1 In this study we discuss the psychological mechanisms which favour social behaviour of
individuals in society and its importance for social cohesion. We ask for the meaning of core social
competencies as a sustainable contribution to quality in education and social cohesion in society.
2 The mechanisms leading to showed social competencies are described as interplay of
cognitive aspects of language competencies, the ability to change perspective, emotional and
motivational aspects as self-regulation, respect, empathy, self-concept, self-esteem, and value attitudes
as, for example, attitudes toward violence, diversity and participation. Theses personal competences
lead to social behaviour when interfacing with an environment of accountability, fairness and
meritocracy. Therefore enhancing core social competencies is not only an educational task but refers
to all levels of society, especially social and labour politics.
3 The study shows that these core social competencies are linked to quality education and lead
to a better academic achievement. The paper describes experiences with teacher training aiming to
enhance the core social competencies of teachers and students. Hints for effective evaluations are
given. The study highlights recommendations for different stakeholders.
4 The study is based on a mix-method-design, including literature review of related research,
case studies of different approaches in the field and experts’ comments. Beside case-study experiences
from literature, the study is related to two field studies taken for this paper. One study describes a
long-time program in Cameroon, attempting to work on the autonomy and self-responsibility of
students and teachers in order to reach higher quality of education. The other study is about a program
in Rwanda, working on a post-genocide pedagogy, focussing on an active and participatory education.
Both programs worked with teacher training but used different methodologies (in Cameroon, teacher
experts groups; in Rwanda trainings for the entire team of schools). Both had been evaluated by an
out-come evaluation, including tests.