11. Declaration of the 44th session of the International Conference on Education (1994)
(Adopted at the International Conference on Education, Geneva, Switzerland, 8 October 1994)
1. We, the Ministers of Education meeting at the 44th session of the International Conference on Education,
Deeply concerned by the manifestations of violence, racism, xenophobia, aggressive nationalism and violations of human rights, by religious intolerance, by the upsurge of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and by the growing gap separating wealthy countries from poor countries, phenomena which threaten the consolidation of peace and democracy both nationally and internationally and which are all obstacles to development,
Mindful of our responsibility for the education of citizens committed to the promotion of peace, human rights and democracy in accordance with the letter and spirit of the Charter of the United Nations, the Constitution of UNESCO, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant instruments such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the conventions on the rights of women, and in accordance with the Recommendation concerning Education for International Understanding, Co-operation and Peace and Education relating to Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,
Convinced that education policies have to contribute to the development of understanding, solidarity and tolerance among individuals and among ethnic, social, cultural and religious groups and sovereign nations,
Convinced that education should promote knowledge, values, attitudes and skills conducive to respect for human rights and to an active commitment to the defence of such rights and to the building of a culture of peace and democracy,
of the great responsibility incumbent not only on parents, but on society as a whole, to work together with all those involved in the education system, and with non-governmental organizations, so as to achieve full implementation of the objectives of education for peace, human rights and democracy and to contribute in this way to sustainable development and to a culture of peace;
of the need to seek synergies between the formal education system and the various sectors of non-formal education, which are helping to make a reality of education that is in conformity with the aims of the World Declaration on Education for All, adopted in Jomtien;
of the decisive role that also falls to non-formal educational organizations in the process of forming the personalities of young people.
2. Strive resolutely:
2.1 to base education on principles and methods that contribute to the development of the personality of pupils, students and adults who are respectful of their fellow human beings and determined to promote peace, human rights and democracy;
2.2 to take suitable steps to establish in educational institutions an atmosphere contributing to the success of education for international understanding, so that they become ideal places for the exercise of tolerance, respect for human rights, the practice of democracy and learning about the diversity and wealth of cultural identities;
2.3 to take action to eliminate all direct and indirect discrimination against girls and women in education systems and to take specific measures to ensure that they achieve their full potential;
2.4 to pay special attention to improving curricula, the content of textbooks, and other educational materials including new technologies, with a view to educating caring and responsible citizens, open to other cultures, able to appreciate the value of freedom, respectful of human dignity and differences, and able to prevent conflicts or resolve them by non-violent means;
2.5 to adopt measures to enhance the role and status of educators in formal and non-formal education and to give priority to pre-service and in-service training as well as the retraining of educational personnel, including planners and managers, oriented notably towards professional ethics, civic and moral education, cultural diversity, national codes and internationally recognized standards of human rights and fundamental freedoms;
2.6 to encourage the development of innovative strategies adapted to the new challenges of educating responsible citizens committed to peace, human rights, democracy and sustainable development, and to apply appropriate measures of evaluation and assessment of these strategies;
2.7 to prepare, as quickly as possible and taking into account the constitutional structures of each State, programmes of action for the implementation of this Declaration.
3. We are determined to increase our efforts to
3.1 give a major priority in education to children and young people who are particularly vulnerable to incitements to intolerance, racism and xenophobia;
3.2 seek the co-operation of all possible partners who would be able to help teachers to link the education process more closely to real social life and transform it into the practice of tolerance and solidarity, respect for human rights, democracy and peace;
3.3 develop further, at the national and international levels, exchanges of educational experiences and research, direct contacts between students, teachers and researchers, school-twinning arrangements and visits, with special attention to experimental schools such as UNESCO Associated Schools, to UNESCO Chairs, educational innovation networks and UNESCO Clubs and Associations;
3.4 implement the Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Conference on Human Rights (Vienna, June 1993) and the World Plan of Action on Education for Human Rights and Democracy adopted at the International Congress on Education for Human Rights and Democracy (Montreal, March 1993), and make the internationally recognized instruments in the field of human rights available to all educational establishments;
3.5 contribute, through specific activities, to the celebration of the United Nations Year for Tolerance (1995), and particularly to the inauguration, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations and UNESCO, of the celebration of the International Day for Tolerance.
Consequently, we, the Ministers of Education meeting at the 44th session of the International Conference on Education, adopt this Declaration and invite the Director-General to present to the General Conference a Framework of Action that allows Member States and UNESCO to integrate, within a coherent policy, education for peace, human rights and democracy in the perspective of sustainable development.