The European Commission has organised an event on education as they usually do every year. Following the 1st European Education Summit held at the same time in 2018, the 2019 event took place on 24 January (followed by a separate, lower level meeting with civil society) in Brussels with a forward-looking goal: to envision education in 2030 and the necessary actions towards it. Parents International was able to bring not only the parents’ voice into the discussion, but also our global perspective and examples from outside of Europe. Representing parents from 24 European countries, we think it very important to bring European education (back) to global excellence.
The event was officially organised at the initiative of Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport by the European Commission, DG EAC, and provided an open platform for exchanges between about 300 education, training and youth stakeholders and policymakers. The main discussions focused on key issues that education and training will be facing in Europe and beyond until 2030, including the challenges associated to demographics; inclusion and citizenship; technological change and the future of work; digitalisation of society; environmental concerns; and investments, reforms and governance.
The Forum built on the work of the European Education and Training Expert Panel, a group of independent experts from across Europe. The Panel members presented their findings on the above mentioned six challenges and there was an opportunity to provide input to the preparation of the new EU education and training cooperation framework beyond 2020. The event was organised in the form of a mix of plenary sessions and interactive workshops, and there was plenty of time and opportunities for networking.
The most ambitious goal was set by Petra Kammerevert, Chair of the Education and Culture Committee of the European Parliament. She demanded that countries increase their education spending to 10% of their GDP and that a pan-European education policy is developed with a cross-cutting approach focusing on digital and soft skills and involving all stakeholders.
Several participants referred to the European Education Area of the European Commission as a good starting point, and there was an agreement that education actions should be aiming at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. Participants endorsed the claim that it costs much more not to invest in education than the actual necessary investment.