Statement on Vaccination

Published for the Vaccine Hesitancy Seminar on 11 December 2017 in Brussels

Parents are the ones responsible for upbringing their children, thus also for their health and a safe environment for them (UNCRC Article 5). Parents’ rights emerging from this responsibility have to be respected, so any decision should be theirs, no state obligations should contradict this approach or prevent them from responsible decisions.

To come to the right decision, parents need objective information and support (UNCRC Article 18). Reluctant or anti-vaccination parents often act out of a position of lack of information and misunderstanding. Therefore governments are responsible for supplying such concepts and activities for a better understanding, avoiding bias towards pro or anti opinions, and offering clear and simple explanations on public and private benefits as well as risks.

All these efforts must not be biased by pharmaceutical industries or any other organisations or institutions with primarily economic interest.

All parents love their children and have great aspirations for them. If you can manage to provide clear and comprehensive information with reasonable arguments, most parents will follow your recommendations for the sake of their children, while others will take their own responsible pathways.

Anti-vaccination movements are not to be tackled by oppressive measures, but authorities have a responsibility in reviewing individual cases if necessary and seek the decision of independent courts in case parents appear to be unable to fulfil their duties in bringing up their children. Parents must possess the right to decision as long as an independent court has not restricted their guardian duties.

Problems arising from a shrinking percentage of vaccinated children should be tackled by analysing the reasons, offering a balanced approach to pros and cons, ensuring media coverage and individual support to parents in their decision making, but not by introducing compulsory vaccination against the parents’ will.                                 

Who we are:
EPA has been the only EU-level representative of parents as stakeholders in and responsible for ensuring the best interest of their children since 1985. As an umbrella organsation of national parents associations we cover 30 European countries and bring the voice of about 150 million parents to the EU and raise this voice on all issues concerning the lives of parents and children according to our statutes. We always pursue a rights-based approach, one that requires empowerment and involves responsible decision making by parents taking the children’s voice into consideration and the best interest of children as a basis, thus not ones based on restrictive measures.


Suitable Pathways – conference report

Role of Parents in Guiding their Children towards the Most Suitable Personal Careers

The European Parents’ Association held its annual conference on 24/25 November 2017 in the Tallinn School of Service under the auspices of the Estonian Presidency of the European Union and as part of the second European Vocational Skills Week on career guidance and suitable individual learning pathways for today’s children, with special focus on counterbalancing the bias towards university education (by the media, education policy and consequently very often by parents, too). The representatives of parents’ associations and students, VET providers, career guidance services and school heads participating at the conference looked at ways of home-school cooperation in career guidance, transversal skills for well-being, future life success and lifelong learning with special focus on entrepreneurship, and the role of parents and parents’ associations to improve the image of vocational secondary education and non-university tertiary education to help people understand that for most people it has always been and will always be a first and best choice. Bellow you will find a detailed report of the conference with download links for presentations and related documents.


Highlights of the Lifelong Learning Week 2017

The 7th Lifelong Learning Week (LLL Week) took place in parallel and in collaboration with the 2nd European Vocational Skills Week (VET Week), 20-24th November 2017. This year the topic of the week was the topic of the year for Lifelong Learning Platform, EPA is an active member of: Education in a Digital World. Three subtopics were covered by the events as well as this year’s LLL Award: democracy, inclusion and innovative pedagogies. Thanks to the generous offer of the European Commission to host one representative of all EPA members on the occasion of the VET Week, the events could be held in the presence of the 5 EPA members that accepted the invitation.


EPA’s endorsement of the New Education Forum’s Smart Education Indicators

The Centre for Innovative Education invited EPA to participate at this year's New Education Forum. Janko Korosec and Claudio Masotti, EPA's Vice Presidents participated at their regional events during the year. The New Education Forum published  Smart Education Indicators closely linked with the UNESCO Smart Cities initiatinve at its closing event in the European Parliament on 22/23 November 2017. Before publication they asked EPA for an endorsement of the indicators that you can read below.


Parents are there to help #KidsTakeOver on Universal Children's Day

Today marks Universal Children’s Day, the anniversary of the UN adopting the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). So far all countries in the world except the USA have joined the Convention, showing political will to protect children and their rights.

