9/24/2016

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’.

9/23/2016

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.

9/13/2016

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
   

9/09/2016

Seeds for Integration

A new initiative by OBESSU to build bridges between migrant children and their peers in secondary schools

New large-scale programmes are being developed and carried out to support migrants' inclusion by a group of EU-level organisations, EPA being one of them. One of the partners, OBESSU, in order to encourage building bridges between migrant children and their peers in secondary schools, decided to launch the project Seeds for Integration. The main idea is to provide small, medium and large seed-grants to secondary school student unions and councils, or - in case there is no student council in the school - to independent groups representing the school’s students, to come up with creative initiatives around the topic of educational inclusion of migrant and refugee children. Read on to learn more about the initiative, and inform secondary school students who would be interested in it.

We will share information on all other projects, including our own, in this cooperation, made possible with the financial support of Open Society Foundation. Follow the EPA blog for new initiatives.

9/06/2016

Agenda 2030 - Child Rights and Sustainable Development Goals

UNICEF has recently developed a publication mapping of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). It highlights the connections and synergies between the two documents, allowing the reader to jump between each Global Goal and each Convention article.

It takes a detailed, yet deliberately broad, interpretation of the Global Goals and the Convention, highlighting for users the connections between the two frameworks, so as to reinforce their potential for advocacy and implementation. It will therefore be an invaluable tool for both UNICEF and external partners, as they advocate for both CRC and SDG implementation over the coming years. To reinforce the links in both directions, it is divided into two sections: The first part identifies relevant CRC articles for each Global Goal and their targets. The second part lists the goals and targets for each CRC article. By clicking, the reader can jump between goals and articles in a simple and user friendly way.

7/09/2016

New Skills Agenda launched

On 20 June the European Commission organised a high-level event to launch the New Skills Agenda for Europe to boost human capital, employability and competitiveness, adopted on 10 June 2016. EPA was represented at the event by Vice President Janko Korosec.
On 10 June, European Commissioners Thyssen and Katainen announced the adoption of a new and comprehensive Skills Agenda for Europe, that was officially launched at the Brussels event. The aim of this new policy framework is to ensure that the right training, skills and support is available to European Union citizens and to equip them for good-quality jobs and help them fulfil their potential as confident, active citizens. According to the communication of the EC it will ultimately boost employability, competitiveness and growth in Europe. The agenda includes provisions for non-EU citizens and their inclusion in education and the labour market.

6/28/2016

Fragmented notes brought home from the Fundamental Rights Forum

The EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) organised the first European Fundamental Rights Forum in Vienna on 20-23 June 2016. The event brought together about 700 people from and beyond Europe from policy, practice, governments, civil society, research, arts and several other fields. The organisers did the huge job of discussing the issues of inclusion, the refugee crisis and digital challenges on a human rights basis by providing the organisers with an enormous amount of food for thought as well as opportunities for networking and discussion.

The following paragraphs are not intended to be a full report, but rather a collection of a few thoughts and issues that echoed in me as president of EPA, vice president of the Lifelong Learning and Social Platforms, as a child rights activist for over 25 years, as an apt reader, a Hungarian and a mother. It is unusual for this blog, but I hope they will also resonate with the readers, and given the richness of the programme I couldn’t find any other ways to make a report.