Quality Education on the table at the European Parliament

european-youth-forum-logoYesterday, the European Youth Forum organised a roundtable discussion, on the theme, “Quality Education in Europe by 2019?”, hosted by the European Parliament Intergroup on Youth, in Brussels. The event was timely, with a new legislative period of European Parliament about to start.

The European Youth Forum presented its recently adopted policy paper on quality education.  (See Policy Paper here). Youth Forum board member, Marcio Barcelos, made opening remarks on the Forum’s position on what makes quality education and its main claims on the topic for the upcoming European Parliament elections.

The roundtable brought together representatives from both institutions as well as civil society organisations. Maarten Coertjens of CONCORD Europe and Audrey Frith, from the European Civil Society Platform on Lifelong Learning provided an overview of the main gaps remaining in the accomplishment of a holistic approach to education that responds to the lifelong – and life-wide principles and contributes to global citizenship.  The representatives from institutions: Labour Party MEP Mary Honeyball, Sophia Eriksson, head of Unit A1 ‘Education and Training in Europe 2020 governance, and Philippe Ternes, Education Attaché, permanent Representation of Luxembourg to the EU, engaged in a lively discussion with the other panelists as well as the participants at the event.

Honeyball focused on the need to find a balance between a holistic approach to education and the need for education to address the skills mismatch and meet the needs of the labour market. Civil society organisations representatives called for a different approach in which education is centered on preparing young people for life, equipping them with the necessary key competences to make informed decisions and actively participate in democratic public life, which in turn will also contribute to responding to the needs of the ever-changing labour market.

Participants agreed that the discussion on education should not only focus on formal education but also on vocational education and training as well as non-formal education. Partnerships with educational providers, including youth organisations, were identified as a key step to make lifelong learning policies a reality.

The European Youth Forum would like to thank all those that took part. The conversations that took place are a key step towards joint cooperation among institutions and civil society organisations to having quality educational policies and practices in Europe that respond to the needs of the learner as well as of society, and strengthen the social dimension of learning.

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