The European Union, not a signatory of the Convention (yet), but having Member States that have all committed themselves to align their policies with the Rights of the Child, is facing its greatest challenges in decades. At the same time the current European Commission has recently announced measures that affect the lives of children in Europe – directly or by influencing the lives of their parents and the institutional framework around them.

The announcement to build the Pillar of European Social Rights was welcomed by all, including parents all over Europe. The EU Summit in Gothenburg last week has proclaimed the construction of the Pillar, a major demonstration of political will. The Summit also marked the publication of a new EU initiative on creating a European Education Area by 2025.


Role of NGO’s in the Holocaust Remembrance activities

Personal reflexions of Herminio Correa, EPA Ambassador

After many years of studying, reading, and listening to testimonies and watching movies and documentaries about the Holocaust, it was finally time to make a visit to Auschwitz and Birkenau.

A hard, cold and unforgettable experience, that have aroused in me an emotional roller coaster and left in the air a question: How could this happen?

Yes, why so many men and women, ordinary people just like us, suddenly became terrible predators and cold killers?


The Post-2020 MFF Must Invest In Children And Aim To End Child Poverty

This week the European Commission, European Parliament and Council of the EU will sign the inter-institutional proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights in Gothenburg,(1) which reiterates commitments to promote social inclusion and the rights of the child.(2) The future Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) should contribute to translate these commitments into action.

More than 20 organisations within the EU Alliance for Investing in Children urge the EU institutions and its Member States to invest in children and develop a future MFF that works to end child poverty and promotes the social inclusion of all children in Europe.


Protecting Children in Audiovisual Media Services -Current and Future Measures workshop report

ERGA, and independent advisory body to the European Commission organised an interesting workshop on 4 October in Brussels with different stakeholders presenting their present and future activities on the protection of minors. The role of parents in this and services targeting parents were constantly highlighted by both industry and policy speakers. EPA was offered the opportunity to present our view and approach in this area as well are reflect on the state of play and plans presented.


Inspiring school leaders

The Inspriring School Leaders Confernece was held in Cambridge University's St. John's College on 22-24 September 2017. EPA was offered the opportunity to inspire school leaders from all over the world to engage parents for a 21st century school system.

Books and screens and the reading brain - conference in Vilnius

E-Read, a scientific project financed by COST organised a major conference in Vilnius, Lithuania on 27-29 September 2017. A stakeholder round table was held as part of the conference, focusing on textbooks and other reading material used in and by schools, and EPA was invited to present the parents' view.

If Kids can do it... - Parents and children together for tackling food waste

EPA has been represented in the FEAD Network by our Ambassador Herminio Correa (second left in the picture). In the network they are trying to find cooperation possibilities of projects financed from FEAD funds and those working with groups of people, those who are the most deprived in Europe, to amplify the effect of FEAD funding. The following project idea was developed at the last network meeting at a contest and won. It is a simple but great idea worth considering to implement. Let us know if you decide to make it a reality.

Facebook parenting page

As most of our children live a substantial part of their lives on social media and Facebook is one of the most important ones, they have decided to offer parents, especially ones who are not advanced users of their social media service, a special site, Parents Portal. EPA has started working with Facebook Europe to ensure that their service offer and the wishes of parents for the safety of their children online are aligned.

Please spend a few minutes on the following survey. Facebook wishes to learn more about parents' knowledge, attitudes and concerns, and adjust their services accordingly. The survey is available at the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/KJT5SMC


Have your say on the future of Erasmus+

2017 marks the 30th anniversary of Erasmus+, according to the European Commission, one of the EU's most successful initiatives. As the EC says 'over the last 3 decades, Erasmus+ has offered a generation of over 9 million Europeans the chance to study, train, teach, volunteer or gain professional experience abroad.' Parents have expressed their positive attitude, but also their concerns in the EPA survey during the Spring and we have published the results on the EPA website. But we are also encouraging all parents to take part at this official consultation to have our voice heard. Read the EC communication with all necessary links below.


Digital early childhood – DigiLitEY meeting in Bologna

The DigiLitEY COST Action held its 5th project meeting in the form of a very interesting conference in Bologna on 31 August and 1 September 2017. Eszter Salamon, President of EPA was invited to join the project, more precisely a Think Tank on developing a campaign targeting parents to promote and support responsible parenting of young children in the digital age, a times when the smallest of children using digital technologies is part of everyday life. The note below is more impressions than a proper conference report, but hopefully it will still help the message to reach its target – parents as well as professional educators.


