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.