Procedure : 2015/2281(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0176/2016

Texts tabled :

A8-0176/2016

Debates :

PV 22/06/2016 - 22
CRE 22/06/2016 - 22

Votes :

PV 23/06/2016 - 8.12
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2016)0291

REPORT     
PDF 334kWORD 145k
11.5.2016
PE 573.113v03-00 A8-0176/2016

on follow-up of the Strategic Framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET2020)

(2015/2281(INI))

Committee on Culture and Education

Rapporteur: Zdzisław Krasnodębski

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE
 FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on follow-up of the Strategic Framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET2020)

(2015/2281(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

–  having regard to Articles 165 and 166 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and in particular its Article 14,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 12 May 2009 on a Strategic Framework for European cooperation in education and training (‘ET 2020’)(1),

–  having regard to the 2012 Joint Report of the Council and the Commission on the implementation of the Strategic Framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), ‘Education and Training in a smart, sustainable and inclusive Europe’ (2012/C 70/05)(2),

–   having regard to the communication of 26 August 2015 from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘Draft 2015 Joint Report of the Council and the Commission on the implementation of the Strategic Framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET2020) - New priorities for European cooperation in education and training’ (COM(2015)0408)(3),

–  having regard to the 2015 Joint Report of the Council and the Commission on the implementation of the Strategic Framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET2020) - ‘New priorities for European cooperation in education and training’ (2015/C 417/04)(4),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 28 and 29 November 2011 on a benchmark for learning mobility(5),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 19 November 2010 on education for sustainable development(6),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 17 February 2014 on ‘Investing in education and training - a response to “Rethinking Education: Investing in skills for better socio-economic outcomes” and the “2013 Annual Growth Survey”’ (2013/C 64/06)(7),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 20 May 2014 on effective teacher education(8),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 20 May 2014 on quality assurance supporting education and training(9),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on entrepreneurship in education and training(10),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on the role of early childhood education and primary education in fostering creativity, innovation and digital competence (2015/C 172/05)(11),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on reducing early school leaving and promoting success in school (2015/C 417/05)(12),

–  having regard to the communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘Rethinking education: investing in skills for better socio-economic outcomes’ (COM(2012)0669)(13),

–  having regard to the Council recommendation of 20 December 2012 on the validation of non-formal and informal learning (2012/C 398/01)(14),

–  having regard to Recommendation 2006/962/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning(15),

–  having regard to the declaration of the informal meeting of EU education ministers held on 17 March 2015 on promoting citizenship and the common values of freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination through education (the ‘Paris Declaration’)(16),

–  having regard to the ‘Riga conclusions’, adopted on 22 June 2015 by the ministers responsible for vocational education and training(17),

–  having regard to the Commission Green Paper of 3 July 2008 entitled ‘Migration and mobility: challenges and opportunities for EU education systems’ (COM(2008)0423)(18),

–  having regard to the report drawn up in February 2010 for the Commission by the Expert Group on New Skills for New Jobs entitled ‘New Skills for New Jobs: Action Now’(19),

–  having regard to the recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on ‘Transnational mobility within the Community for education and training purposes: European Quality Charter for Mobility’(20),

–  having regard to the report of the Sixth University-Business Forum of March 2015(21),

–  having regard to the CEDEFOP skills forecast of 2012, ‘Future skills supply and demand in Europe’(22),

–  having regard to its resolutions of 8 September 2015 on promoting youth entrepreneurship through education and training(23) and of 28 April 2015 on follow-up on the implementation of the Bologna Process(24),

–  having regard to its resolution of 26 November 2015 on education for children in emergency situations and protracted crises(25),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 April 2016 entitled ‘Erasmus+ and other tools to foster mobility in VET - a lifelong learning approach’(26),

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Culture and Education (A8-0176/2016),

A.  whereas hereinafter all references to ‘education and training’ should be taken as encompassing formal, non-formal and informal forms, given their complementary character in a transition towards a learning society and their role in addressing specific target groups, thus facilitating inclusion of people with fewer educational opportunities;

B.  whereas education and training should not be aimed solely at meeting labour market needs, but should constitute a value in themselves, since education has an equally important role in developing ethical and civic virtues and broadly understood humanist values, as enshrined in the Treaties, and in strengthening the democratic principles on which Europe is founded;

