Education - Hoofdinhoud
One of the aims of the Centre will be to offer a range of continuing education courses designed to help participants to gain a deeper insight into the operation of (European) institutions and thus to enhance parliamentary democracy at both a national and a European level.
The Centre will tailor the courses to suit the needs of the various target groups, which may include representatives of government, the media and NGOs. These specialized courses will consist partly of modular units, making it possible to suit them to the requirements of the particular target groups. All these courses are intended to be a kind of 'lifelong learning'. After completion of a course, participants will as far as possible be kept up to date with current developments by means of (electronic) newsletters and the Centre's electronic knowledge exchange network. Refresher courses will also be offered where appropriate.
The courses will as far as possible be based on the approach used in the tried and tested Harvard Case Method, wide experience in the use of which has been built up in Campus The Hague. This approach links theoretical insights to problems occurring in practice. Small teams are first given a concrete case to work on independently, after which plenary lectures provide feedback to the theory. Some of the lecturers have an academic background, while others come from the world of practice, thus ensuring that the participants are exposed to both points of view. Excellent results have been achieved using this innovative approach.
In the first instance, the range of subjects offered will be in line with that found in existing courses. Campus The Hague already offers courses on a wide range of subjects, often with a strong European slant; these include e.g. a course on Public Affairs, dealing with the ways in which policy-making and decision-making processes can be influenced. The training courses for trainee civil servants and the basic training course on policy-making processes for staff from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which are provided by the Campus, also play considerable attention to the role of the European Union.
It is further intended that comparable courses for (young) civil servants aspiring to a European career will be developed within the Centre. No training courses preparing civil servants for a career in a European institute are yet available in the Netherlands. The content of this basic course would include a thorough introduction to European and diplomatic history, European decision-making structures and the distribution of powers between the different organs of the European Union. This knowledge is essential for an effective Dutch contribution to and say in - decision-making in Europe. In addition, as an extension to these courses, the Centre will (as far as possible in cooperation with the International Civil Servants Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) offer courses designed to give civil servants the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the open competitions for permanent staff at one of the EU institutions. Apart from benefiting the individual applicants, this would also have the benefit of increasing the Dutch representation among the international civil servants in Brussels.
The Centre also aims to offer specialized follow-up courses on how the European Union works to Dutch and foreign civil servants who already possess some knowledge of the structure of European organizations.
Apart from courses for civil servants who aspire to a career with an EU institution, the Centre will arrange training programmes for other target groups in particular, perhaps, for policy support staff in government agencies and social organizations who come into frequent contact with European matters in the course of their daily work. In view of the shift in the balance of power towards Brussels, specialized knowledge of Europe and European priorities is increasingly needed in Dutch organizations if they are to protect their interests adequately. The Centre is confident that a specialized course, based on the successful Public Affairs already offered by Campus The Hague, will give participants the knowledge and skills needed to lobby effectively in Brussels.
It would also seem highly appropriate to develop a training programme aimed at giving participants a better understanding of European decision-making structures. This might make a real contribution to improving the implementation of European legislation in the Netherlands. It often happens in practice that Member States do not have a clear idea what Brussels expects from them. As a result, the amendments made e.g. to Dutch legislation may not go as far as was intended or may go too far. A better understanding of the European decision-making processes would facilitate the implementation of European legislation in the national laws of the Member States. This is not only good for the quality of the national legislation in general, but also helps to ensure that e.g. the Dutch authorities do not get an unpleasant shock when their legislation is challenged by the European courts.
The Centre will also offer specialized programmes to students, journalists and politicians. All these courses will be aimed at giving participants a better understanding of European history, structures and (decision-making) processes. The courses will be tailored to meet the needs of the users. Wherever possible, current issues will be clarified from a historical perspective.