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.


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.