C.  whereas education should contribute to the personal development, mutual respect and growth of young people, in order to make them proactive, responsible and aware citizens with civic, social, intercultural cross-cutting competences as well as skilled professionals;

D.  whereas education should be considered a fundamental human right and a public good that should be accessible to all;

E.  whereas education and training have an important role to play in tackling poverty and social exclusion, and expanding access to lifelong learning can open up new possibilities for the low-skilled, the unemployed, people with special needs, the elderly and migrants;

F.  whereas inclusive and high-quality education and training are essential for Europe´s cultural, economic and social development;

G.  whereas education and training in Europe should make a contribution to EU strategies and initiatives, including the Europe 2020 strategy, the Digital Single Market initiative, the European Agenda on Security and the Investment Plan for Europe;

H.  whereas not all Member States face the same type and level of challenges, meaning that any recommendations proposed for education and training should be flexible and should take into consideration national and regional economic, social, demographic, cultural and other factors, while also aiming at improving the situation in the EU as a whole;

I.  whereas ET2020 cooperation, while respecting the competence of Member States, should complement national actions and support Member States in their efforts to develop education and training systems;

J.   whereas economic development and social cohesion should be put on an equal footing through a policy mix aimed at achieving a fairer distribution of knowledge across the population in order to tackle widening income gaps that appear as a side-effect of skill-biased technological growth;

K.  whereas effective investment in quality education and training is a source of sustainable growth;

L.   whereas existing low levels of knowledge and basic skills are worrying and require primary and secondary education to deliver the necessary basis for further learning and integration in the labour market;

M.  whereas trends indicating low basic skills of adults make it necessary to reinforce adult learning, which is a tool for upskilling and reskilling;

N.   whereas in the 2014 Annual Growth Survey the Commission takes the view that in terms of expenditure, Member States need to find ways to protect or promote longer-term investment in education, research, innovation, energy and climate action, and that it is essential to invest in the modernisation of education and training systems, including lifelong learning;

O.   whereas public budgets remain under severe pressure, with several Member States having cut their education and training expenditure, and it is now necessary for further investments in this field to be made more efficient, as a decisive factor for productivity, competitiveness and growth;

P.  whereas, while there have been improvements in results associated with attaining the ET2020 higher education targets, concerns relating to efficiency of investments in education by the Member States, primary focus on quantitative indicators, teaching conditions, quality of learning, declining academic freedom, and scepticism concerning some aspects of the Bologna process and its implementation in some countries have been reported across the European Higher Education Area (EHEA);

Q.   whereas the ET2020 Monitor shows that the main challenge we face today is educational poverty and the poor inclusion of those with a low socio-economic background, necessitating a stronger social focus in order to reach the ET2020 targets and improve the inclusiveness and quality of education and training systems;

The ET2020 Strategic Framework

1.   Welcomes the ET2020 stocktaking exercise, and underlines the need to take its conclusions into account and promptly implement them in order to increase the added value and optimise the effectiveness of the framework, strengthening country-specific relevance and mutual learning;

2.   Regrets that huge problems in terms of quality, accessibility and socio-economic discrimination still remain unsolved in education and training, and believes that more ambitious, coordinated and effective policy actions at both European and national level should be delivered;

3.   Reiterates the importance of the Declaration on promoting citizenship and the common values of freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination through education, adopted in Paris in March 2015;

4.   Welcomes the narrowing of the number of ET2020 priority areas to six enumerating specific issues from which Member States can choose to fulfil accordingly their own needs and conditions, but notes that the effectiveness and the operational aspect of ET2020 need to be enhanced and a work programme adopted;

5.   Welcomes the proposed extension of the work cycle from 3 years to 5, in order to better implement the long-term strategic goals and work on issues such as underachievement of pupils in some study fields, low participation rates in adult learning, early school leaving, social inclusion, civic engagement, gender gaps and employability rates of graduates;

6.   Welcomes the new generation of ET2020 Working Groups, and calls on the Commission to improve the representation of different stakeholders in those groups, notably by including more education experts, youth workers, representatives of civil society, teachers and faculty members whose experience on the ground is essential to achieving the ET2020 goals; stresses the need for better dissemination of the groups’ deliverables at local, regional, national and EU level;

7.   Welcomes the strengthening of the steering role of informal bodies within ET2020, as well as the creation of feedback loops linking the High Level Group, the Director-General groupings and the Working Groups; acknowledges the role civil society organisations play in reaching out to local, regional and national stakeholders and citizens on European cooperation in education and training, and calls for them to receive financial support under Erasmus+ (KA3) and the European Social Fund;

