A common purpose

13th April 2007 at 01:00
As the EU celebrates its 50th birthday (34 years with Britain as a member), its education ministers believe things have progressed enough to talk about a European history textbook common to all 27 countries.

Germany and France have shown the way forward out of ancient enmities with a joint collaboration on a history text, entitled GeschichteHistoire, already used in schools. But ministers in other countries are battling to define a common history for the entire continent post Second World War, which will overcome national myths.

The European Standing Conference of History Teachers' Associations, Euroclio, which advised Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina on their common history book, acknowledges that some things are interpreted very differently, but there are also things in common. Different interpretations are part of the discipline of history itself, the association points out.

History teachers foresee another problem in that EU ministers are not really interested in telling it like it was, because the stated purpose of the proposed textbook is European "identity building". The EU's own surveys show that the sense of "Europeanness" is declining among young people, even in pro-EU countries.

A Euroclio survey found a decrease in international and European history topics taught in schools during the past decade in favour of national histories. This is a debate raging within the UK itself, as Chancellor Gordon Brown urges schools to promote "Britishness", while some Scottish teachers and politicians lament the failure to promote Scottish history.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now