Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is the oldest of the European cooperation organisations. The organisation was founded by 10 countries, including Norway, in 1949 and its key aims are promoting democracy, the constitutional state and respect for human rights.
A total of 47 member states are now working together to achieve these aims in various ways in order to lay the foundations for peace and security in Europe. The Council of Europe is an independent organisation not linked to the EU, but it cooperates with the other major European organisations EU and OSSE.
Cooperation in education takes place under the auspices of two steering committees. The Steering Committee for Education (CD-ED) is responsible for cooperation in education and training, including history education, language training and education in democracy and human rights. The Steering Committee for Higher Education and Research (DE-ESR) has three key tasks: the Bologna Process, the recognition of higher education and specific projects.
The European Wergeland Centre is the Council of Europe’s resource centre for training in intercultural understanding, human rights and democratic citizenship. The centre is located in Oslo and is charged with providing further and supplementary training for teachers and teacher trainers.
Another important centre under the Council of Europe is the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) based in Graz, Austria, which helps member countries implement effective policies in the field of language training. In Norway this partnership is fostered by the Norwegian Centre for Foreign Languages in Education (NAFOL).
The Council of Europe contributes to the Bologna Process by participating in international follow-up groups, preparing framework documents and offering advice. The Council of Europe has also been responsible for coordinating the exchange of experiences relating to national qualifications frameworks under the Bologna Process.
The Lisbon Convention, signed up to by UNESCO / Council of Europe member states, is a key part of the process to develop policies and tools for recognising higher qualifications.
In 2007 the Committee for Higher Education and Research launched a project on the universities’ role in the convergence between market and humanism. Every year the committee also organises conferences on higher education and publishes the outcome of these in the Council of Europe Higher Education Series.
The Council of Europe also manages the Pestalozzi Programme, a further and supplementary training programme for teachers and teacher trainers. The Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Higher Education (SIU) holds the coordinating responsibility for this programme in Norway.