Newsletter #68 – November 2013

Lifelong Learning Week 2013: programme online and registrations open!
EUCIS-LLL organises its 3rd Lifelong Learning Week in the European Parliament, Brussels, from 2 to 6 December 2013. This year, the Week will have a particular focus on the upcoming European Elections of Spring 2014. At this occasion EUCIS-LLL will launch its Manifesto for the European elections and more than 10 civil society events (see the calendar) will take place in order to provide ideas on how to modernise education and training systems in Europe. You can already register to the EUCIS-LLL Roundtable on our Manifesto “Buidling together the future of learning” (3 December 9h30-12h45) as well as our seminar “Making the case for European civic education” (4 December 9h-12h) jointly organised witht the European Civic Forum and our international conference on “Measuring progress in lifelong learning” (5 December 9h-13h).

EUCIS-LLL at the European Education, Training and Youth Forum
Last week the second edition of the European Education, Training and Youth Forum took place (minutes soon available in our members’ area). 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 and youth programme “Erasmus+”. Commission Head of Directorate on Europe 2020 Pierre Mairesse presented the first insights of the Education and Training Monitor 2013 (soon available) and evoked the need to tackle current challenges in a cross-sectorial approach, involving also civil society partners. EUCIS-LLL President David Lopez presented the outcomes of the EUCIS-LLL consultation led prior to the Forum, which had mobilised more than 733 respondents. Read also our press release published before the event.

EUCIS-LLL contest “Picture the Future of Learning”
EUCIS-LLL has launched a picture competition on the “Future of Learning”. The three categories are: learning environments, learning diversity and learning in Europe. Submit a picture before 10 November and get a chance to win an InterRail pass. The 10 best pictures will be exhibited at the European Parliament during the Lifelong Learning Week 2013 (2-6 December). Participants can take part in the competition through our website or throughFacebook.

/// NEWS FROM MEMBERS AND PARTNERS ///
FREREF conference: European regions discussing Erasmus+ and the European Social Fund
FREREF, the European Regions Foundation for Research in Education and Training, will organise on 21-22 November a conference in Brussels entitled “Territorial cooperation and the European Social Fund: what new practices 2014-2020”, to assess and debate how European regions will cope with, exploit and benefit from upcoming EU programmes. New possibilities for regional cooperation and development of innovative practices will be discussed to tackle current challenges faced at regional level, such as youth unemployment. The first day will be devoted in particular to the ESF and INTERREG while the Regional Council of FREREF will pursue discussion on the following day focusing more on Erasmus+. Register until 15 November on FREREF website.

SOLIDAR: Fighting Youth Unemployment and Precarious Work
SOLIDAR has published a briefing paper entitled: “Decent work and quality jobs for young people – a collation of articles on the employment situation and working conditions of young people”. SOLIDAR recommends that European policy initiatives – such as the Youth Employment Package that includes the Youth Guarantee – are strengthened to ensure that all young people are offered a job, apprenticeship, traineeship or continued education. And these initiatives must be based on decent work and quality employment.

MOVE Congress 2013: Final conclusions
The MOVE Congress 2013, the largest year event on grass-root sports in Europe co-organised by ISCA (the International Sport & Culture Association) on 16-19 October in Barcelona, has just come to an end. Have a look at the final conclusions, notably recommending to promote good governance in grassroots sport and establish new partnerships across sectors. In August 2013 the Commission proposed to the Council the first ever Recommendation in the field of sport.

AEGEE in the European Parliament for the Charlemagne Youth Prize
AEGEE’s Europe on Track project aims for a better future for European youth, to find solutions for the pressing issue of the rising rate in youth unemployment, to advocate for a sustainable future and to promote entrepreneurship among young people. The project had won the 2013 European Charlemagne Youth Prize in May and AEGEE President Luis Alvarado Martinez and Vice-President Kathrin Renner were invited on 16-17 October to present the project to the Parliament’s CULT Committee and to meet Parliament President Martin Schultz.

European Youth Forum launches Love Youth Future campaign
In view of the 2014 European elections, the European Youth Forum has just launched a campaign entitled “Love Youth Future” notably aimed at valuing young people, defending youth rights, calling for quality education more youth participation in society and moving forward solutions for a youth-friendly future.  Eleven pledges can be independently supported by candidates MEPs and voters also have the possibility to invite them to sign.

/// INSTITUTIONAL NEWS ///

“Rethinking Education” Parliament report adopted, civil society concerns heard
On 22 October in European Parliament plenary sitting in Strasbourg was voted MEP Katarina Nevedalova’s (S&D) report on the 2012 Commission’s Communication on “Rethinking Education: investing in skills for better socio-economic outcomes” (see S&D press release and interview with rapporteurs). EUCIS-LLL welcomes the strong will of Members of Parliament to express their opinion on such an important political document. Most of the concerns expressed by EUCIS-LLL have been taken into account by the Rapporteur, notably on quality of and access to education and on a lifelong, lifewide approach to learning. The report also echoes EUCIS-LLL plea for a genuine and permanent civil dialogue when it “Calls for learners and the organisations to which they are attached to be involved in decision-making processes concerning education, and highlights the fact that learning should be based on a structured dialogue with learners”. See EUCIS-LLL press release and webpage on Rethinking Education and notably OBESSU’s reaction to the adoption of the text.

