How to empower parents for a better quality of childhood – EPA co-organised talk in the European Parliament

Professor Ramon Flecha (CREA, University of Barcelona) gave a Quality of Childhood talk on 8 November in the European Parliament on scientifically evidenced methods to empower parents to become more successful educators. This was a major event for EPA to raise awareness of the importance of empowering parents, and also to raise awareness about EPA among MEPs. The event was hosted by MEP István Újhelyi (S&D, Hungary, member of the Lifelong Learning Interest Group of the EP). It was the 61st talk, the first ever to be co-hosted by EPA, and has been for 2 years in the pipeline.

Our host MEP Újhelyi called the attention of the audience, including professionals as well as people from the EP, to the importance of investing in children and empowering parents as part of this investment. To invest in an equitable way can not only decrease child poverty at present, but also help preventing the recreation of poverty of forthcoming generations.


A child rights perspective on parental involvement and child participation

This paper was prepared for school heads and assistant heads participating at a school leadership training, but it may also be useful for all parents and teachers for designing a rights-based participatory system in their schools. It also contains some child rights aspects to be considered generally in education, some of them often violated, a couple of them are regularly violated on the basis of false assumptions on responsibility or out of ignorance. With 20 November, the day we celebrate the rights of the child, approaching, it seems to be a timely publication. The logo illustrating the article is awarded to schools respecting the rights of the child. There is a lot to be done to achieve that.


Helping to overcome the challenges parents (and teachers) face in the digital age

DLearn, The European Digital Learning Network asked EPA to contribute to their website, that we did, by an article entitled Helping to overcome the challenges parents (and teachers) face in the digital age. It is hopefully the first step in collaboration for a Europe prepared for the digital age, with special focus on parents and children from our side.

DLearn aims to embrace the challenges brought by the digital transformation in terms of digital skills mismatch and digital learning opportunities. The 47% of Europeans is not properly digitally skilled, yet in the near future 90% of jobs will require some level of digital skills and numerous opportunities in terms of jobs that are going to shape the labour market.


Integrating refugees and migrants through education

The Lifelong Learning Platform has published a new policy paper on integrating refugees and migrants through education as a means to build bridges in divided societies. EPA, very much in line with the work we are currently doing to support the inclusion of migrant parents, has contributed to the paper, especially on the need to empower all educators, to involve parents and to have a school leadership approach for achieving this in formal education. Migration internal and external, the refugees, inclusion and integration are hot topics in the EU and nearly all member states, so this is a very timely communication.


What are young children telling us? - Think about school segregation from a totally different angle

The Serbian member of EPA, Pomoc Deci organised a very interesting event in Belgrade in the middle of September 2016 with participants from Balkan countries, Albania, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro as well as Northern Ireland. While the event had an early childhood focus, EPA was offered the opportunity to give our views on parental involvement and child participation with special focus on peace-building, as well as to hold a totally interactive workshop on active European citizenship on school level. This was also a great opportunity to pilot our ELICIT+ training material in an exciting context, the Balkans.

The most interesting presentation of the event was by Prof. Bojana Breneselovic from Belgrade University. The title of the conference was borrowed from her, and she made us change lenses and see segregation from a totally different angle. After listening to the presentation, you are likely to have realised that the younger your child is, the more likely it is they go to a segregated school. But to prove that, you need to understand what segregation really means according to the Oxford English Dictionary ‘the action or state of setting someone or something apart from others’.


Why are parents important? - Ask your teacher and publish the video on #ParentsAndSchools Day

On the second Tuesday of October, this year on 11 October, Europe celebrates the European Day of Parents and Schools since 2002. Initiated by the European Parents’ Association (EPA), this day is used to highlight the importance of parents and teachers working together for the benefit of children by parents’ organisations, often supported by their respective national Ministries of Education.

Parents’ associations gathered together in EPA want to use the occasion of #ParentsAndSchools Day to promote and advocate for the implementation of new policy messages by the European Commission published earlier this year on transforming schools to make them more attractive for students and families alike in order to achieve the EU2020 headline target of reducing early school leaving. These recommendations fundamentally build on the school community, parents, teachers and students taking ownership of learning by actively participating in transforming the school to meet the needs of today’s children as well as preparing them for the challenges of the 21st century.


A new Europe for people, planet and prosperity for all

Common statement by 177 European and national Civil Society Organisations and Trade Unions

177 civil society organizations and trade unions have adopted a common position demanding leaders fight back against populism, EPA among them. The initiative was a joint effort of Concorde, ETUC, EYF and WWF and asks the question of what is necessary to build the Europe we want and need. 

"Europe is at a crossroads, and the future of European cooperation and the benefits it brings are at stake. This is about the future of our society and how we want to be viewed by the wider world. The future of our planet and the kind of Europe our children will grow up in. The current crisis highlights the urgent need to reflect on fundamental questions: how do we ensure that the European project reclaims its promise of peace, democracy and solidarity? How can Europe work for its people?

Too many people across Europe are dissatisfied and disillusioned with the European Union and feel remote from its institutions and policies. But there are groups of committed politicians, trade unions, community groups and non-governmental organisations across Europe who are ready to take action and work for a renewed Europe. Together, we can shape a Europe that is inclusive, open, just, sustainable, and that works for people of all ages, social backgrounds and nations.

Where do we go from here to build the Europe we want and need?"

The civil society answer given includes
  • rejecting populism
  • tackling challenges together
  • working for better Europe, not less Europe
  • listening and engaging
  • making the case for Europe

Download the full statement from this link