Your opportunity to influence the Key Competences framework in the EU

The European Commission has launched a public consultation which will run until 19 May 2017. This is part of a process within the Skills Agenda, aiming at boosting human capital in Europe and updating EU - and subsequently hopefully also national - policies to make one more attempt to modernise education in Europe so that it supports what is necessary for learners' success. The review and update of the 2006 Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning is part of this process and the public consultation is the opportunity for your voice to be heard on European level. EPA has been active in the process and will submit its own contribution, but all readers of our blog, especially our national members are encouraged to do so, too.


Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD)

The Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) supports EU countries' actions to provide material assistance to the most deprived. EPA was invited to find ways to cooperate and our representative, Herminio Correa is working on finding ways to offer additional support by national parents associations in the form of empowerment to complement material contributions offered by FEAD. Read this short report and feel free to contact us if you want to join support action.

FEAD support includes food, clothing and other essential items for personal use, e.g. shoes, soap and shampoo. Material assistance needs to go hand in hand with social inclusion measures, such as guidance and support to help people out of poverty.
National authorities may also support non-material assistance to the most deprived people, to help them integrate better into society.

In real terms, over €3.8 billion are earmarked for the FEAD for the 2014-2020 periodsIn addition, EU countries are to contribute at least 15% in national co-financing to their national programme.

FEAD support will help people take their first steps out of poverty and social exclusion. and will also help the most deprived people by addressing their most basic needs, which is a precondition for them to be able to get a job or follow a training course such as those supported by the ESF.
To date, five sessions have been held, four of which were for the presentation of good practices on the ground. EPA has accompanied all these sessions and will in due course present to all its members a proposal for a intervention and collaboration project with the NGOs of the European countries.

Follow this link to consult a summary of the FEAD case studies 2016, presented so far.


New scientific tool to analyse the inclusiveness of education systems embraces EPA advocacy messages

Professor Paul Downes and his team has just published a scientific paper setting up an exhaustive set of structural indicators to measure the inclusiveness of systems in and around schools on different vertical levels and local. Inclusion is key to making Europe more successful in educating lifelong learners who are equipped for future challenges and can also cope with the present. Professor Downes, one of the speakers of our conference in Dubrovnik in April 2016, shares our thoughts about the importance of fully engaging both parents and students of all ages as the only means to achieve this successfully. We were consulted as experts during the development of the indicators, and we are proud to see that our comments were not only taken into account, but the paper refers to and openly embraces EPA advocacy messages, becoming the first official European Commission document referencing our Manifesto 2015. The publication offers assessment tools for use on national policy and also on institutional (school) level. It is free to be downloaded from here.


3rd Global School Play Day - 1 February

Global School Play Day is taking place for the third time on 1 February 2017 raising awareess of the importance of unstructured play in life, especially in childrens'. In the introduction to the event its website calls the attention of educators to Peter Gray's TEDx lecture, that clearly argues the case that today's kids do not grow up playing and this has negatively impacted them in many ways. It's time we return the gift of play to this generation. The right to play and playful learning have been high up on parents' agenda in Europe and becoming a hot topic for parents all over the world. This is why we are happy to share this initiative and suggest you try to make your childrens' school to join. And why not also put more emphasis on play at home on the day?


Conference on the EU Pillar of Social Rights

The European Commission organised an high level conference following the adoption of a report on the European Pillar of Social Rights in Brussels on 23 January 2017. The event was designed to highlight the commitment of Jean-Claude Juncker to establishing the Social Pillar of the EU, or more precisely of the Euro Zone for the time being. Social Platform members, including EPA were invited, but were offered little space, for example there were only representatives of other social partners, employers and trade unions in the closing panel. However, the commitment was made absolutely clear by the fact that 9 EU Commissioners, Members of the European Parliament, leaders of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the Committee of Regions (CoR), UNESCO, OECD, the European Central Bank and several national ministers attended and contributed to the event that concluded with the first public speech by the new President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani and President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.


Survey on good practices and quality of Childcare Centres

A survey for parents and practitioners working at child care centres/nurseries is being held as part of a Erasmus+ project entitled "SEQUENCES – Self and external Evaluation of QUality in EUrope to Nourish Childhood Education Services" funded by the European Commission that EPA is a partner in. This project aims to respond to the need to improve the quality of ECEC services through the creation of evaluation tools. The survey ends on 15th March 2017. Please respond according to your knowledge and your own personal experience.Click here to start the survey: https://goo.gl/forms/F5A2a3CCcqatEWnf2.


VET a choice or a punishment? - Report on the European Vocational Skills Week

Over two days, 500 people from different European countries discussed the importance of Vocational Skills in Education and Training of young people today. Entrepreneurs, trainers and young people presented examples of good practice across Europe. But one question came up: Is vocational education a choice or a punishment?

Parents still continue to consider that their children should choose a university course. For them vocational training is always a second choice. The main reason for it is that many schools in Europe, when their pupils have poor results, do not show interest and they repeatedly bump, compulsively oblige them to attend a vocational training. This type of behavior is more visible in the South than in northern Europe. That is why often the vocational path is interpreted as a punishment.