European Education, Training and Youth Forum 2014 Report

ETYF 2014The third edition of the European Education, Training and Youth (ETY) Forum took place in Brussels on 9th and 10th of October 2014. The theme of the Forum was Future priorities of the ET2020 Strategic Framework for European Cooperation in Education and Training and Synergies with Youth Policy. The event hosted forward looking discussions to identify key priority areas for policy cooperation as part of the review of the Framework for European Cooperation in Education and Training (ET2020). It gathered more than 350 participants representing different types of stakeholders and organisations active in education, training and youth.

Key messages from the Forum

The value of the Strategic Framework for European Cooperation in Education and Training (ET2020) as an integrated framework: Forum participants underlined the great value of having a holistic strategic framework covering education and training in all contexts, sectors and dimensions. Participants advocated strong links between the education and training sectors, and between youth work and employment. They also argued for an increased cooperation between the various stakeholders.

A holistic approach is crucial for building a bridge between education, training, youth work and the labour market, and for increasing dialogue among stakeholders. This approach implies collaboration involving formal, non-formal and informal education and training, the education and youth sectors, different levels of education, different Commission services and different Ministries at national level. Several stakeholders acknowledged the value of existing EU tools, cross-policy synergies and multiprofessional cooperation, but also emphasized the need to improve the cooperation framework, by promoting networking, cross-sector collaboration and cooperative learning opportunities.

Remaining challenges

In the context of ET2020, the following main challenges are still outstanding:

  • Employability and transition between education and the labour market,
  • The social dimension of education and training, for example the provision of equal access to education and training opportunities for all, and the provision of civic competences against the background of growing mistrust of the EU – especially among young people – and of rising extremism,
  • Supporting low-achievers in gaining basic and transversal skills and combating early school leaving more effectively,
  • Diversifying and professionalising the teaching profession and finding solutions to cope with the increasing diversity in the classroom/learning environment.

Issues neglected during the past ET2020 work cycle

The areas perceived as having been neglected during the past ET2020 work cycle include:

  • The social and equity dimension of education and training, the civic objectives of learning, and the consideration of countries’ socio-economic situations when designing education and training policies,
  • Cross-sector cooperation and partnerships between all types of stakeholders,
  • Recognition of non-formal and informal skills, competences and learning outcomes,
  • The use of technology in education, in particular ICT,
  • The investment in and support to entrepreneurship education,
  • The attractiveness of and support to the teaching profession.

Priorities for the next ET2020 work cycle

The next ET 2020 work cycle should focus on the following priorities and expected outcomes:

  • Developing a holistic approach linking education, training, youth work and employment, and increasing cross-sector cooperation between stakeholders,
  • Strengthening the social dimension of education and training and delivering on the strategic objective ‘Promote equity, social cohesion and active citizenship’ of ET2020. This also means promoting learning interventions for those not in 2 employment and enhancing the recognition and validation of non-formal and informal learning outcomes, especially for low-qualified youth/adults and marginalised groups,
  • Providing additional support, especially from national authorities, to ensure the professionalization of teachers (e.g. pedagogical and digital skills),
  • Encouraging the transnational mobility of learners and educators,
  • Supporting entrepreneurship education at all levels (starting at primary school level),
  • Improving learning outcomes relative to resources used (efficiency).

ET2020 working methods/governance

The Forum participants confirmed the importance of ET2020 for mutual learning through peer learning activities and sharing of best practices. They also recognised the key role played by the European Commission in promoting these activities.

On the other hand, participants emphasised the need to improve the ET2020 governance and working methods by:

  • Focussing on a limited number of priorities and on implementation, in the sectors where the EU can add value,
  • Developing a more systematic approach to enhance peer learning; setting up platforms to learn, exchange ideas and share good practice examples,
  • Communicating results and disseminating successful policies and best practices more effectively – at both national and EU level – using clearer language to allow key messages to reach a wider audience.

Stakeholder involvement

The key messages related to stakeholder involvement can be divided in two groups. On the one hand, the Forum participants advocated a better involvement of the stakeholders in the ET 2020 governance process and working methods, including suggestions for:

  • Involving different actors in the next ET2020 work cycle – notably parents and families, youth organisations, companies and the self-employed, and social partners,
  • Widening the range of stakeholder groups involved in ET2020 debates, for example by enhancing collaboration with representatives from informal and non-formal education, training and youth work,
  • Consulting educators on what they want to achieve and how.

