Latest education policy updates from the autumn Education Council meeting


On 29 November 2021, national education ministers met in Brussels for the autumn meeting of the Education Council of the EU. They adopted multiple impactful recommendations despite the fact that education trade unions clearly voiced numerous concerns and advised against their adoption.

The adopted recommendations include the Council recommendation on blended learning which strives to normalise blended learning in primary and secondary education, beyond the application in emergency remote teaching during the Covid-19 pandemic. In its recent position paper, ETUCE strongly voiced its opposition to the adoption of this recommendation in its current form, calling upon the Education Ministries of the European Union to hold the adoption. Education trade unions argue that further consultation is highly needed to clarify a common definition of ‘blended learning’ and better analyse the impact of its implementation on the learning outcomes of students and the working conditions of teachers.

Nevertheless, despite the adoption of the Recommendation being moved forward, education trade unions remain committed to continued social dialogue and close cooperation with the European Commission and national education ministries, to avoid misleading interpretation of the Council Recommendation at the national level.

In addition, as education ministers informally discussed “Investments in education and training during and after the COVID-19 pandemic”, ETUCE ensures to raise the voice of education trade unions when decisions on investments are discussed, particularly in the framework of the European Commission's upcoming initiatives on digital skills and education.

The Council also adopted the resolution on the Governance Structure of the Strategic Framework for European cooperation in Education and Training towards the European Education Area and beyond (2021-2030). However, ETUCE regrets that the Council did not strengthen the involvement of the education social partners in the Commission's policy groups, while the European Economic and Social Committee in its recent opinion particularly underlined the importance of involving social partners in the governance in education and training at EU and national levels.

Read more:

ETUCE call for action against the proposed recommendation on blended learning here

ETUCE Statement on Blended Learning here

Main results of the Education Council meeting here