On 18th and 19th of May the Education, Youth, Audiovisual, Culture and Sport Council discussed the achievements and future developments of European cooperation in education and training ("ET 2020") that provides common strategic objectives for the Member States to further develop their education and training systems. The ministerial debate took place in the context of preparation of 2015 Joint Report that has been developed on the basis of the last years’ mid-term review that engaged stakeholders in the process of evaluation of the state of play of the current framework, and identifying the upcoming challenges.
The ministers concluded that there is a need to focus on priorities with the clear European added value and synchronize the objectives of Education and Training 2020 and the broader Europe 2020 Strategy to work towards sustainable and inclusive growth and jobs. This could be achieved by establishing a closer cooperation between education and training and employment sectors, recognizing the role of quality education in promoting employability and investing in vocational education and training. In addition to this, the ministers called for more efficient use of the existing financial instruments such as Erasmus+ and Youth Guarantee, as well as an increase in investment in education and training.
SOLIDAR particularly welcomes the outcome of the Council meeting that highlights the importance of development of transversal skills and competences which stresses that “education cannot only be limited to finding a job. It should also promote personal development, critical thinking and active citizenship, focusing on European common values”. SOLIDAR in its contribution to the EU2020 mid-term review consultation has addressed the need for redirecting the focus on development of the transversal competences of learners, with the particular focus given to civic, social and intercultural competences, needed for participation in the constantly changing labour market and in the society. Moreover the SOLIDAR desk study research conducted in 12 Member States revealed that adult participation in lifelong learning and access to lifelong learning still remains an issue in many countries and results amongst the others from the decreased educational budget in some of the member states. Therefore SOLIDAR calls on the Commission to include in its 2015 Joint Report a recommendation to increase provisions on access and participation in lifelong learning for all.