CESI Youth members speak up on the European Education Area

After its ambitious November 2017 Communication on ‘Strengthening European identity through education and culture’, the European Commission released a so-called ‘Education Package’, of which a first part was published in early 2018 and a second set of initiatives was presented earlier this week on 22 May.
In the framework of the European Commission’s vision to create a European Education Area by 2025, first set out in the November 2017 Communication, CESI conducted an interview on this topic with two young teachers, representing two of its member organisations active in the education sector, namely Grégory Corps from France and Katarzyna Pawlaczyk from Poland. Grégory and Katarzyna are both teachers and both members, since November 30 2017, of the Board of the CESI Youth.

In a first reaction, what does or should a “European Education Area” mean? In your view, what could the EU do or provide as tools, to help teachers on the ground to implement or take part in this “common area”?

Gregory: The European Union is legitimate to deal with all education-related issues. I will not address the Sorbonne process neither the Commission’s definition. However, it seems important to me to take into account all know-how and methods from all EU countries in order to share good teaching practices. This idea of a forum for dialogue should be implemented. The framework of a European area of education and of exchange of good practices would enable all education actors to elaborate common tools.

For example, we could elaborate tools to strengthen European identity (democracy, law, peace) to fight against radicalism and Euro-skepticism.

The pooling of tools or good practices on the shaping of the European identity of young people should serve both the improvement of working conditions of teachers and the success of students.

Katarzyna: The European Area should mean a kind of web consisting of European systems of education. Although each system is different, they should be connected by certain common values and aims of the whole European education.

It is said that young people are our future, so the European Union should do its best to help those young people find themselves in the European area. Today’s world is changing very fast, and very often national systems of education are outdated, adjusted to reforms implemented 10 or more years ago. Even if it is not the role of the EU to interfere in national systems of education, it should make it easier and possible for students to make their own decisions about their educational goals, both in their countries of origin and abroad. As a result, the European Education Area should create a kind of “European system of education” in which every young man or woman could find their own place.

When speaking about teachers, what is the most important is that they should be given the feeling of appreciation from their national government and the society for the whole responsibility of their job. What is more and goes after this, remuneration of teachers should be higher (at least in many EU countries) and national governments should spend more money on education, didactic material and classroom equipment.

Click here to read the full interview.

Grégory Corps is a 32-year-old French teacher. He teaches History and Geography at a secondary school in Grenoble. He is also union leader at the academic level and a member of the social commission of CESI’s French member SNALC/CSEN. Katarzyna Pawlaczyk is a 33-year-old Polish teacher. She has been teaching English in a resocialisation institution (closed boarding school) for 10 years. This school teaches girls aged 13-18 with challenging social backgrounds. Katarzyna isan active trade unionist in CESI’s Polish member organisation WZZ Solidarność – Oświata.

Note: The points of view raised in this interview are of personal nature and do not necessarily reflect official positions of CESI or CESI Youth.

Picture: The CESI Youth Board. Katarzyna 5th and Grégory 9th from the right © CESI 2018