Council of Europe member States must provide for an education
system which ensures equal opportunities and high-quality education
for all pupils, to transmit both knowledge and the values nurturing
the promotion of fundamental rights and democratic citizenship.
They also have to guarantee the fundamental right to freedom of
choice in education, according to Article 2 of the Additional Protocol
to the European Convention on Human Rights. This right, which is
intimately linked to the rights to education and freedom of conscience,
entails the obligation for the States to respect the right of parents
to ensure education and teaching in conformity with their own religious
and philosophical convictions.
Therefore, the Committee of Culture, Science, Education and
Media highlights the need to uphold the principle of State neutrality
and pluralism in the national education system, and to guarantee
the viability and quality of the network of public-run schools.
It also calls for member States to clearly recognise in law the
right to establish and run private schools, and the possibility
for these schools to be part of the national education system, subject
only to objective and non-discriminatory conditions.
In this framework, pupils attending private schools and their
families should be granted the same financial benefits available
to public-run school pupils and their families, and the funding
of private schools which are part of the national education system
should be subject only to objective and non-discriminatory conditions.