European Day of Parents and Schools 2017 - 10 October

Join the celebration of #ParentsAndSchools Day on 10 October, organise an event in your school or publish your videos on social media. This years main topics are career guidance, inclusion and 21st century education.


ERNAPE Conference in London

The 11th biennial conference of the European Research Network about Parents in Education was held at the University of Roehampton, South London on 5-7 July 2017 entitled ‘Intensification, constraint and opportunity: changing roles for parents, schools and communities. Addressing equity and diversity issues'. This was the first ERNAPE Conference in at least a decade where parents were not considered important enough to be invited, but after some negotiations we have managed to get a role in the forward looking closing panel that we paid ourselves into.


Entrepreneurship in the Focus

The first European Entrepreneurship Summit was held on 11-12 July in Brussels. Organised under the umbrella of the EE-HUB, the event gathered academics and experts in entrepreneurship education, policy-makers and government officials, educators, business and NGOs representatives. On the occasion of the Summit, Martine Reicherts, Director General for Education, Culture and Youth shared her vision of education systems that prepare today’s children for tomorrow. For such a system, according to her, we need to start redesigning and reorganising education from scratch and transversal skills, such as entrepreneurial skills must be in the focus of curricula of such education systems.


40 years of INGOs at the Council of Europe

The Summer session of the Conference of INGOs was the occasion to look back 40 years to the first meeting of the Conference of INGOs and to reflect on the progress made over the years. 


“The Whole-Person Approach” . Report on the 6th FEAD Network Meeting

The meeting was held in Brussels on 19 June 2017, EPA was represented by Herminio Correa, EPA Ambassador

According to Amartja Sen’s theory, poverty is to be seen as deprivation of capabilities. Functionings are states of ‘being and doing’ such as being well-nourished or having shelter. Capabilities are the set of valuable functionings the person has access to. People do not just need resources, they also need to be able to use them in order to conduct the kind of life they consider valuable.

The whole-person approach has been put into practice to address the causes and consequences on health and wellbeing of specific forms of material deprivation, such as food insecurity or homelessness. While mental health issues are not present in all cases of poverty, some interesting associations can be found in the literature.


Learning to Live Together: A Shared Commitment to Democracy - Report

Conference on the Future of Citizenship and Human Rights Education in Europe - 
Strasburg, 20-22 June 2017

300 representatives of public authorities, education professionals and non-governmental organizations from 45 European countries met for a 3-days Conference at the Council of Europe (CoE) in Strasbourg, to analyse the Report on the State of Citizenship and Human Rights Education in Europe key conclusions and to renew their commitment to the charter implementation to further enhance education for democratic citizenship and human rights, and to use the Report highlights to propose Key actions for the next phase of this effort.
EPA was represented by Herminio Correa, EPA Ambassador to the CoE at all the planning sessions and at the following workshops.


4 years of the European Alliance for Apprenticeships

A high-level event was organised by the European Commission in close cooperation with the Maltese Presidency, with the support of  the Malta College of Arts Science and Technology and the Malta Chamber of Commerce on 30-31 May in Malta to celebrate the success of 4 years of the European Alliance for Apprenticeships (EAfA) and looking ahead. EPA has been a member of EAfA for 2 years now, and EPA was represented at the event by Vice President Claudio Masotti. 

After the launch of the Alliance in Leipzig in 2013, and the re-boost in Riga in 2015, this event marked 4 years of the Alliance. It gave particular attention to new members of the Alliance as well as to apprentices, highlighted through the launch of a new network of apprentices. Around 230 participants took part from all over Europe, including existing and new members of the Alliance, such as companies, social partners, VET providers, chambers, NGOs and youth organisations, as well as policy-makers from national, regional and European level.


Over 250 non-governmental organisations launch alternative vision for Europe

Press release
Brussels, June 20, 2017 – More than 250 non-government organisations from across Europe - EPA among them - have today released an alternative vision for a more democratic, just and sustainable Europe. [1]
Intended to influence the debate on the future direction of Europe, this alternative vision is endorsed by organisations representing a multitude of public interest issues, including labour rights, culture, development, environment, health, women’s rights, youth, and anti-discrimination groups.
It comes ahead of a summit of EU leaders this week with the key issues for Europe’s future on the agenda, including migration, security, jobs and Brexit. This week also marks the one year anniversary of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union (June 23) which propelled questions about the future of Europe up the political agenda.
The vision describes a future for Europe in which “sustainability sits firmly at the heart of the European project,” and the EU focuses on “democracy and participation, social  and environmental justice, solidarity and sustainability, respect for the rule of law, and human rights both within Europe and around the globe”.


