14 Jul 2016

Building Learning Societies

Slovakian Presidency takes on Education and Training

Since 1st July Slovakia has taken the lead in the Council of the European Union in times when the Union faces unprecedented challenges that contest both its unity and its common approach. The main focus of the Presidency in the area of education is talents, and the ways we foster and develop them. It is believed that the development of talents has a direct impact on an individual and it enhances social inclusion, and it is the driver of innovation and growth. For the SOLIDAR Foundation, it is important to see that the focus on the development of skills and competences takes precedence in European policy making. As the CEDEFOP (European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training) skills forecast shows, in the coming years the demand for specific skills will increase due to technological changes. Furthermore, investing in skills development is an important method of preventing unemployment, and lifelong learning is vital to personal growth and inclusion.

The objectives of the recently published New Skills Agenda for Europe paved the way for the Slovak Presidency to work in the area of education and training. This will be reflected during negotiations on a Council Recommendation on establishing a ‘skills guarantee’, as the Slovak Presidency aims to increase the level of adult education, including digital, entrepreneurial and transversal skills. In the context of the revision of the Recommendation on the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning, the Slovak Presidency will focus on developing tools and services for skills and qualifications and on improving their comparability. In SOLIDAR’s view, it is highly important to stress the need for development of transversal skills that encompass social and civil skills that are needed to fully participate in society. The Presidency and the European Commission should put more emphasis on encouraging inclusive education that promotes common European values and recognises non-formal and informal learning.

During the upcoming half year, the Slovakian Presidency is planning to issue:

  • Draft Council conclusions on new approaches in youth work in order to develop the potential and talent of young people and their inclusion in society;
  • A proposal for a Council Recommendation on establishing a Skills Guarantee;
  • Draft Council conclusions on the prevention of radicalisation leading to violent extremism;
  • A Draft Council Resolution on a New Skills Agenda for Europe;

Moreover, the Council of the education ministers will talk about:

  • A proposal for a Council Recommendation on the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning, and repealing the Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23rd April 2008 on the establishment of the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning
  • Fostering and developing talent

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