8.   Calls for the setting-up of an informal coordination body which would include the Director-General of the Commission’s DG for Education and Culture (DG EAC), the Directors responsible for education in other DGs, representatives of civil society, of social partners and of Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education, and would hold high-level meetings to ensure closer coordination of work, policy coherence and the follow-up of recommendations issued by formal and informal ET2020 bodies; believes that such coordination is necessary owing to concerns about lack of genuine dialogue between the Commission and civil society organisations and division of ET2020-related competences between several Commission DGs and Commissioners; calls for the conclusions of this work to be properly communicated, at both European and national level;

9.   Reiterates that, notwithstanding the importance of acquiring employability skills, the value, quality and practical use of knowledge and academic rigour should be upheld; emphasises that given the Member States’ different socio-economic situation and diverse educational traditions, blanket prescriptive approaches must be avoided; underlines that the forthcoming European Skills Agenda, while rightly focusing on economic and employment challenges, should equally address the importance of subject knowledge, academic performance, critical thinking and creativity; calls, at the same time, on the Member States to support initiatives in which students would be able to showcase their skills in front of the public and potential employers;

10.  Points out the risks linked with increasing radicalisation, violence, bullying and behavioural problems starting at the primary level; calls on the Commission to conduct research at EU level and present an overview of the situation in all Member States, indicating their response to such trends and whether or how Member States have included ethical, personal and social education in their curricula as an instrument that has so far proved to be successful in many schools, including support for teachers with regards to those horizontal skills; encourages the Member States to share best practices in this area;

11.   Points out the value of a community-based approach to formal, non-formal and informal education and of strong links between learning settings and families;

12.   Calls for the wider participation of all relevant actors in the work of ET2020;

13.  Is of the opinion that learners themselves must be encouraged to actively participate in the governance of their learning structures, at all ages and in all types of learning;

14.   Encourages Member States to strengthen ties between higher education and VET, research institutions and the economic sector, and to ensure involvement of social partners and civil society; notes that this partnership will enhance the impact of ET2020 and the relevance of learning systems to increasing Europe’s innovation capacity;

15.   Stresses that school-parent communication strategies, character education and other personal development programmes implemented in learning settings in cooperation with families and other relevant social partners can contribute to upward social convergence, promotion of active citizenship and European values as enshrined in the Treaties, and the prevention of radicalisation; underlines that a supportive home environment is crucial in shaping children’s proficiency in basic skills, and points to the value of courses for parents which can prove effective in countering educational poverty;

16.  Encourages the exchange of best practices within the ET2020 framework;

17.   Stresses that cooperation through ET2020 fundamentally complements national measures such as learning from one another, data gathering, working groups and exchanges of good national practices, which will be reinforced by means of improvements in their transparency and coordination and dissemination of their results;

18.   Stresses the role of external associations and NGOs in entering schools to provide children with additional skills and social competences, such as arts or manual activities, and in helping integration, better understanding of their environment, solidarity in learning and living, and easing up the learning competences of whole classes;

19.   Is concerned at the fact that the quality of teacher education and training is lagging behind in some Member States in terms of range and complexity, with regard to competences that are necessary for teaching today such as dealing with growing diversity of learners, use of innovative pedagogies and ICT tools;

20.  Encourages Member States to adapt their initial teacher training and continuous in-service development programmes, to make better use of peer-learning activities between Member States, and to promote cooperation and partnerships between teacher training colleges and schools;

21.  Welcomes the new ET2020 priority of improving support for teachers and raising their status, which is essential for them to be able to command the necessary respect, thus making their profession more attractive; is of the opinion that fulfilment of this objective would require better preparation and training of teachers and improving their conditions of work, including increasing salaries in some Member States, given that teachers often earn less than the average wage of higher education graduates;

22.  Notes with concern that in some Member States, especially in countries that are in difficulty, teacher preparation and quality of education have deteriorated as a result of staff shortages and cuts in education;

23.  Points out that the provision of open and innovative education and training is a priority area in ET 2020; highlights the importance of developing and promoting innovation and flexibility in teaching, learning and knowledge transfer methods in which individuals are active participants;

