Playful solutions to tackle the global learning crisis

Both the World Economic Forum and the World Bank have warned us of a major ’learning crisis’. It effects a large number of children who are not in school, but also those who do attend it. The LEGO Idea Conference 2018 (10-11 April, Billund) tried to offer solutions for it on several levels: the breadth of skills an individual child needs to develop, attitudes and behaviour of adults around them, the collective impact of their community and the social norms and requirements of society. Experts, researchers and practitioners discussed their ideas and practice, ones that all have a certain playful element.


Building bridges between all forms and sectors of education is the future of learning in Europe

LLLP Response to Future of Learning Package

The Lifelong Learning Platform welcomes the prominence given to education and training at the EU level in recent months. At the Gothenburg Social Summit on 17 November, EU leaders had an informal lunch debate on education and culture for the first time. In the run-up to this debate, the European Commission set out a vision for a European Education Area by 2025 in the Communication “Strengthening European Identity through Education and Culture”. The Commission followed this with the launch of a new Future of Learning package in January this year and the same month the first ever European Education Summit took place in Brussels, gathering over 20 national Ministers for Education to discuss equity and diversity in education.

The Lifelong Learning Platform views these developments as a positive step forward for EU-level cooperation in the field of education and training. This momentum should continue with a clear commitment from Member States and a concrete follow-up to the ambitious discussions at the Education Summit. We wish to stress, however, that the follow-up steps taken by the European Commission and Member States should be rooted in a holistic vision of education, which means looking at education in its universal scope and not exclusively at one specific sector (e.g. schools) or at the sole purpose of labour market demands. This is why we call for a European Lifelong Learning Area which encompasses all levels, sectors and forms of learning - formal, non-formal and informal - in order to truly be of benefit to all EU citizens. After all, not all young people are students and not all students are young people - we need education policies that match this 21st century reality.


European Qualifications Framework - the first 10 years

More than 300 people from employment, education and training organisations joined "The European Qualifications Framework: supporting learning, work and cross border mobility" conference on 15-16 March in Brussels. LLL-P's Steering Committee members were invited to participate at the event.
Participants discussed the following topics in interactive workshops on the first day, followed up by high level panels on the second day:
  • How has the European Qualifications Framework (EQF), and its focus on learning outcomes, supported the modernisation of education and training systems?
  • How has the EQF helped build trust and increase transparency and comparability of qualifications?
  • How do qualifications frameworks facilitate validation of non-formal and informal learning?
  • How can qualifications frameworks support the recognition of qualifications?
  • What is the role of social partners and other stakeholders in the EQF process and what are their future expectations?
  • How have the EQF and the development of qualifications frameworks supported international and global cooperation?


Culture and Education for All: Building the Skills for More Resilient Societies

Joining forces, several civil society organisations invited European and international institutions and various stakeholders to debate a common approach to addressing the links between education and culture. The purpose of coming together for this event was to discuss possible synergies in light of the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage and the  European Commission’s 2017 Communication on “Strengthening European Identity through Education and Culture”, as well as to react to the proposed revision of the key competences and to the future of learning package. To this extent, recent policy developments prompted the organisers to acknowledge the need to rebuild on past common positions, widen their scope, and formulate new recommendations to policy-makers. EPA's President, Vice President of Lifelong Learning Platform, Eszter Salamon was invited to present the LLL-P position on key competences and learning environments as a speaker of the event.


The 9th FEAD Network Meeting Highlights

The 9th FEAD Network meeting took place on 01 March in Brussels and discussed issues related to “The role of volunteers in FEAD delivery”. EPA was represented by EPA Ambassador Herminio Correa. During the meeting an interactive workshop on initiating and running a volunteer programme was organised. The suggested programmes took part in a competition and again the EPA representative was on the winning team. You can see the idea described at the end of the article. It will hopefully inspire people to implement it in reality.


Investing in People – The Way Forward

The European Commission and the Bulgarian Presidency of the European Union marked the 60th Anniversary of the European Social Fund (ESF) by a major conference held in Sofia on 15/16 February 2018. As the title suggests it was a forward-looking event where participants had an opportunity to discuss priorities for the post-2020 MFF in the field of inclusion and social protection. The area defined as most important for further improvement towards cohesion of Europe is education.


Mutual recognition of qualifications and study periods abroad - EU public consultation until 19 February

Parents in Europe have fought for a long time for a smooth transition of their children from one European school system to the other, so that they are not restrained from accepting labour challenges that would need them to exercise their right to mobility as EU citizens by the high probability of their children's schooling being interrupted or hindered. Those parents who have older children have also experienced that exchange programmes, even EU financed Erasmus mobility means that the student's achievements are likely not to be recognised, so it results in extra exams or repeating a year. The EU is planning to make a first step by promoting a certain level of mutual recognition, that would also help parents in their own labour mobility and formal further education. You have the opportunity to contribute to the public consultation on the initiative by 19 February, so it is rather short notice.

Join the little dragon

International Book Giving Day is - as every year - an alternative to Valentine Day celebration on 14 February. The initiative is calling all adults, especially parents to think if little ones they love and help them on their journey to become lifelong readers by giving them a book. EPA joined the initiative of spreading the love of books on this day years ago. What you are invited to do? Read on to see the organisers' announcement:


Safer Internet Day 2018 – Better internet starts with empowerment

6 February marks Safer Internet Day. There is no better occasion to call the attention of parents, policy makers, providers and other actors working for internet safety that parents are key to educate their children to become responsible digital citizens, they need empowerment and education for that, and that safety will not be achieved by restrictive legislative measures instead.

This year’s topic "Create, connect and share respect: A better internet starts with you" is a great starting point for awareness raising. In Europe there is a loud group of stakeholders that are trying to lull parents into a false feeling of safety stating that it is possible to create a special safe internet highway for children by restrictive measures.


Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe - Winter session (22-26 January 2018) report

The Winter Session of the INGOs Conference was marked by several thematic debates, the election of the new Board members, and the creation of the working groups of the various committees. EPA was represented by its current representative Hermínio Corrêa.
Among the several debates organised during the week, some of the highlights were the following:


1st European Education Summit - report

EPA had the opportunity to participate at this important high-level event representing one of the main stakeholder groups of education. The event was preceded by the kick-off event of our Year of Equitable Access to Education to help highlight parents’ wishes for the European Education Area planned to be created by 2025. The summit was hosted by Tibor Navracsics, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, and took place on 25 January 2018, in Brussels. It invited EU education ministers (22 of them actually were present), education practitioners, stakeholders and business leaders to explore: how better to address inequality in education systems, how citizens can benefit from a future European Education Area, how education can help transmit our common values and what competences will be needed for the decades to come.

Playful learning – the gist of 21st century education for Europe

EPA kicked off 2018: the Year of Equitable Access to Education with a high-level event organised in partnership with the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on the eve of the 1st European Education Summit on 24 January. The event was hosted by Pavel Trantina, President of the Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship (EESC SOC) and attended by Commissioner Tibor Navracsics, MEP István Újhelyi (S&D) and EESC member Renate Heinisch.


Public consultation on the future EU budget

The European Commission launched launched a series of public consultations for preparing the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) on 10 January 2018. Organisations and Eu citizens alike are invited to contribute to it in the next 2 months. EPA wants to make sure that the voice of parents is raised in this consultation, and will work hard on it being heard, too.