Discussing Europe’s key challenges in educational policy: EuroClio at the Life Long Learning Week in Brussels

EuroClio Partners

From 10 until 13 October Mare Oja and Eva Zandonella participated on behalf of EuroClio in the 6th edition of the Life Long Learning Week in Brussels, organized by the Life Long Learning Platform in cooperation with the European Youth Forum. This milestone on the educational convenes more than 200 policy-makers and educational stakeholders to discuss key challenges in formal as well as non-formal and informal education. Over the course of this week, key educational challenges were identified as promoting mobility, recognizing study abroad and volunteering, validating skills acquired through non-formal and informal education, building inclusive societies, tackling youth unemployment and mounting radicalization, integrating migrants and refugees through education and equipping people with digital skills.

The week provided an opportunity for civil society organizations to learn about developments in educational policy at European level and to exchange information and best practice. First on the agenda was a consultation meeting with the European Parliament on the mid-term evaluation and the 2016 annual Erasmus+ survey carried out by the Life Long Learning Platform to discuss ways to reform and improve the Erasmus+ system. The meeting was followed by a plenary discussion and workshop on rethinking educational structures, its aims and purposes in the light of current challenges, with EuroClio founder and special advisor Joke van der Leeuw-Roord in the plenary. The current migration crisis, putting national and European structures to the test, was also addressed by exploring ways to integrate migrants and refugees in European societies through educational policies while stressing the need for a holistic strategy to build inclusive and diverse societies. One year and a half since the adoption of the Declaration on Promoting citizenship and the common values of freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination through education by the Ministers of Education in the European Union and EuroClio’s response with the Helsingor Declaration, the LLL Week also gave the chance to evaluate and assess the implementation of the targets and policy goals set out in the field of citizenship and intercultural education.

Lastly, EuroClio would like to congratulate Third Age Failte Isteach, Balkans, let’s get up! and TOY: Together Old and Young for winning one of the LLL Awards.

 

 Read Joke Van Der Leeuw-Roord’s thoughts on the Rethinking Education: Towards a global common good?-2015 Unesco report below.

 

Rethinking Education

Rethinking Education

EuroClio Articles

Joke van der Leeuw-Roord speaking about History Heritage, Education and Citizenship Education through the lenses of the EuroClio Community during the Life Long Learning Week 2016

On 11 October 2016 founder and special advisor of EuroClio, Joke van der Leeuw-Roord was part of the panel during the event “Rethinking Education: Towards a global common good?”, to discuss a 2015 UNESCO publication with the same title. The event was organised by UNESCO in cooperation with the International Council of Adult Education (ICAE) and the European Association for Adult Education (EAEA) as part of the Life Long Learning Week 2016 in Brussels, Belgium. Van der Leeuw-Roord was asked to present EuroClio’s response to the publication dealing with reviewing educational structures and its aims to adapt to current and future challenges as well as to meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 and Education 2030.

What does it mean for History, Heritage and Citizenship Education through the lenses of the EuroClio Community?

Van der Leeuw-Roord considers the report as beneficial for EuroClio’s work as it is stresses the importance of education and learning and captures many of the views and principles we have within the EuroClio community and those we share with many other International organisations focusing on education.

The document goes beyond the utilitarian vision and the human capital approach, which has been dominant over the last years, and is moving focus to the quality of education and the relevance of learning. Surprisingly neither history nor history heritage education is explicitly mentioned, however the report implicitly includes many elements also found in EuroClio policy documents such as developing understanding of the complexity of global learning landscape and the interconnectedness and interdependency of societies, exploring alternatives of dominant knowledge, rejection of all forms of (cultural) hegemony, stereotypes and biases and building curricula based on intercultural education striking the delicate balance between pluralism and universal values.

According to Roord the document pays intensive attention to the needs for professional development for educators and proposes to rethink the content and objectives of teacher education and training along lines we only can applaud. We agree that a teacher should now be a guide who enables learners, to develop and advance through the constantly expanding maze of knowledge.

Challenges

Roord also points out challenges in implementing the ideas and approaches as proposed in Rethinking Education such as international and national policy making, confusion of terms and concepts and lack of opportunities for practitioners.

Over the years Inter-Governmental Organisations such as UNESCO, OECD, Council of Europe and the European Union have published various relevant educational documents containing similar messages as Rethinking Education. However the stage of implementation on national levels is still rather limited. The implementation of approaches advocated in these documents is also seriously hindered by the confusion about terms and concepts. Each time there are other ways to explain the audience what is understood by concepts such as knowledge, competencies, skills, attitudes and values. Last, it is still often problematic for educators to leave the classroom and participate in (international) professional development. Governments and schools have difficulty to recognize the importance of lifelong learning, and in many countries there are limited resources available, certainly if training is not directly related to national policy priorities.