EDUCATION AND INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES (ICT) POLICIES
Our societies are undergoing substantial changes which are affecting family ties. Despite the need for both parents to work in order to meet needs and obligations, there can be no substitute for the role, authority and responsibility parents bare with regards to the education of their children. The most notable change is the growing role that new technologies play in the education of children. They are considered an important factor in the dynamics between parents and teachers -the educators- and children.
The guiding principles to COFACE’s activities in the field of education and ICTs are:
- Recognition of the family’s role in the education of children;
- Free and equal opportunity to education for all;
- Approaching education in a comprehensive and holistic way, including pre-school education;
- Valuing and recognising the role of family organisations in parental education;
- Bridging the digital divide – all families must be in a position to reap the benefit new information technologies offer without facing additional risks of social exclusion;
- Promoting the role of new information technologies as an ‘enabler’ of increased social inclusion, including the development of online social services for families;
- Preventing dangers confronting family members, and in particular children and youth, when using new information technologies.
COFACE has published recommendations covering issues of European interest such as the integration of migrants via education but also via other social policies.
The problem of school drop outs has also been addressed by COFACE especially by insisting on the importance of the family context on educational achievement. Finally, as education is not only the role of schools, a position paper has been published on the roles that parents play in the education of their child and the importance of their presence and guidance at an early stage in the child’s life. These positions play an important part in the reconciliation of private and professional lives: a key area of interest for COFACE members.
After covering the two ‘traditional’ pillars of a child’s education and socialisation (the school environment and the family environment), COFACE recognises the growing role of a third pillar which requires special attention from policy makers. Indeed, new technologies have an impact on the education of children and the positive or negative effect of this impact is yet tobe wagered.
New technologies need to be kept in check precisely because they are new and so is their impact on education. Therefore COFACE has called upon the EU institutions to adopt a considered and forward looking approach with respect to new technologies, recognising their usefulness but insisting on age appropriateness and measures to enhance positive experiences all the while dampening the negative ones.
Broad recommendations on the security measures needed on the internet are developed in COFACE’s position paper on Safer Internet. The necessity to promote the accessibility of new technologies to poor or vulnerable families in order to avoid a digital divide is stressed in the e-inclusion position paper.
Published on 16 May 2007
Updated on 05 Dec 2011