Have you ever wondered if all European citizens have equal access to education?
In the last two years, the entire world has been facing the Covid-19 pandemic and this period has taught us, with no doubt, that coordination is the key when it comes to managing education. We have all noticed that inequality was increased, especially in the education field.
European leaders decided to create a European Education Area in order to grant equal access to education to all citizens of the European Union, independently of their age and social background. They also want to create a more inclusive education system at European level, to give the opportunity to all European citizens to acquire the necessary skills to be prepared for the future, to face the upcoming challenges and to integrate more easily into the job market.
This European initiative was first launched in 2017 during the Social Summit in Gothenburg, Sweden. In 2018 and 2019, the first measures were implemented, so we can already put this whole procedure in perspective and observe the positive results for all the education systems in Europe. It has not only been created for higher education but for all types of education and trainings from early childhood to adulthood. The aim is to grant all European citizens equal access to learning material in order to achieve the European goal towards a responsible citizenship, as one of the main pillars of the European Union.
This measure was taken in order to meet the following objectives:
-increase the quality of education and training all over Europe
-increase the accessibility of all different types of education, for all citizens and for all ages
-increase the number of teachers and trainers
-increase the offer of green and digital education
”Green education” is about raising awareness on environmental matters. Nowadays, climate change is one of the most concerning issues for all of us and especially for the institutions that try to implement measures to prepare the future of their citizens. Next generations will be even more affected by those matters and will have to face the problems related to climate change in their everyday life. Therefore it is essential to offer education that includes environmental topics in all countries of the European Union.
Up to now, a positive evolution has been observed and the statistics collected are very encouraging:
-around 90% of young adults have acquired at least a higher secondary diploma or have enrolled in a training programme
-around 80% of students who attended the Erasmus+ programme found a job in less than three months
However, many European teenagers are still facing problems with reading, maths and sciences, so new measures are in the pipeline in order to solve this type of issue.
In September 2020, the Commission proposed a new version of the European Education Area in order to respond to new challenges in relation with the global pandemic and in February 2021, the Council of Europe decided to implement a strategic framework on EU cooperation for education and training for the period 2021-2030. Overall, the European Education Area results from a collaboration between all Member States on one hand, and the European Commission, the Council of Europe and the European Parliament on the other hand, although the three of them still have to completely agree on the matter.
This agreement should be achieved by 2025 in parallel with the development of the digital education competences in order to allow for the digital transformation that our society is experiencing.
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Written by Cécile Mayeres
She holds a Master’s degree in Translation and Cross-Cultural Communication with a specialization in European mobility. She now does a traineeship in Communication at the Terminology Coordination Unit.