Europa macht Schule 1998/1999


"Human rights for all"
"Les droits de l`homme pour tous/toutes"

4000 young people from all parts of Austria participated in the "Europe at School" activities 1998 - 1999. Since 1994, the competition has been reorganised and run by Österreichischer Kultur-Service (ÖKS) on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs.

The competition was again integrated into the action programme "Europa macht Schule" of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs as a follow-up of Austria` s presidency of the European Union in the second half of 1998.

"Europe at school" was open to students from all types of schools, including primary schools for the second time. The competition offered again two strands of activities, one focusing on projects ("Art - culture - creativity", including texts, video-clips and documentaries, project documentaries, objects, games, etc), the other one encouraged individual art works ("Drawing-painting-media", including graphic art, painting, collage, computer animation, video-clips, new technologies).

The expertise and support of the Österreichischer Kultur-Service continues to be a guaranty for the quality of the project activities while the inspectors of arts education in Austria, utilising the specific capabilities of art and design classes, state the constant improvement of the individual works.

Through a broad range of services the information office of "Europe at School" has intensified contacts with schools and, within the purview of the school-autonomy statute, has established contacts with private and public, regional and federal institutions. The advertising folder and the poster were again very well received by the Austrian schools.

In 1999 "Human rights for all" was chosen as a motto to celebrate the Council of Europe` s 50th anniversary (Mai 1999) and to commemorate the fifty years of the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" (December 10, 1998).

Many of the entries showed that young people are confronted in different ways with human rights violations - at home as well as in foreign countries - and how they react in a very personal manner if they experience a practical approach to this issue. Articles 23 (right to work) and Article 26 (right to education), but also children` s rights proved to be of special interest for this years participants.

Students explored from their own perspectives and background particular themes on school/community level and investigated/collected evidence on the situation of human rights in their families, school environment and in the local, regional and global context, using a great variety of presentations (radio and TV features, theatre, public manifestations, sculptures, poetry, games, pictures, posters, songs). Networks and exchanges with other schools allowed the active sharing of experiences during some of the projects.

An education pack containing material on human rights and suggestions for activities facilitated the choice of themes and the realisation of the projects and teachers obtained again basic assistance from öks in planning concrete projects to be carried out at their schools.

All the contributions were summed up in an attractive catalogue which can be used by schools to present themselves also beyond this year's activities.

The final presentation took place in Vienna on June 23, 1999. 300 students and project leaders from all over Austria received prizes and diplomas from Federal Minister Elisabeth Gehrer. Thanks to the support from the City of Vienna, the organisers succeeded in turning the event into a memorable experience for everyone involved.

The Austrian prizewinners gathering took very successfully, this year again, place in Altenmarkt/Salzburg in August 1999. For the second time, young people from all over Europe enjoyed a "get together" with the young members of the traditional music orchestra of Altenmarkt on invitation of the mayor of the community.

Monika Goodenough-Hofmann