union publishes a Call for new projects following which interested organizations can respond by sending their application in order to obtain funding for their project.