On the other hand, the participants suggested a number of substantive ET2020 policy priorities concerning stakeholders, including:

  • Promoting cooperation mechanisms and increasing synergies across policies and between stakeholders from the variety of formal, informal and non-formal sectors,
  • Developing a community-based approach to education and the delivery of integrated services, and support to adult participation. This may involve reinforcing the links between schools and families to assist disadvantaged parents in helping their children to succeed,
  • Promoting active citizenship to support learners’ commitment in society.

Workshops took place on the following topics, and gathered stakeholders’ key policy proposals and processes and synergies:

  1. Promoting excellence and innovation
  2. Tackling the low-skills gap
  3. Supporting a new generation of educators
  4. Recognising and valuing skills and competences
  5. Promoting equity, social cohesion and active citizenship

European Education, Training and Youth Forum 2014 webpage

DG EAC Education, Training and Youth Forum 2014 event page (including video)

Draft outcome of proceedings from the European Ministerial Conference on Integration (Milan, 5-6 November 2014)

On 5 and 6 of November 2014 the Italian Presidency organized a Ministerial Conference on Integration, with the aim to further develop the Strategic Guidelines concerning the area of Freedom, Security and Justice adopted by the European Council in June 2014. The discussion built upon the Common Basic Principles adopted on 19 November 2004, the informal meeting of EU Integration Ministers of Zaragoza of 15-16 April 2010, the following Council Conclusions on Integration adopted on 3-4 June 2010, and the Council Conclusions adopted on 5 and 6 June 2014.

In this context delegations agreed on the need to explore the key aspects of integration, focusing on the different levels of governance at which the integration process unfolds and on the interconnections that exist between integration and related policy fields. The following aspects, linked to education, should be taken into consideration:

I. Addressing integration through a comprehensive approach

The Council Conclusions on the integration of third-country nationals legally residing in the EU of 5 and 6 June 2014 recognized the importance of a comprehensive approach to integration and of mainstreaming policies and practices in all relevant policy sectors and levels of government. The Conclusions further specified that such an approach to integration presupposes inter alia effective reception policies and measures responding to the specific needs of both individuals and different groups of migrants, which are more likely to be exposed to social exclusion, including beneficiaries of international protection.

II. Non-discrimination

The 2005 Common Agenda for Integration indicated several measures to favour migrants’ access to the labour market, including innovative approaches to prevent labour market discrimination, training courses, exploring additional ways of recognising newcomers’ qualifications and facilitated conditions for accessing the labour market for women. Efforts in this field should continue to be a priority for European States not only because non-discrimination is a fundamental principle of EU law but also because, as recognized by the EU 2020 strategy, increasing migrants’ access to the labour market is crucial to achieve sustainable economic growth in Europe.

Non-discrimination plays a central role also regarding migrants’ access to education. The common basic principle number 5 states that efforts in education are critical to preparing immigrants, and particularly their descendants, to be more successful and more active participants in society. To this regard, the Council Conclusions of  November 2009 on the education of children with a migrant background invited  Member States to set up or strengthen anti-discrimination mechanisms, increasing the permeability of pathways within school systems and removing barriers to individual progression through the system, in order to combat segregation and contribute to higher achievement levels for migrant learners. Children with a migrant background should be provided with targeted support in order to fill the gap in education results that still exists between them and children belonging to the native population.

III. Mainstreaming of integration policies

As shown by initiatives undertaken in several countries, mainstreamed policies present numerous advantages. First of all, they allow responding to the needs of heterogeneous and increasing diverse societies, pushing towards a diffuse sensibility to diversity that contrasts discrimination and stereotypes. Secondly, they allow better coping with the rising number of second- and third-generation immigrants, who may face structural barriers to succeeding in education or on the labour market. Finally, if properly managed, mainstreaming of integration priorities also allows designing policies that are both cost-effective and capable of improving outcomes for the society as a whole, thus maximizing the impact of public resources.