24.  Encourages the Member States to make full use of potential offered by digitalisation, ICTs and new technologies, including open data platforms and MOOCs, in order to improve the quality and accessibility of learning and teaching; calls on the EU and the Member States to make the necessary efforts to enhance digital and ICT competences, also by means of organising specific training in the use of these instruments for teachers and students at school and university level; encourages the exchange of best practices and enhanced cross-border cooperation in this area;

25.   Applauds the attention paid by the Commission to the importance of digital skills; underlines that to equip young people for the 21st century these skills are essential;

26.  Underscores that the issue of raising learning outcomes relative to resources available should receive greater attention within the ET2020 framework, particularly with regard to adult learning;

27.  Encourages the Commission and the Member States to review the existing rules for the evaluation of education and training programmes funded by European financial instruments, focusing more on quality-based impact assessment and on results in relation to observed ET2020 priorities;

28.   Calls on the Member States to support, through scholarships and loans, those educational and study paths whose structure would help to bridge the gap between education and practical needs;

29.  Stresses the need for better concentration of efforts in the area of education and training through merging and streamlining existing programmes and initiatives;

30.   Calls on the Commission, where appropriate, to treat minority groups as separate and discrete in order to better respond to the respective problems facing each group;

31.   Strongly believes that investing in early childhood education and care (ECEC), appropriately tailored to the sensitivity and maturity level of each target group, brings greater returns than investing in any other stage of education; points out that investing in the early years of education has been proven to reduce later costs;

32.  Believes that the success of education at all levels depends on well-trained teachers, and on their continually advancing professional training, thus requiring sufficient investment in teacher training;

Quality of education and training

33.   Calls for greater attention to be devoted to the quality of education, starting in the kindergarten and throughout life;

34.   Calls for the development of good practices in assessing qualitative progress and investment in the use of quality data with stakeholders at local, regional and national level, notwithstanding the relevance of the indicators and benchmarks used in the ET2020 framework;

35.  Highlights the importance of teaching and learning general basic skills such as ICT, maths, critical thinking, foreign languages, mobility, etc, which will enable young people to easily adapt to the changing social and economic environment;

36.  Notes the unprecedented numbers of learners involved in formal education; expresses concern that the level of youth unemployment in the EU remains high and the employment rate of higher education graduates has decreased;

37.  Stresses that the benchmark goals concerning education and training set in the Europe 2020 strategy, including, notably, reducing the early school leaving rate to below 10 % and achieving a figure of 40% of the younger generation with a tertiary degree, should not be met at the expense of quality in education, but, rather, should be fulfilled by taking into account the first ET2020 goal of ‘relevant and high-quality skills and competences’; notes that one way of achieving this is through the development of dual education projects;

38.  Draws attention to the fact that standardised tests and quantitative approaches to educational accountability measure at best a narrow range of traditional competences, and may result in schools having to adapt teaching syllabi to test material, thus neglecting the intrinsic values of education; points out that education and training have an important role in developing ethical and civil virtues and humanness, whereas teachers’ work and students’ achievements in this area are overlooked by test scores; highlights in this regard the need for flexibility, innovation and creativity in educational settings which can boost learning quality and educational attainment;

39.   Stresses the need to develop basic skills in order to achieve quality education;

40.   Emphasises the importance of providing high-quality early childhood education and of its timely modernisation; emphasises the crucial role of an individual-centred approach in education and training systems which benefits the development of creativity and critical thinking while focusing on students´ personal interests, needs and abilities;

41.  Calls on the Member States to channel investment into inclusive education which responds to societal challenges with regard to ensuring equal access and opportunities for all; stresses that quality education and training, including lifelong learning opportunities and programmes to tackle all forms of discrimination, economic and social inequalities and the causes of exclusion are essential to improving social cohesion and the lives of young people who suffer from disadvantages socially and economically, as well as those from minority groups, and highlights the need for continued efforts in reducing their early school leaving;

42.  Calls for greater inclusiveness in education and training to cater for people with disabilities or with special needs, and at the same time urges that teacher training be improved so as to equip teachers with the skills to be able to include, integrate and assist students with disabilities;

43.  Highlights that the side-effects of the Bologna process and student mobility should be examined and evaluated; encourages Member States to make a greater effort to meet the objectives and to ensure the implementation of reforms agreed on within the framework of the Bologna process and mobility programmes, and to commit themselves to working together more effectively in order to correct their imperfections, so that they better reflect the needs of students and the academic community as a whole, and stimulate and support improvements to the quality of higher education;

