Published on June 21st, 2017 | by ECSWE0
Education committee calls for age-appropriate ICT and media curricula
On 21 June 2017, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the Committee on Culture and Education of the European Parliament adopted their joint report on “a new skills agenda for Europe”. ECSWE, together with other partners and its national members has successfully lobbied committee members to include amendments calling for and age- and development appropriate media-pedagogy. This is an important step for the European Waldorf movement. If adopted in the plenary in September, the report will allow us to initiate a debate on how to teach digital skills in an age- and development-appropriate way.
Negotiations on this report had raised concerns among our members that national governments and schools would be pushed once more to introduce digital technology in classrooms from an early age. The first draft insisted “on the need to incorporate new technologies in the teaching and learning process” while not mentioning the need for an age-appropriate approach that respects healthy child development and wellbeing. ECSWE, therefore decided to take action.
Together with our partners in the Lifelong Learning Platform, we contacted the rapporteurs and shadow rapporteurs on both Committees and suggested a changed wording calling for “age-appropriate ICT and media curricula that respect child development and well-being and emphasise the importance of both responsible use and critical thinking.” Furthermore, we stressed that the initially proposed “pedagogical leadership from teachers at all levels of education” should be “based on a clear vision for an age- and development-appropriate media pedagogy.”
As reported earlier this year, several committee members tabled amendments inspired by our proposals. Unfortunately, not all of them were fully in line with our initial drafts. While the S&D and ALDE rapporteurs took up our proposed wording, one particular amendment, tabled by the shadow rapporteur from the influential EPP group, did not make the important references to child development and wellbeing and only included a general reference to age.
Worried, whether this division along party lines would result in voting down the more favourable amendments, we decided to re-contact the rapporteurs and shadow rapporteurs to better explain, why the initially proposed wording should be kept. Furthermore, all committee members received a personalised email encouraging them to vote in favour of our proposals. Finally, in a concerted effort with our national members from the Czech republic and the Netherlands, MEPs from these two countries were contacted to explain the relevance of the S&D and ALDE amendments for their local schools.
Today, we are delighted to report that our sustained efforts were successful: our initial suggestions are now well reflected in compromise amendments N and P that integrate the substance of a whole range of amendments and that were both carried by a broad alliance of members from various political groups. They were included as paragraphs 90 and 93 in the final version of the report. The adoption of the amended report at committee level is an important milestone as the plenary usually follows the committee line.
A final adoption in the plenary on 14 September 2017 would be a big achievement for the European Waldorf movement. It would allow for entering into a public debate with policy makers, teachers, school-heads, and academics on what constitutes an age-appropriate media pedagogy that reflects the healthy development of children. Therefore, let’s keep our fingers crossed for the final plenary vote and sustain our efforts to lobby for an adoption of this important report.