May 8, 2007

Education: Choice—Not Coercion

Press release from the Netzwerk Bildungsfreiheit (Network for Freedom in Education):

Exploring ways to open up the German educational system for alternative approaches to education was the mission of the Netzwerk Bildungsfreiheit conference held in Rothenfels near Würzburg, Germany. About 250 international visitors gathered last weekend for the Second International Colloquium for Home Education, titled “Education: Choice—Not Coercion.”

Given the positive experiences in other countries, Germany should not suppress educational alternatives any longer, the organisation declared, as it welcomed guests and speakers from 11 European, Canadian and American countries.

The participants attended workshops, discussions and speeches about various topics relating to home education. A number of speakers working with European network partners along Germany’s borders shared the educational possibilities and liberalism in their countries. This highlighted once again the German situation of enforced compulsory schooling without exception, which places Germany in the shameful position of being at the bottom of the league in Europe.

Educational and legal questions about a free access to education were presented at the colloquium as well as results of brain research and attachment relationship theory to emphasise the advantages of education without any coercion to attend school. As Germany is one of the states that have signed the Charter of Human Rights, the participants appealed to the governments of the German provinces in a declaration to grant freedom for individualised education, in line with human rights.

The series of international educational colloquia organised in cooperation with the European Forum for Freedom in Education (effe) began in 2006 in Reims, France and will go on in the Netherlands next year. Peter van Zuidam, speaker in Rothenfels and chairman of the Netherlands partner organisation, took the baton from his German colleagues.

The Netzwerk Bildungsfreiheit is a national association of organisations, parent initiatives and individuals, who appeal for the right of free access to education and freedom to choose and plan one’s own form of education. The Netzwerk works together with partner organisations in other European countries to transform public school attendance into freedom of choice in education in Germany. Our goal is to move away from state-determined schooling towards individualised, self-determined education for everyone.