Key Competencies for Education in a European Context: Narratives of Accountability or Care

Aug. 30, 2008

Source: European Educational Research Journal, Volume 7 Number 3, 2008, pages 311 318

This article addresses the ideological challenges and opportunities presented by the European Commission’s commitment to the identification of key competencies for education and training. Furthermore, it examines the development of indicators which can be used to monitor and evaluate progress towards these competences across the European Union.
The paper explores the backdrop of global changes which bring the notion of competences to the fore, worldwide, and then reports on the European Union’s framework for competences.
The construction of ‘competence’ is an ideological and political act, since it is an indication of a particular understanding of the ‘good life’, which may be different when viewed from within a social justice narrative or a neo-liberal narrative. The notion of ‘meta-competence’ is explored as a means of transcending the binary tension between an economic and a social narrative. European texts are best viewed as complex and multifaceted ‘collages’ which are dynamic, rather than static, and the term ‘competence’ in the texts is a good example of this.

Updated: Oct. 27, 2008