IV. Monitoring of integration policies

The common basic principle number 11 states that developing clear goals, indicators and evaluation mechanisms is necessary to adjust policy, evaluate progress on integration and to make the exchange of information more effective. Following the priorities set by the Potsdam ministerial conference in May 2007 and reaffirmed by the Vichy Ministerial conference in November 2008, the ministerial conference held in Zaragoza in 2010 identified Common European “indicators” in four areas of relevance for integration: employment, education, social inclusion and active citizenship. Stressing the importance of such indicators, the Commission stated in its 2011 European Agenda for Integration the intention to monitor developments in this field and formulate recommendations, in dialogue with the Member States.

Read the draft outcome of proceedings from the European Ministerial Conference on Integration (Milan, 5-6 November 2014) via Italian Presidency webpage

Study on the effective use of early childhood education and care (ECEC) in preventing early school leaving (ESL)

ECEC_ESLThe Study on the effective use of early childhood education and care (ECEC) in preventing early school leaving (ESL), contracted to the Public Policy and Management Institute (Lithuania) by the European Commission’s DG Education and Training, aimed to collect evidence on how equitable and high-quality early child education and care can influence the performance of children in the subsequent stages of education and possibly contribute to the prevention of early school leaving. In order to achieve this, the following steps were undertaken:

  • The research review stage focused on synthesising the already existing evidence on the links between quality of ECEC and children’s learning progress. This allowed major gaps in existing research to be identified and directions for future studies to be provided. The synthesis included an overview of literature and policy documents in the languages of 34 European countries.
  • The policy mapping stage helped to update policy information available from the previous studies and to make an assessment on the quality of ECEC and on the balance and continuity between the earliest and the later stages in education in the analysed European countries. It also helped in selecting the countries for case study analysis, taking into consideration the principles of diversity and representativeness.
  • The case study analysis was carried out in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Finland, France, Italy, Lithuania, Spain, Sweden and the UK. The case studies analysed the influence of ECEC policies on the learning of children in a particular country context. They complemented country-specific evidence collected during the research review stage and tried to assess how declared national policies are implemented in practice.
  • The synthesis of the research review, case studies and policy mapping reports helped to revisit the role of early childhood education and care in children’s development in a new light by bringing together the research findings from different levels of education, different disciplines, and different country contexts in this report and identifying the areas that need to be considered in further research

Key findings

  • The study demonstrates the impact of non-cognitive and meta-cognitive skills, besides cognitive ones, for setting the foundation for subsequent learning. Using the capabilities approach – mainly used in social policy – the study highlights two essential characteristics of the education systems: whether learners are able to convert their abilities/competences into capabilities and whether – at the same time – education systems provide opportunities for this process (i.e., if learners are able to use their abilities at their own choice and if education systems provide this choice).
  • Strategies that promote the continuity of the curriculum, of pedagogies and of professional capacity, and of institutional arrangements that in turn ensure smooth transition between ECEC and primary school and beyond are most needed. In contrast, strategies, like grade retention, that are not beneficial for improving learning outcomes should not be supported. There should be an emphasis on proper support and early warning systems that are the foundation of a good education system, not simply an accessory.
  • The study confirms that underachievement (a more subtle term than low-achievement), i.e. students not reaching their full potential during their school years, is due to the inadequacy of the education system.

ECEC

  • Positive outcomes of ECEC include: early literacy, language and numeracy skills as well as pro-social behaviour, self-regulation, motivation, capacity to do independent work, take responsibility for tasks. These are essential for the further development of competences at school. The analysis of the profile of underachievers/early school leavers in the study reveals that they often lack a number of these cognitive and non-cognitive abilities, whose foundations are set by ECEC services. This confirms that there is a direct link between ECEC and ESL.
  • The study brings these outcomes in direct connection with certain characteristics of ECEC systems. Main quality aspects that bring good outcomes of ECEC systems and good outcomes for the individual children are: access (including affordability), governance (i.e. monitoring and evaluation and good leadership), structure (i.e. adequate staff training, the existence of a curriculum, staff-child ratio) and process quality (i.e. parental engagement and the quality interactions among all actors) of ECEC services. These quality aspects need to be developed interdependently.
  • The study brings practical examples how countries address the above issues. These include: efficient leadership with more autonomy can cater more effectively for local needs even if there is a shortage of places; additional quality support staff (psychologist, speech therapist, etc.) is key to having competent teams to deal with the diversity of children and with bigger group sizes; a deeper understanding of learning through play (both child and adult initiated) can serve as a major and efficient lever for children’s learning; initiatives that work with the parents of disadvantaged children are essential for the good outcomes of ECEC.