Parents must not be punished but given the right to choose

The European Commission has proposed a new directive to the European Parliament and the European Council entitled 'A New Start to Support Work-Life Balance for Parents and Carers'. The official, compulsory feedback period will end at the end of June. EPA has made a public contribution to the initiative in line with the clearly expressed wish of parents all over Europe. The proposal can be found here. Read EPA's short feedback below.


The digital revolution pushes offline education to change at last

The Lifelong Learning Platform (LLL-P, former EUCIS-LLL) held its annual conference, Education in a Digital World, in Tallinn, Estonia on 31 May-1 June. Eszter Salamon, President of EPA and Vice President of LLL-P represented parents at the event. The conference was dealing with not only burning issues around digital technology in education, but could also tackled the wider effects, how technology and information in our lives affect education in general. To underline the complexity of the topic LLL-P has decided to postpone the finalisation and publication of their major position paper originally planned to be published at the conference, and to include outcomes of discussions at the event as well as further members’ input in it.


European Commission fails to acknowledge parents’ role in education on the eve of the Global Day of Parents

The European Commission has published a Communication “School development and excellent teaching for a great start in lifejust 2 days before the world celebrates the Global Day of Parents on 1 June. While the United Nations dedicates International Days to and puts enormous effort in families, the European Commission has taken a huge step backwards from its 2016 policy messages on transforming schools to achieve the EU2020 headline target for reducing early school leaving, and instead of acknowledging students and parents as key change-makers, it focuses on trying to impose a system on them, on us. Parents have been committed to offer the best possible education to their children – as individuals and through their representative organisations -, but being solely responsible for the education of their children it is their, our minimum demand to be involved in decisions on how education systems supporting us in our role as primary educators should be shaped for better outcomes. We are committed to school development and excellent teaching, ready to contribute to their development, but we, parents are the ones to provide a great start in life. We are aware that some parents need support in that, and have worked for parental empowerment. School development must go hand in hand with parental empowerment, professionals and parents need to cooperate to really serve our children. Investing in education must mean investing in parents as much as it means investing in schools.


Parents’ contribution to the mid-term review of Erasmus+

The European Parents’ Association has conducted a survey among national parents’ associations to be able to present the view of the largest group of European educators, parents and responsibly participate at the public consultation by the European Commission as part of the mid-term review of the Erasmus+ programme. In the survey, we have asked questions about content, procedure and future expectations, experiences of successful and unsuccessful applicants alike, as well as organisations that have decided to stay away from the programme and not apply.


New Education should be based on Soft Skills

The Regional Meeting of the New Education Forum 2017 was held on 23 May in Turin at the UniManagement Training Center of Unicredit, sponsor of the initiative. The seminar entitled "Enhancing the European Labour Market" was held in the beautiful multimedia room Agorà. The seminar has developed the various aspects of training of young Europeans with particular emphasis on the relevance of Vocational Education not intended as second choice, alternative for those who are unable to support a high school or technical education. As a primary answer to some of today's job market needs. But above all as a concrete opportunity for young people to enter the labour market. EPA representing the parents responsible for the education of their children was represented by Claudio Masotti, Vice President.


Happy Onlife toolkit for safer internet use

Guest contribution by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission

Happy Onlife is an edutainment (education+entertainment) toolkit conceived by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission promoting a safe and responsible use of internet among children and adults. It is also used to raise awareness on online safety risks for privacy, cyber security and cyberbullying. It is available as paper version (EN, IT) and digital application for mobile and web platforms (EN, FR, IT, NL, ES). Happy Onlife is also mobile and is available for iOS, Android and Windows Smartphones https://web.jrc.ec.europa.eu/happyonlife/index.html. JRC is now inviting parents’ associations to try the toolkit, to promote it and contribute to its further development. The contents of the toolkit are very much in line with EPA’s point of view on internet use, to raise awareness rather than restrict and create anxiety.


