Education and national minorities

Aims and objectives

The overall goal of the project is to look at the specific power of education as a fundamental human right and at the same time as a mechanism for minority empowerment, for strengthening democracy, for fostering social cohesion and respect for diversity. To obtain a better understanding of the current issues and to identify needs for further research and action, the programme will focus on exploring the different types of educational models and the provisions of minority rights to and in education.


Encouraging citizens to actively engage in social and political life has become a growing political priority both at national and European levels. To stimulate this process, social and civic competences were introduced among the eight key competences for lifelong learning, identified by the Council of Europe and the European Parliament in 2006. The Strategic Framework for European Cooperation in Education and Training (ET 2020) has introduced active citizenship among the main objectives for education systems throughout Europe, supporting the understanding of the role of education as a defence mechanism against the rise of violence, racism, extremism, xenophobia, discrimination and intolerance.

Education can make a major contribution to social cohesion and social justice and hence enable positive social change. It is an instrument that can foster democracy and the promotion and protection of human and minority rights by equipping not only young people but all members of society with the knowledge, skills and attitudes that empower the active citizens so that they can contribute to the development and well-being of the society in which they live.


Focusing the research interest on education and national minorities, the programme will explore the current dynamics and challenges confronting minority communities in the field of education. It will address issues such as the need for developing particular educational programmes but will also analyze on a comparative basis the existing minority schooling practices with regard to the impact on community, regional and social development.

Research will be undertaken on the basis of the legal provisions and national/regional standards with regard to the education of national minorities. The findings will enable assessing the variety of models adopted throughout Europe, analyzing them as consequences and/or factors for specific social, economic, and political developments and their impact on communities in general.

Expected outcomes

ECMI Working Papers




Dr Zora Popova

ECMI founders:

The German Federal GovernmentThe German
Federal Government
The Danish GovernmentThe Danish
The Federal State Schleswig-HolsteinThe Federal State