EUCIS-LLL Press release – Education, Training and Youth Forum 2013: time to act together!

EUCIS-LLL PRESS RELEASE
Brussels, 16 October 2013

Education, Training and Youth Forum 2013: time to act together!

Tomorrow the second edition of the European Education, Training and Youth Forum will take place. Entitled “Working together for reforms” the Forum aims to emphasise the need for policy makers and key stakeholders to work in partnership for the successful implementation of reforms at national and regional level, in particular through the opportunities offered by the new EU education, training, youth and sport programme “Erasmus+”. EUCIS-LLL highlights here some key recommendations on how to better “work together” based on the results of a consultation run at the invitation of the European Commission to prepare the Forum. 733 stakeholders took part in the survey, a substantial increased compared to 2012, showing the great interest in Erasmus+.

Europe cannot afford to have 1 European out of 5 with low literacy and numeracy skills while 1 in 10 is participating in lifelong learning1. To remedy this situation, we need genuine lifelong learning strategies involving the different stakeholders including civil society. This is why good European governance in education and training requests a holistic and inclusive approach. EUCIS-LLL thus welcomes the European Commission strong focus on partnerships (notably in its Communication “Rethinking Education”). However progress cannot be achieved without the political will and investment from national governments on quality learning for all, at a time when education and training systems have been weakened by austerity measures.

At EU level Erasmus+ is supposed to support innovative partnerships to answer some of these challenges. The EUCIS-LLL survey highlights that the programme is a great tool to address issues such as youth unemployment, recognition of learning outcomes, better transitions with the labour market or social inclusion. Yet beneficiaries’ participation in Erasmus+ could be severely hindered by administrative and financial barriers, as half of respondents underlined in the survey. EUCIS-LLL thus welcomed the commitment of the European Commission to simplify the programme and calls for concrete changes in that direction (see EUCIS-LLL proposals). The EUCIS-LLL consultation also shows that most stakeholders usually do not know well the ET2020 Strategic Framework, including public authorities. A better awareness of EU policy frameworks is a prerequisite in establishing a stronger link between policy and programme. This is why EUCIS-LLL aims to set up national multi-stakeholders’ forums as new platforms of dialogue on the EU agenda and its implementation at national level (see EUCIS-LLLfeasibility study).

Pooling our aspirations, enthusiasm and resources together also calls for ashared ownership and leadership. Many barriers hinder today working in partnership: half of respondents to the 2013 EUCIS-LLL survey mention thelack of cooperation mechanisms. The Forum aims to be one of them but its role has to be clearly defined. For instance its key messages should be properly conveyed to Member States in order to feed in the 2014 European Semester. It should also be enshrined in a more regular and sustainable dialogue between decision-makers, social partners and civil society representatives. Let us make more of the Forum than just another conference and seize the opportunity to set up a genuine participative event to discuss the future of education and training in Europe.

 1PIAAC 2013, adult population aged 16-65 and European education benchmarks adult population aged 25-64.

Contact: Audrey Frith, Director, +32 2 738 07 68, audrey.frith@eucis-lll.eu

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