Spring Day for Europe Conference: EU teachers and experts discuss how to encourage youth to participate in democratic life

Nearly 100 teachers and experts from all twenty-seven EU member states are meeting for two days in Madrid for the Spring Day for Europe Conference. They will discuss the importance of engaging young people – the active European citizens of the future – to participate in democratic life. The Spring Day for Europe project is here to help to address this challenge. It offers tools and resources that teachers can use to stimulate debate on European topics in the classroom.

Taking place just before the celebration of Europe Day (9th May), participants of the conference will exchange ideas and good practice on the Spring Day for Europe 2010 campaign. The conference will also provide a platform for developing synergies and partnerships with other relevant European initiatives. It will bring together secondary school teachers, representatives of ministries of education and European institutions, experts in youth policy and youth work, as well as members of non-governmental organisations, teacher trainers experienced in citizenship and human rights education and representatives of pilot projects about citizenship.

The mission of Spring Day for Europe 2010 is clearly articulated in the campaign’s welcome message to schools: “At present, Europe is facing many challenges. To show that the EU is dealing with the issues that matter most to its citizens, appear crucial especially when addressing young people. The innovations brought about by the Lisbon Treaty give a great opportunity to inform young citizens about the European Institutions’ role and impact on their daily lives. … This is a high level communication campaign that aims to promote discussion and debate on Europe at schools and gives young people the chance to meet the representatives of Europe*”

Furthermore, Spring Day for Europe activities and competitions highlight a number of other interesting and relevant themes such as European citizenship and fundamental rights, biodiversity and climate change, and combating poverty and social exclusion.

The project is organised annually by European Schoolnet, a network of 31 Ministries of Education in Europe and beyond. It receives financial support from the European Commission. Around 5 500 schools (250 in Spain) have already registered to take part in the initiative via the Spring Day for Europe website. Registration is voluntary and there is no limit on the number of schools that can take part. The project runs until 30 June 2010.

*Source: Excerpt from the Welcome Message addressed to schools signed by Viviane Reding, Vice-president of the European Commission Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship; Androulla Vassiliou Commissioner for Education, Culture Multilingualism and Youth; and László Andor Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion.

Related information:
Conference programme

About Spring Day for Europe
Spring Day for Europe is organised by European Schoolnet on behalf of the European Commission. To assure the high quality and the educative value of the project, Spring Day is managed at central level by European Schoolnet, and at local level by a network of National Liaisons and a group of Teacher Advisers. The initiative is supported by the Ministries of Education of all 27 member states. See www.springday2010.net.

European Schoolnet
European Schoolnet (EUN) is a unique not-for-profit consortium of 31 ministries of education in Europe created in 1997. EUN provides major European education portals for teaching, learning and collaboration and leads the way in bringing about change in schooling through the use of new technology (see www.eun.org).