The 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.
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.
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:
- Promoting excellence and innovation
- Tackling the low-skills gap
- Supporting a new generation of educators
- Recognising and valuing skills and competences
- Promoting equity, social cohesion and active citizenship
DG EAC Education, Training and Youth Forum 2014 event page (including video)