Joke van der Leeuw-Roord speaking about History Heritage, Education and Citizenship Education through the lenses of the EuroClio Community during the Life Long Learning Week 2016

On 11 October 2016 founder and special advisor of EuroClio, Joke van der Leeuw-Roord was part of the panel during the event “Rethinking Education: Towards a global common good?”, to discuss a 2015 UNESCO publication with the same title. The event was organised by UNESCO in cooperation with the International Council of Adult Education (ICAE) and the European Association for Adult Education (EAEA) as part of the Life Long Learning Week 2016 in Brussels, Belgium. Van der Leeuw-Roord was asked to present EuroClio’s response to the publication dealing with reviewing educational structures and its aims to adapt to current and future challenges as well as to meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 and Education 2030.

What does it mean for History, Heritage and Citizenship Education through the lenses of the EuroClio Community?

Van der Leeuw-Roord considers the report as beneficial for EuroClio’s work as it is stresses the importance of education and learning and captures many of the views and principles we have within the EuroClio community and those we share with many other International organisations focusing on education.

The document goes beyond the utilitarian vision and the human capital approach, which has been dominant over the last years, and is moving focus to the quality of education and the relevance of learning. Surprisingly neither history nor history heritage education is explicitly mentioned, however the report implicitly includes many elements also found in EuroClio policy documents such as developing understanding of the complexity of global learning landscape and the interconnectedness and interdependency of societies, exploring alternatives of dominant knowledge, rejection of all forms of (cultural) hegemony, stereotypes and biases and building curricula based on intercultural education striking the delicate balance between pluralism and universal values.

According to Roord the document pays intensive attention to the needs for professional development for educators and proposes to rethink the content and objectives of teacher education and training along lines we only can applaud. We agree that a teacher should now be a guide who enables learners, to develop and advance through the constantly expanding maze of knowledge.


Roord also points out challenges in implementing the ideas and approaches as proposed in Rethinking Education such as international and national policy making, confusion of terms and concepts and lack of opportunities for practitioners.

Over the years Inter-Governmental Organisations such as UNESCO, OECD, Council of Europe and the European Union have published various relevant educational documents containing similar messages as Rethinking Education. However the stage of implementation on national levels is still rather limited. The implementation of approaches advocated in these documents is also seriously hindered by the confusion about terms and concepts. Each time there are other ways to explain the audience what is understood by concepts such as knowledge, competencies, skills, attitudes and values. Last, it is still often problematic for educators to leave the classroom and participate in (international) professional development. Governments and schools have difficulty to recognize the importance of lifelong learning, and in many countries there are limited resources available, certainly if training is not directly related to national policy priorities.