The World Celebrates Parents as Educators Today

International Day of Families 2017

The International Day of Families is held on 15 May every year. This year the United Nations has decided to focus on parents as the primary educators of their children. The message of the year does not only acknowledge parents as educators and emphasise the crucial role parents play in the education of their children, but also calls the attention of policy makers to the importance of empowering parents as well as offering them conditions for balancing work and family life. The European Parents’ Association has been advocating exactly for this for more than 30 years and this was also why we fostered the establishment of the International Parents Network, a global network of people – parents and non-parents alike – who wish to act for parents and with parents to ensure parents’ rights for the best interest of the child. Parent activist all over the world warmly welcome the official message of the UN highlighting the “vital role of parents in safeguarding good quality education starting with early childhood and extending throughout their children’s and grandchildren’s lifespan”.


Key competences are key for 21st century education systems

EPA Position Paper on the Revision of the 2006 Key Competences Framework

The European Commission is currently holding a public consultation on the revision of the 2006 Key Competences Framework. While the key competences approach is key to transforming European education systems fundamentally to answer the needs of the present and the future, the experiences and changes of the past 11 years require a radical revision of the current Framework. The most important changes we would suggest are structural ones, going beyond renaming or reorganising current chapters. To show the cross-sectoral complexity of key competences and to underline the need to have a holistic approach to education a matrix structure would be more suitable than the current list format.


ECEC Study Visit in Dublin

Our Erasmus+ project SEQUENCES on quality assurance in the early childhood sector made it possible for EPA Vice President Arja Krauchenberg and our ECEC expert, Ljiljana Vasic to participate at a study visit to Dublin between 25th and 29th April. Read Arja’s detailed and informative report below.


A socially just Europe – as parents would like to see it


Just a few days before the European Commission published its (hopefully) first package on the Social Pillar of the European Union, parents from 18 different European countries gathered in Paphos, Cyprus for the conference of EPA (European Parents’ Association) on ‘A More Socially Just Europe for Children and Parents?!’ on 22-24 April. The event was the opportunity to launch a major EPA position paper on The Best Interest of the Young Child, and participants also built their vision of a socially just Europe in interactive plenary and workshop sessions.

The Best Interest of the Young Child paper on early childhood education needs and provisions from a parents’ perspective is a result of a Europe-wide consultation and based on the widest possible consensus of national parents’ association from Nordic to Southern countries.


Photo competition for VET students

Cedefop is hosting a photo story competition to promote vocational education and its attractiveness. Your child and their mates can enter by producing a series of photographs which will showcase their collective experience in the world of VET. The winners will be announced during the Vocational Skills Week, 24 November, in Brussels. 

The European Commission, resolute in its mission to showcase the numerous opportunities that Vocational Education and  Training (VET) can provide for young people and adults to "discover their talents" and develop specific skills and knowledge for the jobs of today and tomorrow, is organising the 2nd European Vocational Skills Week on 20 to 24 November 2017. One of the activities to showcase excellence in VET is the #CedefopPhotoAward, an international competition run by the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) – an agency of the European Union. 

Deadline for submitting your photos is 15 July. More information on the CEDEFOP website here.


European networks' response to the Staff Working Document taking stock of the implementation of the 2013 Recommendation on ‘Investing in Children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage'

Analysing the European Commission's staff working document taking stock of the implementation of the Recommendation on ‘Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage',[1] many of the partner organisations of the EU Alliance for Investing in Children are pleased to see that the document recognises the crucial role played by civil society, and by the EU Alliance in particular as key stakeholders.


DigiLitEY Think Tank meeting in London – report

I was invited to join the Think Tank meeting of the DigiLitEY project in London at the end of March 2017 as an expert. This research project is focused on technology use by children under 8 years of age. The London event mostly focused on the working group that focuses on parents and home. While we were presented interesting research evidence mostly gathered through literature review, a discussion has also been started on how it would be possible to engage as many parents in the discourse as possible.