Parliament conditions not met, EU budget adoption postponed to November
While the deal between EU institutions on the Multiannual Financial Framework2014-2020 (MFF) was supposed to be finalised this month with a vote expected for this week’s Parliament plenary sitting, MEPs estimated that conditions for adoption were not met and that the MFF would be examined in the November session (see BUDG Committee Chair summary on 22 October extraordinary meeting). Due to heavy administrative processes after the November vote, the implementation of the MFF by January 2014 could even be threatened (the 2013 budget would then apply for 2014). Erasmus+ (read new Parliamentworking document for a summary of negotiations) and number of other EU programmes cannot be finalised either if the EU budget is not approved, but this should not entail delays in the release of calls for proposals by the end of the year. See also the state of negotiations for the 2014 budget.

Parliament CULT Committee votes Report on volunteering in Europe
On 17 October the Committee for Culture and Education adopted MEP Scurria (EPP)’s report on volunteering in Europe. The draft report (final version soon available) highlights that volunteering is key for active citizenship and democracy as well as for promoting social and economic cohesion, and that formal, informal and non-formal training enhance volunteers’ skills and empower them. The report also calls for the adoption of a European statute for voluntary organisations in line with the goals of the European Alliance for the Statute of the European Association which EUCIS-LLL belongs to, and rings the alarm on the difficulties faced by NGOs in times of austerity. See also EUCIS-LLL recommendations to recognize volunteer work as contributions in kind in the next Erasmus+ programme.

European Social Fund 2014-2020 finally adopted
The Council (COREPER of 17 October) has finally agreed with the European Parliament on the European Social Fund regulation, setting part of the framework for European regional cohesion policy for the next seven years. The ESF supports thousands of projects linked to crucial stakes for the sector such as tackling early-school leaving or implementing validation systems; the ESF 2014-2020 will dedicate a whole thematic objective to education and training. Almost thirty sessions of interinstitutional negotiations were needed to reach an agreement, mostly focused lately on the Youth Employment Initiative; yet no agreement has been found yet on whether or not the ESF should account for 25% of the total cohesion policy budget. Now Member States are elaborating their Operational Programmes to concretise the next ESF and EUCIS-LLL has insisted in particular on the respect of the European Code of Conduct on Partnerships supposed to involve various stakeholders in the design and implementation of the future Fund.

Youth Guarantee schemes moved forward
On 17 October the Commission and Member States met to see how governments could concretely implement their Youth GuaranteeImplementation Plans, on a financial and technical point of view. The Youth Guarantee Recommendation was adopted in April 2013 and is part of the Youth Employment Package; it is aimed at contributing to reduce critical levels of youth unemployment in Europe by making sure that young people under 25 cannot stay more than four months after finishing education or becoming unemployed without being proposed a job, an internship, a training, etc. Member States with regions of youth unemployment above 25% are also eligible for additional EU funding through the European Social Fund. The European Youth Forum attended the event and called for the involvement of youth organisations national youth guarantee schemes.

/// RESEARCH & INNOVATION ///

New Eurydice publication on the structure of European education systems 2013/14
How is education currently organised in your country? How does one structure compare to another? The 2013/14 schematic diagrams on the ‘Structure of the European education systems‘ will give you easy answers to these questions. The diagrams show you what mainstream schooling looks like in 33 European countries and how different levels of education, from pre-primary to tertiary, are broken down. The diagrams also indicate the general ages of students and the programme duration for each level.

New ESCO portal: towards a single terminology on qualifications?
On 23-24 October 2013 the Commission (DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion and DG Education and Culture) launched the ESCO portal, an open and free of charge website aimed at creating a standard terminology of skills, competences, occupations and qualifications for education and training systems and the labour market. The ESCO portal is multilingual (22 languages) as the purpose is to ease learners and workers’ mobility across the EU by a better recognition of their learning outcomes abroad thanks to the same semantics. ESCO is meant to be in line with other EU transparency and recognition tools (i.e. EQF). Learn more on the website and read EUCIS-LLL infonote.

Global national qualifications framework inventory
This publication is a global, country-by-country, inventory of National Qualifications Frameworks. It is a co-publication, prepared by two EU agencies, the European Training Foundation (ETF) and the Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop); and UNESCO’s Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) and the Section for TVET at UNESCO headquarters. It is accompanied by an inventory on Global national qualifications framework, including country cases from EU and ETF partner countries.

CEDEFOP briefing note: Return to learning, return to work
This briefing note (available in several EU languages) provides a short analysis on how to help low-qualified adults out of unemployment, with special focus on the possibilities of work-based learning.

/// EU FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES ///

2nd European Social Innovation Competition: The Job Challenge
Do you have an idea to fight high unemployment? Do you think you could improve the working conditions of people stuck in low-paid jobs – whether because of their gender, age, social status or handicap? Do you know how to enhance opportunities for the 27 million Europeans currently out of work? Then the second European Social Innovation Competition is for you! Prizes raised to EUR 30,000 – Apply until 11 December 2013

Launch of the 2014 European Charlemagne Youth Prize
Are you 16-30 years old and do you run a project with a European dimension? From 25 October projects promoting Europe among young people can start competing for the seventh Charlemagne Youth Prize. Winning projects will not only benefit from recognition and media coverage, but also from prize money to further develop the initiative. The deadline for submissions is 20 January 2014.

Delivering on skills for growth and jobs – PROGRESS
The objective of the Call is to is to encourage new forms of collaboration through partnerships between public and private actors on the labour market (such as public and private employment services, companies including SME’s, chambers of commerce, training and education providers, social partners, labour market intelligence entities) to address persistent skills shortages and mismatches to help fill the gap between labour supply and demand in the EU. Deadline for submitting applications: 15 January 2014.

/// AGENDA ///

EUCIS-LLL Lifelong Learning week, 2-6 December

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