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Document 32003G1205(02)

Council Resolution of 25 November 2003 on making school an open learning environment to prevent and combat early school leaving and disaffection among young people and to encourage their social inclusion

OJ C 295, 5.12.2003, p. 3–4 (ES, DA, DE, EL, EN, FR, IT, NL, PT, FI, SV)

In force


Council Resolution of 25 November 2003 on making school an open learning environment to prevent and combat early school leaving and disaffection among young people and to encourage their social inclusion

Official Journal C 295 , 05/12/2003 P. 0003 - 0004

Council Resolution

of 25 November 2003

on making school an open learning environment to prevent and combat early school leaving and disaffection among young people and to encourage their social inclusion

(2003/C 295/02)


AWARE that

1. The Lisbon European Council of March 2000 acknowledged the strategic role of education and training in achieving a more competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy and promoting inclusion, employment, social cohesion and personal and professional fulfilment; it also drew attention to effective teaching for all, a goal achievable by constantly seeking ways and means of making learning more attractive.

2. The June 2001 Resolution of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council entitled "promoting young people's initiative, enterprise and creativity: from exclusion to empowerment" recognises that helping young people to be more proactive and creative is a means of preventing and counteracting social exclusion and a strategy for developing young people's personal and professional empowerment.

3. The November 2001 Commission White Paper "A new impetus for European youth" recognises the strategic priority of the "youth" dimension and the fact that it cuts across other policies, affirming the importance of the European Union's commitment to encouraging active citizenship on the part of young people and to quality teaching and training by setting a high value on, among other things, the non-formal dimension of learning, voluntary work and developing young people's autonomy and spirit of initiative.

4. To promote these objectives, the November 2001 Commission communication "Making a European area of lifelong learning a reality" and the June 2002 Council Resolution on lifelong learning stress the importance of the role of the European Union in supporting and promoting implementation of lifelong learning strategies to create a culture of learning in which formal, non-formal and informal learning all have a part to play.

5. The contribution of school in combining formal, non-formal and informal learning is an element in implementing strategic objective 2 of the Report on the concrete future objectives of education and training systems(1) as defined by the Barcelona European Council (15 and 16 March 2002): open learning environment (2.1); making learning more attractive (2.2); supporting active citizenship, equal opportunities and social cohesion (2.3).

6. In its conclusions of 5 and 6 May 2003, the Council, establishing benchmarks of European performance for the purposes of the "Detailed work programme on the follow-up of the objectives of education and training systems", reaffirmed that by 2010 an average rate of no more than 10 % early school leavers should be achieved, taking into account the starting points of the individual Member States.

7. During the Nicosia Conference of 27 and 28 June 2003 the European Ministers for Education highlighted the crucial role of school in preparing young people to develop active citizenship at local, national and European level,


1. The course of action outlined above gives prominence to the fundamental role of young people in the creation of a knowledge-based Europe and provides the framework of reference strategies for promoting the social inclusion and therefore the employability of young people and removing the obstacles which stand in the way, the major one being early school leaving, as well as other forms of disaffection among young people.

2. Diversification and flexibility of education and training paths are important tools to satisfy individual needs and enhance individual aptitudes.

3. With that in mind, the places where learning takes place assume particular importance, be they formal, or non-formal and informal, such as youth centres and associations including voluntary work as a tool for acquiring social skills and abilities. The latter not only represent added value in terms of social cohesion, with their collaborative educational practices, but help to instil a sense of community in young people and hence develop the active, informed citizenship aspect.

4. [...] The open method of coordination is to be used in complementing action by the Member States to support the achievement of common European objectives, with full regard for specific national responsibilities,


1. The prime task of school is to work, through education, to provide successful training for every young person, by supporting their aspirations and making the most of their abilities.

2. School is important for the contribution it can make in enhancing the knowledge which young people acquire in various contexts, and which is necessary for them to get their bearings, develop self-awareness and make independent and positive choices in life.

3. It is important to encourage young people to take part in the various management levels of educational institutions.

4. There is a need to increase family awareness and to encourage families to take part in school life and activities.

5. There is a need to identify cross-cutting methods whereby formal education and training systems can interact with the family, with local education agencies and with structures offering informal learning opportunities through shared experience (such as voluntary work), so that young people can acquire the values, capacities and skills which they find particularly rewarding.

6. It is also advisable to strengthen, in line with objectives 3.1 and 3.2 of the Work Programme on the follow-up to the common objectives, the link and the synergy between school and working life, to encourage in young people the sense of enterprise and initiative required for the establishment of a knowledge-based society.

7. It is advisable to strengthen cooperation and to increase complementarity between the various Community instruments, including the Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci and Youth Programmes, the European Social Fund and the guidelines on social inclusion, in order to render more efficient the integration of measures.

INVITE THE MEMBER STATES AND THE COMMISSION WITHIN THEIR RESPECTIVE RESPONSIBILITIES to promote measures designed to make school an open place of learning, able to propose solutions to the problems raised by young people themselves and by other groups and institutions which contribute to their personal and social growth, for example:

- promoting and supporting synergies and joint activities between schools and other local partners, such as voluntary work bodies, parents' associations, enterprises, local authorities and other education agencies; these activities may occur also, and where appropriate, in centres where they can meet and work in synergy in order to encourage communication between generations and to offer young people adequate support to enable them to make their own plans in life, test their aptitudes and attain their personal and social fulfilment,

- promoting and supporting school projects and initiatives aimed at making young people aware of social problems and instilling in them a commitment to social welfare, by encouraging the knowledge and implementation of good voluntary work practice, whether in school or in cooperation with schools,

- supporting training of educators, teachers, trainers, tutors, careers officers and headteachers in the teaching practices, organisational methods, areas of knowledge, methodologies and instruments needed to promote complementarity between formal and non-formal learning, as a strategy to prevent and counteract early school leaving and disaffection among young people,

- making best use of family participation in school life and activities to prevent and overcome forms of disaffection which have developed within and outside the school environment,

- exchanging good partnership practices including positive discrimination measures, and initiatives funded by the European Social Fund which are already implemented by schools, youth associations and voluntary work bodies for the purposes of interaction between formal, non-formal and informal learning and prevention of early school leaving,

- encouraging more efficient integration and complementarity between the Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci and Youth Community Programmes, particularly through joint actions, and enhancing cooperation between Member States on the priorities of the objectives process, in order to support informal learning and the prevention of early school leaving,

- fostering the inclusion, within the framework of the new Community Programmes, of measures which pursue the aims of this resolution.

(1) OJ C 58, 5.3.2002.