On 30 June, the European Commission published a new Proposal for a Council Recommendation on Pathways to School Success accompanied by an Annex which proposes a new policy framework. The Proposal is meant to replace the 2011 Council Recommendation on policies to reduce early school leaving, which has – according to its assessment – ‘contributed to a decrease in the rate of early leavers from education and training (ELET) at EU level (from 13.4%14 in 2011 to 9.7% in 2021) and has encouraged changes within educational institutions and policies’. To continue this work and to address the gaps that the assessment identified, the Commission published the new Proposal, which is planned to be adopted before the end (31 December) of the 2022 Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU. The Commission Communication on achieving the European Education Area by 2025 has announced ‘Pathways to School Success’ to be a flagship initiative to enhance the inclusive dimension of education.
The new Proposal’s aim is fourfold:
decouple educational attainment and achievement from social, economic and cultural status;
reduce the share of low-achievers and early leavers from education and training at EU level to reach the European Education Area EU-level targets for 2030;
promote inclusive education and training, which encompasses equity, quality, academic performance, engagement, well-being at school, mental and physical health and respect for diversity;
further develop by mutual learning a shared understanding of the enabling factors to foster educational outcomes and well-being, with a special focus on learners from disadvantaged backgrounds.
SOLIDAR Foundation welcomes the Proposal’s broader scope compared to the 2011 Recommendation, as it endeavors to address both targets on basic skills and early leaving from education and training. SOLIDAR also commends the European Commission for the increased attention to well-being at school and its aim to mainstream a well-being approach to education and training. The inclusive approach to school success, which does not limit itself to academic results but emphasizes the importance of learner’s wellbeing and elements such as personal, social and emotional development, is fully supported by SOLIDAR.
However, it remains to be seen how Members States will receive the adequate support to successfully implement the ambitious actions described in the Policy Framework, as the necessary guidance is not concretely defined in the Annex. To conclude, concerns remain over the available resources as the Proposal calls ‘to optimise use of national and EU resources’ but does not mention an increase in public funding in Education. This is worrisome as the Proposal lacks to identify the decrease of public funding in education as a challenge, which as already highlighted by SOLIDAR Foundation as well as the Lifelong Learning Platform is a pivotal issue that should be addressed in order to ensure education and training is (and remains) accessible for all.
SOLIDAR Foundation will keep monitoring the Proposal and Annex and commits to supporting the mainstreaming of wellbeing in education and training. To find out more you can find the Proposal for Council Recommendation on Pathways to School Succes and its Annex here.
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