Inclusion and Citizenship at the Forefront of New EU priorities in Education

EU action and Member States’ cooperation in the field of education and training is framed in a work programme – the Education and Training 2020 Strategic Framework (ET2020), which contains four strategic objectives and seven benchmarks. Following a mid-term evaluation, the Draft 2015 Joint Report of the ET2020 proposes new work priorities up to 2020. Highlighting the need to pursue a comprehensive lifelong learning approach, from early childhood education to adult education, the report rightly stresses the role played by education to contribute to employment and growth objectives as well as to building a fairer and more cohesive and democratic societyEUCIS-LLL also welcomes the emphasis being placed on good governance and the need to reinforce partnerships with social partners and civil society. It thus supports its formal adoption by the Education Council in November. Partially, this new direction is in tune with the EuroClio 2015 Helsingor Declaration.

EUCIS-LLL welcomes the adoption by the European Commission of the Draft 2015 Joint Report that represents a turning point in EU cooperation in the field by offering a balanced approach between the economic, social and civic goals of education. The Draft Report rightly highlights the main challenges Europe is facing such as increasing inequalities, unemployment, digitalisation, ageing and radicalization. If the four strategic objectives, which EUCIS-LLL supported, are maintained in the Draft Report, it urges to pursue their efforts in developing the third, “promoting equity, social cohesion and active citizenship”. This call shared by many civil society organisations has been heard, while action became urgent after the attacks in Paris and Copenhagen. EUCIS-LLL is now looking forward to the concrete measures and programmes that will follow the adoption of the Report.

Besides, the Draft Report emphasises the need to continue efforts to improve access to quality education for all. Providing high quality learning opportunities to all and especially to the most disadvantaged groups is crucial in getting people more engaged in society in its economic, political and social dimensions. As European history shows, rising inequalities go hand in hand with rising nationalism and discrimination. EUCIS-LLL had therefore called for a flagship initiative on “Inclusive Education” as concrete follow-up of the adoption of the Joint Report.

Finally, the Report announces measures to improve governance and relevance of the ET2020. EUCIS-LLL would like to stress the importance of partnerships between both sectors and actors. The LLL-HUB project shows that such partnerships are the key to implement comprehensive and efficient lifelong learning strategies at national and regional level and require proper coordination mechanisms and strong political. Trans-sectoral partnerships should also be strongly encouraged and supported within Erasmus+ at centralised and decentralised level. As the OECD Agenda for Action stresses, partnerships are the cornerstone to public service innovation. EUCIS-LLL and its members are thus eager to participate in meaningful dialogues with policy makers and in initiatives to contribute to a successful implementation of the strategy.

The European Civil Society Platform on Lifelong Learning (EUCIS-LLL) gathers 39 European networks working in education and training. Together, they cover all sectors of education and training including networks for secondary and higher education, vocational education and training, adult education and popular education; networks for students, school heads, parents, HRD professionals, teachers and trainers. www.eucis-lll.eu

Contact: Audrey Frith, EUCIS-LLL Director, +32 2 893 2515, audrey.frith@eucis-lll.eu