44.  Advocates broader involvement of the university community in the ET2020 work cycle;

45.   Notes that the Bologna process has spearheaded significant achievements, and takes the view that educational institutions should apply flexibility when using modules and the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS);

46.  Welcomes efforts to increase enrolment in STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), but not at the expense of the humanities, which are indispensable in making proper use of the opportunities presented by STEM disciplines;

47.  Highlights that producing financial output should not be a prerequisite for all academic activities and in this regard calls for efforts to ensure that the humanities do not risk being wiped off the research landscape;

48.  Advocates a more holistic view which emphasises the importance of a variety of disciplines in education and research;

49.  Advocates a shift to conceiving mobility programmes in terms of qualitative outcomes that respond to priorities and serve established learning and training objectives; calls for the proper implementation of the proposals of the European Quality Charter for Mobility and for better use of all tools available to prepare students for the right type of mobility they would need; encourages Member States to fully exploit the potential of internationalisation at home in order to give students who prefer not to participate in outbound mobility an international dimension during their studies;

50.  Reaffirms the need to ensure accessibility of mobility opportunities, especially in vocational training, for disadvantaged young people and people suffering from different forms of discrimination; stresses the important role of mobility programmes such as Erasmus+ in stimulating the development of transversal skills and competences among young people; highlights the need for reinforcement of the Renewed European Agenda for adult learning;

51.  Stresses the importance of an overall framework of recognition of qualifications and diplomas as key in ensuring cross-border educational and labour mobility;

52.  Calls for greater efforts in the validation of non-formal and informal learning, including voluntary services, and for the development of recognition instruments for digitally acquired knowledge and competences;

53.  Notes that particular attention should be given to simplifying and rationalising existing EU instruments on skills and qualifications directed to the wider public, in order to strengthen outreach in line with the results of the Commission survey conducted in 2014 on the ‘European Area of Skills and Qualifications’;

Migration and education

54.  Stresses that the challenges posed to education and training systems by intra- and extra-European migration and the current refugee and humanitarian crisis should be addressed at European, national and regional level;

55.  Highlights that failure to provide migrants, refugees and asylum seekers with education and training will negatively influence their future employability, their development of knowledge of their host country’s cultural and social values, and, ultimately, their integration and contribution to society;

56.  Calls for better cooperation between EU and national authorities in order to find the right approach to swiftly, fully and sustainably integrating refugees and migrants into education and training systems;

57.  Welcomes the decision to mainstream migrant education across the work of the ET2020 Working Groups and to hold respective peer-learning activities in their initial lifespan;

58.   Emphasises the need for Member States’ education ministries and the Commission’s DG EAC to cooperate in order to ensure equal access to high-quality education, particularly by reaching out to the most disadvantaged and to people with diverse backgrounds, including newly arrived migrants, and integrating them into a positive learning environment;

59.  Calls for measures to integrate intra- and extra- European migrant, refugee and asylum seeker children into education and training systems and to help them adjust to the curricula and learning standards of the host Member State by supporting innovative learning methods and providing children with language, and if needed, social assistance, as well as enabling them to become familiar with the host country’s culture and values whilst preserving their own cultural heritage;

60.  Encourages Member States to look at the possibilities of integrating migrant teachers and academics into European education systems and to putting their language and teaching skills and experience to good use;

61.  Recommends that Member States and educational providers offer advice and support for migrant, refugee and asylum seeker children seeking to access education services through the provision of clear information and visible contact points;

62.  Expresses its concern at the fact that half of teacher trainers in OECD countries feel that teacher training systems do not sufficiently prepare them to handle diversity effectively, and encourages the Member States concerned to guarantee ongoing professional support for teachers in this field, equipping them with the necessary pedagogical competencies on the topics of migration and acculturation and enabling them to utilise diversity as a rich source for learning in classrooms; advocates better utilisation of the potential of peer-learning activities among Member States;

63.  Supports the idea of setting up helpdesks and guidelines for teachers offering them timely support in handling various types of diversity in a positive way and promoting intercultural dialogue in the classroom, as well as guidance when confronted with students at risk of being radicalised;

64.  Calls for the creation of differentiated synergies between the ET2020 Working Groups and networks such as the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) Working Group on Education;

65.  Calls for the establishment of the relevant Expert Group as provided for in the European Union Work Plan for Youth for 2016-2018;

66.  Stresses the need for more language-based learning programmes;

67.  Calls on the Member States to make efforts to swiftly develop and implement mechanisms for improving the understanding and identification of the qualifications of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, since many entering the EU come with no proof of their formal qualifications;

