In the aftermath of the terror attack in Stockholm, Susan Flocken, European Director, strongly condemned the recent wave of shocking attacks on the European continent, “These attacks target innocent people and seek to threaten universal values and the common principles of tolerance, peaceful coexistence, democracy and mutual understanding.” Offering her condolences and sympathy to the injured people and families of victims, she reconfirmed the crucial role education plays in developing democratic citizenship.
As governments and education authorities in many countries, alongside European and international institutions and actors, have recognised, there is an urgent need to strengthen societies and further develop democratic citizenship through education based, among others, on critical thinking, to enable the young and elderly citizens to stand up together against violence and extremism and for equality, non-discrimination, justice and solidarity.
It is important to note, that the responsibility of establishing societal cohesion and democratic citizenship does not rest on education personnel only. Governments and national authorities need to contribute their part and support education personnel in their task, e.g. through more public investment in education, appropriate teacher training, continuous professional development and other means.