More than ever before, education is a key issue on the agenda of all political decision makers. It is a stated objective of the European Commission to help close gaps between education systems and the labour markets in Europe. At the same time, some young people continue to fall victim to radicalisation and radical political parties are on the rise in Europe – a stark reminder that merely training the future workers of Europe is insufficient: Future responsible citizens must also be formed.
Over two days, the Europe Academy, CESI’s internal training and capacity-building centre, addressed this challenge with the help of contributions of speakers from the European Commission, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop). In panel discussions, participants discussed data and information on education and teaching in Europe, the role of teachers in the future European Education Area 2025, the scope of the European Semester in national education policies and the importance of investments in education and quality working and employment conditions for teachers. Case studies were presented on education experiences in Finland, Spain and the Netherlands. The symposium culminated in the development of a “Teachers’ Manifesto: Horizon 2025” which CESI will be publish next year.
In his opening address, CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger outlined the two major challenges today’s education is facing, the digital revolution of our economic, social, professional and personal lives and the acceleration and radicalisation of our discourse culture. “The digital revolution is happening and for now it is bringing more questions than answers. What is certain is that the education of the future should provide young students not only with the necessary professional and digital skills but also equip them with a solid set of knowledge and give a base for the development of values, to enable them to become tolerant and responsible citizens. We are very glad that we had an opportunity once again to gather our members and exchange views on these emerging challenges of the future. The positive feedback we received from our members gives us confidence on the value of our Europe Academy as an important trade union platform to exchange ideas and network with partners”, he said.
This conference was part of a broader project of the Europe Academy on “Education Professionals and Trade Unions: Horizon 2025”, co-financed by the European Commission, to help teachers and their trade unions develop European responses to better cope with common future professional challenges.
CESI has been running Europe Academy training and capacity building projects for many years with the objective to inform and engage its member trade union network on specific aspects of European policies and measures, in view of a better ownership of EU-level developments and stronger and more informed interest representation at the European and national levels.
Picture: At the Europe Academy symposium in Lisbon © CESI 2018