Parents concerns about the Skill Agenda

On 14th March the European Commission is holding a consultation with representatives of civil society. There has been a background paper issued on the Skills Agenda that will be discussed at the meeting. As those organisations that are not Brussels based are not financially supported by the Commission to participate at the meeting, the European Parents’ Association (EPA) has compiled a position paper instead to express our concerns. We keep demanding that there must be an obligation for EU institutions as well as national governments and other decision makers to involve those most directly concerned, namely children, young people and their parents when preparing national skills strategies, action plans, and last but not least in the activities connected to the European Semester and in its annual review.

Our greatest concern is that the holistic approach to education and the network of education institutions is missing, thus it does not tackle the fact that it is schools (primary, secondary and VET) that are the cheapest and most hands on places to support the skills development for local communities, but only if education segments cooperate and manage to change the face of schools, which means to open them up to all locals as community learning spaces. Successful projects all over Europe show that this is the right approach, but it need a very strong collaboration and an even stronger political will to rejuvenate systems that have been in place for 150-200 years. As there has been a huge emphasis on higher education in EU policies, we applaud to the approach that highlights vocational education and adult education as at least equally important policy areas. Parents have been concerned that pushing higher education attainment instead of giving equal support and promotion to other forms of tertiary education may not be the real solution for youth unemployment.