In the past, we’ve asked you how we can improve European education to make it more competitive. Recently, though, we took a video question from Karsten from Germany who suggested that a “European” dimension should be added to national curriculums to strengthen the feeling amongst Europe’s citizens that the EU is not just an elite project. Karsten argued that the “obligitary subject of ‘Europe’, covering history, politics, music, art and so on” would help “bring the union closer to the citizens.”
Education is often seen as an important way of fostering national identity, so this would undoubtedly be a controversial move for some. It should also be remembered that school curiculums are currently set at the national level and not by the EU (something that member-states are unlikely to want to see changed). On the other hand, we held a lively debate last year on whether a European identity was really possible, with many readers arguing that it was. Should we, then, be encouraging the development of this identity through a common curriculum, or does this sound too much like brainwashing?
We put this question to John Panaretos, Professor of Probability and Statistics at the Athens University of Economics and a former Greek Deputy Minister of Education (2009 – 2011). How would he respond to Karsten?
Next up, we took a question sent in by Tony on youth unemployment: “What can we do within the education system to ensure that those coming into the labour market have the best possible chance of competing for scarce jobs?“
What do YOU think? Could a common European identity be developed through a common European education? Would a mandatory school subject of ‘Europe’, covering history, politics, music and art help bring the EU closer to its citizens? Or would this just be a form of brainwashing? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.
John Panaretos was Deputy Minister of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs (2009 – 2011). He is Professor of Probability and Statistics at the Athens University of Economics and Business.