68.  Calls on the Member States to examine how existing forms of recognition of professional qualification might be developed, including appropriate education background checks;

69.  elieves that non-formal and informal learning has the potential to be an effective tool for the successful integration of refugees into the labour market and society;

70.  Highlights the important role of non-formal and informal learning, as well as participation in sports and volunteer activities, in stimulating the development of civic, social and intercultural competences; emphasises the fact that some countries have made significant progress in developing relevant legal frameworks, while others have difficulties in creating comprehensive validation strategies; stresses, therefore, the need of developing comprehensive strategies to enable validation;

71.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to facilitate measures for migrant, refugee and asylum seeker students enrolling at university level, without prejudice to national rules and competences on access to education and training; welcomes the initiatives adopted in this regard by a number of European universities, and encourages the exchange of best practices in this field;

72.  Calls for the creation of ‘education corridors’ which will enable students who are refugees or come from conflict zones to enrol at European universities, including for distance learning;

73.   Calls on the Member States to facilitate enrolment of migrant students at all educational levels;

74.  Considers that the Science4Refugees programme should be evaluated and, if necessary, further developed; advocates support at EU and national level for non-profit institutions providing assistance to migrant, refugee and asylum seeker academics in science and other professional areas;

75.  Notes that the ‘brain drain’ poses risks for Member States, especially those in central/eastern and southern Europe, where an increasing number of young graduates are being driven to emigrate; expresses concern at the failure of the ET2020 Working Groups to adequately address the concept of unbalanced mobility, and stresses the need to tackle the problem at national and EU level;

76.  Stresses the crucial role of education and training in the empowerment of women in all spheres of life; emphasises the need to tackle gender gaps and to recognise the particular needs of young women by including the gender perspective in ET 2020; stresses that, as equality between men and women is one of the EU’s founding values, there is a need for all educational institutions to endorse and implement this principle among their students, with the aim of fostering tolerance, non-discrimination, active citizenship, social cohesion and intercultural dialogue;

77.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1)

OJ C 119, 28.5.2009, p. 2.

(2)

OJ C 70, 8.3.2012, p. 9.

(3)

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?qid=1462876140944&uri=CELEX:52015DC0408

(4)

OJ C 417, 15.12.2015, p. 25.

(5)

OJ C 372, 20.12.2011, p. 31.

(6)

OJ C 327, 4.12.2010, p. 11.

(7)

OJ C 64, 5.3.2013, p. 5.

(8)

OJ C 183, 14.6.2014, p. 22.

(9)

OJ C 183, 14.6.2014, p. 30.

(10)

OJ C 17, 20.1.2015, p. 2.

(11)

OJ C 172, 27.5.2015, p. 17.

(12)

OJ C 417, 15.12.2015, p. 36.

(13)

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?qid=1389778594543&uri=CELEX:52012DC0669

(14)

OJ C 398, 22.12.2012, p. 1.

(15)

OJ L 394, 30.12.2006, p. 10.

(16)

http://ec.europa.eu/education/news/2015/documents/citizenship-education-declaration_en.pdf

(17)

http://ec.europa.eu/education/policy/vocational-policy/doc/2015-riga-conclusions_en.pdf

(18)

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52008DC0423&from=de

(19)

http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/documents/thematic_reports/125en.pdf

(20)

OJ L 394, 30.12.2006, p. 5.

(21)

http://ec.europa.eu/education/tools/docs/university-business-forum-brussels_en.pdf

(22)

http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/3052_en.pdf

(23)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0292.

(24)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0107.

(25)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0418.

(26)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0107.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

The stocktaking evaluation exercise of the ET2020 framework was conducted by the Commission in cooperation with the Member States in 2014. A number of the recommendations made by the stakeholders were taken on board by the Commission and the Council with a view to increasing added value and optimising the effectiveness of the framework. It is worth highlighting that the Joint Report released by the Commission and the Council in November 2015 addresses the problem of the complex landscape of ET2020 which has not always been clearly understood by some participants or by parts of the wider community. The role of informal governance bodies was strengthened and feedback loops were set up between the Working Groups and Directorates-General or High-Level Groups. Some Member States should still improve the way in which they interact with formal and informal structures by ensuring that the right people are sent to the right meetings and that a minimal use is made of substitutes.