The Future of Europe is a Learning Europe

The Lifelong Learning Platform, EPA is an active member of, has just published a statement reflecting on the White Paper on the Future of Europe and other recent political developments, underlining the role of education in this future among other things, an element that seems to be somewhat neglected by policy makers. Read the statement here:


Expert concerns about the General Data Protection Regulation

5 reasons why children should not require compulsory parental consent for internet service access 
Janice Richardson, an international expert on internet safety has approched EPA asking for support of the statement below. She was one of the keynote speakers at the Lisbon EPA conference on the challenges of the digital age. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was approved by the EU last year and will be compulsory for all EU countries. There is regulation in the GDPR making it compulory to acquire parental consent for the use of any online service for children, a step that restricts parents' rights, there are pedagogical concerns about it and it is likely to widen the digital divide. Thus the Board of EPA decided to fully support the statement.


The Europe we want: Just, Sustainable, Democratic and Inclusive

Common appeal to European leaders by European Civil Society Organisations and Trade Unions

21 March 2017

As we mark the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, we have a momentous opportunity to take stock of how far Europe has come – and how far we still have to go in order to offer a sustainable and prosperous future to everyone in Europe. It is an opportunity that we call on you, the leaders of Europe, to seize with both hands. We call on you to show leadership, vision and courage to set Europe on the path to a sustainable future which realises the rights of all people and respects planetary boundaries.


Cementing civil society’s role in protecting the European Project

The Social Platform publishes regular editorials by its leaders as part of the Social Compass sent to a high number of subsribers every week. Following major decisions of the European Parliament and discussions within the platform as well as among civil society actors like the Lifelong Learning Platform, Concord, Civil Society Europe and many others, EPA's President and Vice President of the Social Platform was asked to write an editorial that we share here with you. It is on a much broader topic than our usual ones, but the forthcoming changes are necessarily having a huge impact on the lives of our children as well as on us, parents, so we think it is interesting for you. When thinking about the role of civil society in affecting decisions it is not only about adjusting the volume (so that citizens' voices are heard) but also about tuning to the right channel.


Have your say on Erasmus+

The European Commission has launched an open public consultation in the context of the mid-term evaluation of Erasmus+ including the long-term impact of the predecessor programmes. This is an opportunity to offer your experiences with Erasmus+ programmes as a parent of Erasmus-students and as participants of Erasmus+ programmes.


New EU Commission plans on returns and detention will create more harm and suffering

Over 90 civil society organisations address EU Commission in a joint statement published on 3 March 2017. Social Platform, EPA is a member of, is one if the signees and the statement is fully in line with EPA's advocacy efforts. Bowing down to political pressure to be “tough” on irregular migration, the European Commission has turned its back on the full implementation of human rights safeguards in its Returns’ Directive and is actively pushing member states to lower the bar.


Stop Cyberbullying - campaign in Catalonia to educate parents

Newsflash by Josep-Manuel Prats, EPA Vice President

While the EU is enforcing a directive trying to legally restrict the internet use of our children, parents’ associations in Catalonia has initiated a campaign totally in line with EPA’s policy paper, adopted by consensus of the members.

All the federations of parents' associations in Catalonia have agreed to start an awareness raising campaign the target groups of which are especially fathers and mothers. We have the explicit support of the Government of Catalonia.


Forum on Leadership Policy on Equity and Learning: Take it to the Students

The Maltese Ministry of Education hosted a conference on school leadership and equity, co-organised by the former European Policy Network on School Leadership (EPNoSL) on 16/17 January 2017. As an active member of the EPNoSL, EPA was offered the opportunity not only to participate, but also to offer input in two workshops on Supporting National Advocacy of Parents’ Associations and Giving Responsibility to Boost Participation. EPA was represented in the event by Brigitte Haider, our Project Manager. You can read her detailed report below.

The conference also offered an opportunity to have a discussion among former network members in order to successfully submit an application for a next financing round for our work on school leadership policy. Since the event the submission was done and now we all keep our fingers crossed for it. EPA is offered a major role in the planned network, together with our regular collaborator, the European School Heads Association, ESHA. The network would be again led by FORTH and we have enjoyed working with them.


Competition hihglighting STEM for 10+ children

SciChallenge, an international STEM-contest, makes scientific careers more attractive to young people through social media. Since January 2017, submissions for the SciChallenge competition are open to youngsters between 10-20 years. Participants can win a trip to Vienna and further prizes by
submitting their project until 30th of April 2017. It is organised and promoted by one of EPA's partners, the European Students' Union (ESU), under the framework of a Horizon2020 project. We are working on the possibility to include a parent representative in the jury and to also award a special parental prize.


