Challenges of history teaching in Europe

The challenges of history teaching in Europe was the main topic of the international workshop which took place in Belgrade on 10-11 March 2022. The workshop was organized by the Office of the Council of Europe in Belgrade, the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Belgrade and the NGO Education for 21st century, as part of the Month of La Francophonie. The event was supported by the recently created society Observatory of History Teaching in Europe (OHTE), an enlarged partial agreement within the Council of Europe whose mission is to promote quality education with the aim of strengthening democratic culture. Serbia was one of the 17 founding states of the Observatory.

“History teaching and research can help us eliminate traditional misconceptions and prejudices towards each other. It is important to seek to establish the facts in order to create the conditions for genuine European unity, based on human rights, democracy and the rule of law,” said Tobias Flessenkemper, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Belgrade. “In the midst of Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine, it can be difficult for history teachers to decide how and on what basis to discuss this with their students. In this context, I would like to remind you of the conclusions of the 1953 seminar for history teachers which have not lost their relevance even 70 years later: “It is particularly necessary to avoid any interpretation of historical development which could be used in the particular interest of a State, or which could disturb friendly relations between peoples.“, Flessenkemper said.

Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, Natasa Jovanovic Ajzenhamer welcomes participants on behalf of the University of Belgrade: “It is a great honor for us that the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Belgrade is co-organizer of this academic meeting, relevant both for scientific research and the wider social community. The newly established co-operation between the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Belgrade and the Council of Europe Office in Belgrade represents another step forward in the democratization of education in Serbia. Colleagues dealing with the subject of history teaching within the Research center for the teaching of history and historical heritage at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade keep a discussion on the didactic aspect of historical science and the methodology of teaching history in schools alive and fruitful, always seeking to maintain the highest scientific and ethical standards of the research. Also, ttheir participation in today’s event and the new international projects of the The Council of Europe, an organization of exceptional importance in the development of history teaching, is an illustration of this.

Teacher Marko Suica of Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade and member of the Scientific Advisory Board of OHTE, said: “In the modern dynamic societies of the 21st century, the purpose, the role and even the justification for the existence of history teaching have been questioned. Answers to questions such as why is it important to learn history, what skills and life skills teaching history develops in younger generations, whether knowledge of the past can play an educational and social role wider, are just some of the topics that history teaching in Europe wants to highlight”. He added that “the particularly important challenge is the fact that formal history teaching today is confronted with the growing popularity of populist manipulations and the misuse of history for political purposes”. “The basic idea of ​​the Observatory on History Teaching is to try to create a clear picture of the state of history teaching in the Member States of the Enlarged Partial Agreement, improve the teaching of history and thus encourage the development of democratic culture. , better mutual understanding and more harmonious relations between the peoples of Europe,” he added.

Dr. Susanne Popp of the University of Augsburg, who is also president of the International Society for History Education and Steven Stegers, executive director of Euroclio (European Association of History Teachers), representing important institutional partners of the Observatory, spoke challenges of teaching history today and presented reflections from Europe and Serbia.

In addition to the workshop for experts, a public event was organized at the University of Belgrade within the framework of the Month of Francophonie in Serbia, which brought together experts, students and members of the diplomatic community. Speakers at the event included Tobias Flessenkemper, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Belgrade, Anamarija Viček, State Secretary at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development and member of the Bureau of the Governing Board of the OHTE, Jean -Arnault Dérens, journalist of the “Courrier des Balkans”, Ana Radaković of Education for the 21stst century and Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, and Dominique Dirlewanger from the University of Lausanne.

Challenges of history teaching in Europe – program of the event

Observatory of history teaching in Europe

Article OHTE


Mona Alghaith, e-mail: [email protected]; crowd. +381 63 365 751