Transitions to later stages of education

  • Sustainability of positive outcomes of ECEC for children depends on learning experiences in subsequent levels of education. Good quality ECEC is a necessary but not sufficient condition for success in primary and secondary school. After ECEC the following quality criteria need to be met in subsequent schooling: efficiency dimension: no part of the system is allowed to waste or counteract the results of other parts of the system; equity dimension: the conditions for success of one sub-group are not allowed to damage the prospects of another sub-group; cohesion dimension: its stakeholders are aware of and feel responsible for the full breadth of the education system; representativeness dimension: the diversity of its cohorts of pupils is mirrored by the diversity of its staff and policymakers.
  • The transitions between different levels of education (from ECEC to primary and from primary to secondary education) prove to be delicate phases in the learning process, and negative experiences can undermine acquisitions from previous stages. Educational systems should ensure smooth transition between levels by ensuring structural, pedagogical and professional continuity.
  • These principles translate into concrete measures, such as ensuring continuity of institutions, of training, of curriculum, building professional capacity of diverse workforce from early years up to the end of compulsory schooling, developing systematic monitoring and exploiting the result for policy development, empowering all parents to support their children’s learning process, etc.

Download Executive Summary

OECD: International Migration Outlook 2014

This flagship publication on migration analyses recent developments in migration movements and policies in OECD countries and selected non-OECD countries. This edition also contains two special chapters on “The labour market integration of immigrants and their children: developing, activating and using skills” and “Managing labour migration: Smart policies to support economic growth”. It also includes Country notes and a Statistical Annex. This special edition is launched at the occasion of the High-level Policy Forum on Migration (Paris, 1-2 December 2014).

Download Report

Highlights from the Executive Summary

Investing in the labour market integration of immigrants
First- and second-generation immigrants are playing a growing role in the workforce. In countries settled through immigration, such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States, as well as inWestern Europe, immigrants are well established. Elsewhere, in Southern Europe for example, they are a relatively recent but growing presence in the education system and the labour market.
The integration of immigrants and their families has been a prime policy objective in many OECD countries for at least the past 15 years. Perhaps the most important challenge is unleashing immigrants’ full skills potential. A number of policy approaches can help make this happen:
● Make information on foreign qualifications more widely available and improve their recognition.
● Ensure immigrants have access to active labour market programmes and that they benefit from them.
● Put immigrants more directly in contact with employers.
● Provide immigrants’ children with high-quality early childhood education and care.
● Provide language training adapted to immigrants’ skills.

Key figures
● Preliminary data suggests permanent migration flows to the OECD rose by about 1% in 2013 compared to 2012, following a 0.8% drop in 2012 compared to the previous year.
● Labour migration has declined continuously since the economic downturn and fell by about 12% in 2012. By contrast, free-movement migration rose 10%.
● Asylum seeking increased by 20% in 2013 compared to 2012.
● Worldwide, the number of students enrolled outside their country of citizenship more than doubled since 2000 to reach 4.5 million in 2012, with 75% enrolled in OECD countries.
● With a little over half a million emigrants, China accounted for almost 10% of all flows to OECD countries in 2012, followed by Romania (5.6%) and Poland (5.4%).
● There are more than 115 million immigrants in the OECD, about 10% of the total population.
● In 2012, about 12.5% of all 15 year-olds had two foreign-born parents – 50% more than a decade earlier. Their integration, particularly those with parents with low levels of education, is a growing concern.
● The crisis hit immigrants disproportionately hard: of the additional 15 million unemployed in the OECD since 2007, about 1 in 5 is foreign-born.
● Despite the crisis most immigrants are in work. On average, a higher proportion of low-educated immigrants (54.1%) are in work than their native-born peers (52.6%).
● By contrast, tertiary educated immigrants are less likely to be in work than their native-born counterparts (77% versus 84%). And when employed, they are 50% more likely to be over-qualified for their jobs.

Via OECD Library