Your opportunity to influence the Key Competences framework in the EU

The European Commission has launched a public consultation which will run until 19 May 2017. This is part of a process within the Skills Agenda, aiming at boosting human capital in Europe and updating EU - and subsequently hopefully also national - policies to make one more attempt to modernise education in Europe so that it supports what is necessary for learners' success. The review and update of the 2006 Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning is part of this process and the public consultation is the opportunity for your voice to be heard on European level. EPA has been active in the process and will submit its own contribution, but all readers of our blog, especially our national members are encouraged to do so, too.


Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD)

The Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) supports EU countries' actions to provide material assistance to the most deprived. EPA was invited to find ways to cooperate and our representative, Herminio Correa is working on finding ways to offer additional support by national parents associations in the form of empowerment to complement material contributions offered by FEAD. Read this short report and feel free to contact us if you want to join support action.


New scientific tool to analyse the inclusiveness of education systems embraces EPA advocacy messages

Professor Paul Downes and his team has just published a scientific paper setting up an exhaustive set of structural indicators to measure the inclusiveness of systems in and around schools on different vertical levels and local. Inclusion is key to making Europe more successful in educating lifelong learners who are equipped for future challenges and can also cope with the present. Professor Downes, one of the speakers of our conference in Dubrovnik in April 2016, shares our thoughts about the importance of fully engaging both parents and students of all ages as the only means to achieve this successfully. We were consulted as experts during the development of the indicators, and we are proud to see that our comments were not only taken into account, but the paper refers to and openly embraces EPA advocacy messages, becoming the first official European Commission document referencing our Manifesto 2015. The publication offers assessment tools for use on national policy and also on institutional (school) level. It is free to be downloaded from here.


3rd Global School Play Day - 1 February

Global School Play Day is taking place for the third time on 1 February 2017 raising awareess of the importance of unstructured play in life, especially in childrens'. In the introduction to the event its website calls the attention of educators to Peter Gray's TEDx lecture, that clearly argues the case that today's kids do not grow up playing and this has negatively impacted them in many ways. It's time we return the gift of play to this generation. The right to play and playful learning have been high up on parents' agenda in Europe and becoming a hot topic for parents all over the world. This is why we are happy to share this initiative and suggest you try to make your childrens' school to join. And why not also put more emphasis on play at home on the day?


Conference on the EU Pillar of Social Rights

The European Commission organised an high level conference following the adoption of a report on the European Pillar of Social Rights in Brussels on 23 January 2017. The event was designed to highlight the commitment of Jean-Claude Juncker to establishing the Social Pillar of the EU, or more precisely of the Euro Zone for the time being. Social Platform members, including EPA were invited, but were offered little space, for example there were only representatives of other social partners, employers and trade unions in the closing panel. However, the commitment was made absolutely clear by the fact that 9 EU Commissioners, Members of the European Parliament, leaders of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the Committee of Regions (CoR), UNESCO, OECD, the European Central Bank and several national ministers attended and contributed to the event that concluded with the first public speech by the new President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani and President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.


Survey on good practices and quality of Childcare Centres

A survey for parents and practitioners working at child care centres/nurseries is being held as part of a Erasmus+ project entitled "SEQUENCES – Self and external Evaluation of QUality in EUrope to Nourish Childhood Education Services" funded by the European Commission that EPA is a partner in. This project aims to respond to the need to improve the quality of ECEC services through the creation of evaluation tools. The survey ends on 15th March 2017. Please respond according to your knowledge and your own personal experience.Click the link to the different language versions to start the survey: 

English https://goo.gl/forms/F5A2a3CCcqatEWnf2
Italian: https://goo.gl/forms/WtCbEqVJy8amgcrj1
Romanian: https://goo.gl/forms/PZqmhCskzwEo5XtH2
Lithuanian: https://goo.gl/forms/c1hUZzcprR6KywGD3
Hungarian: https://goo.gl/forms/IJLj6Rye7qKlLWhF2
Serbian: https://goo.gl/forms/Qx5hT5ne0onTNRHX2

Slovenian:  https://goo.gl/forms/zeMVPUy0hgFyLqDp1

If you don't know the answer, give a 1 as you should know as a parent, if you cannot quote any good practices, just put an X there.