Right to Education: Freedom of parental choice

European Parliament | 24 January 2017

School autonomy and school values: religion, pedagogical concepts and philosophical approaches

24 January 2017 in the European Parliament
The right to education includes the freedom to found educational establishments with due respect for democratic principles
The growing complexity, increasing inequalities and social contrasts stimulate new adaptive responses from the educational systems. Private and Independent sector, by nature, have proved to be best fitted to meet diverse cultural, religious, philosophical or pedagogical convictions.
School autonomy
The concept of autonomy is commonly discussed in reference to organizational and professional independence in schools. In Europe, independent schools enjoy freedom particularly regarding governance, curriculum and diverse aspects of management and administration. However, the essence of independent free education is based on values, embedded in cultural heritage, and linked to a broader notion of education that goes beyond standardized instruction. That is our understanding of autonomy.
Values and the diversity of responses as a foundational pillar of democracy
Advocating different religious, philosophical and pedagogical values, independent schools promote and strengthen the students’ self-knowledge and self-confidence, together with the development of empathic skills, which are crucial for living a peaceful life in democracy, with tolerance and respect for others people choices.

Right to Education: Freedom of choice


A delegation of leaders and chair persons of National and European organizations of Independent Education will participate in a round table hosted by the EP MEP Nuno Melo and EP MEP Andrew Lewer, on January 24th.
16h30 Opening: Nuno Melo MEP; Andrew Lewer MEP, Simon Steen - Ecnais Chairman
16h45 – 18h15 Round table and debate: Representative from European organizations express their views regarding autonomy, values and right to education and freedom of choice:
  • CEEC (European Committee for Catholic Education)
  • ECNAIS (European Council of National Associations of Independent schools)
  • ECSWE (European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education)
  • EFFE (European Forum for Freedom in Education)
  • FESE (European Foundation Society and Education)
  • OIDEL (Organisation Internationale pour le Droit à l'Education et la Liberté d'Enseignement)
18h15 Closure

Practical information

Date: 24 January 2017
Time: 16.30 hrs - 18.30 hrs
Place: Room JAN 6Q1, European Parliament, Brussels