In line with the stakeholders’ recommendations in December 2015, the Commission defined the mandates of the new generation of Working Groups by outlining the working structure and results to be attained. It is critical that Working Groups comprise diverse stakeholders with expertise relevant to the specifics of each body and therefore information about the public call for application for membership should be disseminated among European-level stakeholder associations. It is equally important that independent educational experts are more broadly involved in the work of the Working Groups and other ET2020 bodies. Close dialogue between the Commission, the Members States and educational stakeholders is necessary and should take place by way of regular consultation and coordination meetings to ensure a genuine follow-up of recommendations developed by civil-society gatherings on education. During a new working cycle, deliverables of European and national initiatives in training and education should be better communicated and disseminated to allow key messages to reach a wider audience and to cater for knowledge exchange.

Education and training are important in helping people to acquire the knowledge and professional skills they need to become competitive and innovative employees. Moreover, they could play important role in nurturing open-minded, empathic, inquiring human beings and responsible citizens with a strong sense of identity, a deep knowledge of their culture and heritage, who recognise and honour European shared values. We should welcome the fact that the Paris Declaration of Education Ministers of 17 March 2015 was reflected in the Joint Report and that the recalibration of ET2020 has been done by putting on equal footing employability goals and the promotion of social cohesion, equality, non-discrimination and civic competences.

Over the past decade, the number of people entering formal education has soared but at the same time, Europe is still haunted by unprecedented levels of youth unemployment, affecting even graduates. Between 2011 and 2014, the EU-28 average unemployment rate increased most amongst those young people (aged 25-29) who had completed tertiary education (+12.9%). Efforts to cultivate knowledge economies and promote social inclusion were reflected in the twofold headline target of the Europe2020 strategy: one part sets a minimum threshold for education attainment; the other is concerned with expanding higher levels of education. Experts point out that one implication of mass participation in tertiary education is increasing inequality within education systems. As the system grows, the difference between the top and bottom education establishments in any country becomes greater with detrimental effects on quality of education, employability prospects of graduates and social cohesion. Reaching specific benchmarks in educational attainment should therefore be accompanied by a strong focus on improving the quality of education at all levels. Policy makers should also eschew the lure of artificial academisation of specific professions and forcing tertiary education rates, which is both counterproductive and represents a misuse of public funds.

The fact that support for educators has been identified as one of new priority areas of ET2020 is to be welcomed since the quality of teacher preparation and continuous professional development programs still lag behind the growing range and complexity of competences required for teaching nowadays. Special attention should be given to the needs of diverse types of learners such as those from ethnic or religious minorities, low-income children or children of migrant origin who are now the focus of renewed interest in the light of accelerated intra-European mobility and the ongoing refugee crisis.

Europe’s problems such as a widening income gap, cultural segregation, growing religious and political radicalisation on the right and left alike, the erosion of values and a growing sense of axiological disorientation cannot be tackled in a meaningful way without strengthening the links between schools and families and without recognising that it is parents who are primarily responsible for the education of their children. A supportive home environment can help not only to counter educational poverty, but also to offset the appeal of violent extremism among young people. It is important for parents as educators to serve as role models for children, to develop their moral and civic values, to create an open atmosphere at home, giving children responsibilities and allowing them to participate in a meaningful way in decisions that concern their own lives. The role of parents should be highlighted in the contemporary debate on education and they should receive adequate support in building the skills they need to embrace positive parenting. It is therefore of the upmost importance to involve parents associations in the work of ET2020 and foster exchange of good practices of school – families cooperation.

Reports published by the academic community have raised concerns that academics, who once felt generally positive about the Bologna Process, now have a more negative attitude about it. Worsening teaching conditions linked to bureaucratisation, a decrease in the quality of learning caused by the fragmentation of university programs and excessive focus on ‘competence’ in a narrow field of knowledge rather than immersion in a diverse range of academic studies, and most regrettably a decline in academic freedom is reported across the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). At the same time, employers complain about graduate skills and are critical of a new degree structure, pointing out that the duration of a Bachelor Degree is inadequate for meeting labour market needs. Significant problems caused by the harmonising education practices across Europe should not be disregarded in any appraisal of the positive outcomes of the Bologna Process, but should be addressed with urgency by policy makers. There should be a particular focus on resolving the issue of the rigid translation of weekly hours into ECTS points, the lack of recognition of the Bachelor Degree as a professional qualification, the burden of applying skyrocketing numbers of regulations.

