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This publication presents an overview, from international perspectives, of theapplicability and relevance of the Tool for Quality Assurance of Education
for Democratic Citizenship in Schools, published jointly by UNESCO, the Council
of Europe and the Centre for Educational Policies. Based on 10 country reports,
it examines quality assurance requirements in the field of education for demo-
cratic citizenship (EDC) and compares the specific evaluation systems in those
countries. It also provides a feasibility study on relevant conditions for imple-
menting the Tool and aims to serve as a set of orientation guidelines for policy
makers, a case study on implentation for researchers and a source book for edu-
cation practitioners.

CONSEIL
DE L'EUROPE

COUNCIL
OF EUROPE

The Council of Europe has 47 member states, covering virtually the entire continent of Europe. It
seeks to develop common democratic and legal principles based on the European Convention on
Human Rights and other reference texts on the protection of individuals. Ever since it was foun-
ded in 1949, in the aftermath of the Second World War, the Council of Europe has symbolised
reconciliation.

http://book.coe.int
Council of Europe Publishing€39/US$78

ISBN 978-92-871-6522-0

Introducing quality assurance
of education for democratic citizenship in schools –
Comparative study of 10 countries

9:HSTCSH=V[ZWWU:

Learning and living
democracy

C
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cratic citizen
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7157_Introducuing Quality Assurance 18/12/08 14:19 Page 1

Page 2

Introducing quality assurance
of education for democratic
citizenship in schools

Page 171

170

– the results are important for the school’s director and often (especially if
they are negative) have some effect on his or her career;

– teachers are informed about the results but do not always have any occasion
to discuss them;

– students usually know nothing about evaluations carried out by the
– they only see that “there are people walking about the school

and sitting in on classes”; sometimes they are forewarned that there will be
an inspection and that they should behave properly;

– parents are sometimes informed, albeit very briefly, unless the inspection is a
reaction to a parental complaint or an accident occurring in the school, etc.;

– the results of the external evaluation become the basis for a report written
by each , sent to the minister, regional authorities and local
government bodies running the school.

In the case of self-evaluations for the purposes of QA projects, teachers, students
and parents participate to a greater extent both during the diagnostic phase, as
well as at the stage when conclusions are broadcast. In most schools a significant
source of information about the school’s problems and successes are opinion polls
conducted among all the stakeholders – questionnaires, interviews and discussions
on the topic of various areas of the school’s work. The authenticity and significance
of this process for the school’s subsequent performance depends on the extent and
manner in which teachers, students and parents are included in the process of
working on the school development plan.

The voices of parents and students have a completely different standing when the
school participates on a voluntary basis in the Learning Schools programme, or
when it is applying for ISO certification or the EKO-TUR Quality School certifica-
tion. In undertakings of this kind, the opinions of “clients” are considered the most
important and are the point of departure for evaluating school performance, and
building the development programme.

Representatives of the local authorities also often take part in discussion of the
evaluation results. They are frequently interested in how “their” schools are
working and which direction they should be taking. As an example, local govern-
ment representatives – the mayor or president of the town, as well as district or
regional representatives of the department of education – always participate in the
evaluation panels organised within the Learning Schools programme. It is worth
remembering that education often accounts for over half of local government
expenditure; hence it is easy to understand the local authorities’ interest.

The role of external experts and consultants is varied, but most often marginal.
The school usually tries to deal with the task on its own, very often simply for
financial or organisational reasons. Schools sometimes invite experts to help diag-
nose school problems or work out the evaluation tools. Some of them take part in
training sessions or courses organised by universities, teacher training institutes,

Page 172

171

Country-specific reports: Member states of the Council of Europe

non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or private companies. Special computer
programs are now available on the market which assist in the gathering of data on
students and school performance.

However, it seems that due to a “genetic” flaw in the system of supervision, the help
of specialists is more often treated as a means of fulfilling difficult requirements,
and not as an opportunity to reflect on the school’s problems and the methods of
raising performance quality.

The situation is completely different when schools enter programmes on a volun-
tary basis, and when they have a longer period for evaluating quality and formu-
lating a development plan. The schools see external experts as allies, not controllers,
and are ready to divulge their real problems. All of the voluntary QA programmes
mentioned above assume help for the school in diagnosing problem areas and de-
veloping corrective measures. In certain cases the schools (directors, school boards,
task teams) share their experiences and examples of good practice with each other.
Schools network to share thinking on how to solve the more typical school prob-
lems – this is happening for instance in the Learning Schools programme, which
has developed various forms of co-operation between schools and also offers advice
from consultants from Poland, Great Britain and the United States.

The tool is a very promising concept, both for evaluating a school with regard to its
“democratic added value”, and for planning activities that can increase this value.
The tool not only indicates the areas of school life where EDC may explicitly or
implicitly be present, but also gives examples of good practices in all of them. The
idea of EDC being something more than a curriculum subject is worth promoting.
Most Poles would agree that lessons in civics or political education are not suffi-
cient preparation for young citizens – a large part of this job should still rest with
parents, the media and politicians. And yet awareness that schools also transmit
citizenship values and skills mainly through the everyday experience of students,
teachers and parents, and not only during specific classes, is by no means common.
Such principles as sharing responsibility, assuring transparency and accountability,
or empowerment of all school stakeholders, are rarely connected with EDC.

The tool can also be treated as a gentle way of introducing QA to those schools
that have no experience with such procedures, or for other reasons are reluctant to
assess the processes and effects of their work.

2.1. Comprehensiveness and coherence

The tool is well constructed. Its structure is very clear and comprises all the neces-
sary elements, including:

Page 342

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Page 343

This publication presents an overview, from international perspectives, of theapplicability and relevance of the Tool for Quality Assurance of Education
for Democratic Citizenship in Schools, published jointly by UNESCO, the Council
of Europe and the Centre for Educational Policies. Based on 10 country reports,
it examines quality assurance requirements in the field of education for demo-
cratic citizenship (EDC) and compares the specific evaluation systems in those
countries. It also provides a feasibility study on relevant conditions for imple-
menting the Tool and aims to serve as a set of orientation guidelines for policy
makers, a case study on implentation for researchers and a source book for edu-
cation practitioners.

CONSEIL
DE L'EUROPE

COUNCIL
OF EUROPE

The Council of Europe has 47 member states, covering virtually the entire continent of Europe. It
seeks to develop common democratic and legal principles based on the European Convention on
Human Rights and other reference texts on the protection of individuals. Ever since it was foun-
ded in 1949, in the aftermath of the Second World War, the Council of Europe has symbolised
reconciliation.

http://book.coe.int
Council of Europe Publishing€39/US$78

ISBN 978-92-871-6522-0

Introducing quality assurance
of education for democratic citizenship in schools –
Comparative study of 10 countries

9:HSTCSH=V[ZWWU:

Learning and living
democracy

C
o

u
n

cil o
f Eu

ro
p

e Pu
b

lish
in

g
In

tro
d

u
cin

g
q

u
ality assu

ran
ce o

f ed
u

catio
n

fo
r d

em
o

cratic citizen
sh

ip
in

sch
o

o
ls –

C
o

m
p

arative stu
d

y o
f 10 co

u
n

tries

I
D

7
1
5
7

7157_Introducuing Quality Assurance 18/12/08 14:19 Page 1

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