On the second Tuesday of October, this year on 11 October, Europe celebrates the European Day of Parents and Schools since 2002. Initiated by the European Parents’ Association (EPA), this day is used to highlight the importance of parents and teachers working together for the benefit of children by parents’ organisations, often supported by their respective national Ministries of Education.
Parents’ associations gathered together in EPA want to use the occasion of #ParentsAndSchools Day to promote and advocate for the implementation of new policy messages by the European Commission published earlier this year on transforming schools to make them more attractive for students and families alike in order to achieve the EU2020 headline target of reducing early school leaving. These recommendations fundamentally build on the school community, parents, teachers and students taking ownership of learning by actively participating in transforming the school to meet the needs of today’s children as well as preparing them for the challenges of the 21st century.
Active participation is another key issue for concerned parents of Europe. Our continent has been in turmoil for the past couple of years as a result of the migrant crisis and the underlying problems it brought to daylight, especially the need for action to prevent or stop exclusion. Involvement of parents and students in all aspects of school life is a form of active citizenship, offering meaningful, hands-on experience. Parents and teachers need to work together in order to transform all schools into becoming open and inclusive, to make it possible for everybody, regardless of their socio-economic status, be them people with special needs or migrants – parents and children, newly arrived as well as second-third generation, coming from war zones or from other EU countries – to fully participate, and to feel accepted and included.
In the present situation active parents must engage to ensure the rights of all children, in the school context
- · the right to childhood, to play and express themselves,
- · the right to an education that meets their needs/necessities/wishes ??,
- · to equal access to adequate services regardless of the financial situation of the family,
- · to education in the mother tongue as well as
- · supporting everybody to have an operational knowledge of the majority language and everyday life,
- · to foster the education of parents to understand and be able to help protecting the rights of their children and that of others.
This year a Europe-wide awareness raising campaign is accompanying the event. EPA is asking parents to make a short video with a teacher or a school head answering the simple question: Why are parents important for you and your school? Share your video on social media using the hashtag #ParentsAndSchools and look for inspiration on the EPA YouTube Channel.