The Erasmus mobility programme is a great achievement in European cooperation in education, which allowed 272 000 students and 57 500 staff in 2013-2014 alone to benefit from the knowledge and expertise of institutions abroad, to explore new cultures and to develop their transversal skills and language abilities. At the same time, research on the determinants of international student mobility shows that Erasmus student mobility is arguably driven more by consumption motives, as illustrated by the significant attraction of countries with warmer climate, which casts some doubt on whether the academic objectives behind the inception of the programme are being achieved. Experts stress that transfers between mediocre universities do not lead to academic excellence and could moreover be detrimental to the quality of education and training, and even to perceptions of mobility, and they have therefore called for a qualitative shift in mobility policies which would encourage that kind of mobility closely related to learning objectives.

Accelerated intra-European mobility and the ongoing refugee crisis have created significant challenges for national education and training systems. Classrooms today are more diverse than ever, including students who need additional assistance in adapting to new curricula, academic requirements, teaching methods and often also a new language and cultural norms. Teachers require additional support, at the level of initial teacher training and throughout their careers by way of continuous professional development courses, to enable them to teach children of migrant origin effectively in order to facilitate their integration into the host society and at the same time to encourage the preservation and development of their cultural heritage. Profound gaps exist in terms of educational poverty between native-born and foreign-born students (underachievement in reading skills: 30.7% versus 16.2%; maths: 36.3% versus 20.5%; science: 29.9% versus 15.1%) and the correlation between underachievement and the socio-economic status of migrant parents indicates that a wide range of policy actions are required, including language assistance and parental guidance. It should be emphasised that Member States’ success in reducing achievement gaps between first- and second-generation immigrants varies significantly, which suggests that in some countries the integration of students from migrants background is fairly successful, whereas in other countries there is little progress being made between the first and second generations. Using the ET2020 framework to share examples of good practice between countries who have historic experience in handling diversity and those for whom migration flows are a new experience would bring the added value of European cooperation to education. The potential of countries peer counselling – a new instrument of ET2020 cooperation – should not be overlooked.

Urgent measures are therefore required at national and European levels, also within the ET2020 framework, in the field of education and training for adult asylum seekers who have recently arrived in Europe. Education is key to integration and employability, and failure on the part of national systems to meet this challenge may provoke a deepening of social divisions and cultural segregation, and hence intensify the already existing tendency for parallel societies to form. It is also important to prevent the brain loss or brain waste of highly skilled migrants both for their own sake and for the sake of host countries.

A Commission decision to ensure horizontal coverage of migration in all Working Group mandates and to carry out peer learning activities identifying good practices for the effective integration of migrants at an early stage in the lifetime of the Working Groups would be a commendable measure.


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

26.4.2016

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

22

3

3

Members present for the final vote

Isabella Adinolfi, Dominique Bilde, Andrea Bocskor, Nikolaos Chountis, Silvia Costa, Jill Evans, María Teresa Giménez Barbat, Giorgos Grammatikakis, Petra Kammerevert, Andrew Lewer, Svetoslav Hristov Malinov, Stefano Maullu, Luigi Morgano, Momchil Nekov, Michaela Šojdrová, Yana Toom, Helga Trüpel, Sabine Verheyen, Julie Ward, Bogdan Brunon Wenta, Bogdan Andrzej Zdrojewski, Milan Zver, Krystyna Łybacka

Substitutes present for the final vote

Therese Comodini Cachia, Mary Honeyball, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Martina Michels, Jadwiga Wiśniewska


FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

22

+

ALDE

Maria Teresa Giménez Barbat, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Yana Toom

ECR

Jadwiga Wiśniewska

ENF

Dominique Bilde

PPE

Andrea Bocskor, Therese Comodini Cachia , Svetoslav Hristov Malinov, Stefano Maullu, Michaela Šojdrová, Sabine Verheyen, Bogdan Brunon Wenta, Bogdan Andrzej Zdrojewski, Milan Zver

S&D

Silvia Costa, Giorgos Grammatikakis, Mary Honeyball, Petra Kammerevert, Krystyna Łybacka, Luigi Morgano, Momchil Nekov, Julie Ward

3

-

EFDD

Isabella Adinolfi

Verts/ALE

Jill Evans, Helga Trüpel

3

0

ECR

Andrew Lewer

GUE/NGL

Nikolaos Chountis, Martina Michels

Key to symbols:

+  :  in favour

-  :  against

0  :  abstention

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