ETUCE views on the EU public consultation ‘Achieving the European Education Area’


Related topics

On 22 July 2020 the European Commission launched a public consultation entitled ‘Achieving the European Education Area’ which is open until 26 August 2020 via this link. The COVID-19 crisis continues to affect societies across the world, and its impact on education has not yet been fully assessed. So it is difficult to understand why the European Commission has chosen this moment to run a public consultation in relation to the education and training strategy for the upcoming 5 years, and to open it for just one month during the summer.

Nevertheless, ETUCE has already submitted a response, reminding the European Commission that teachers in every education sector have made huge efforts during the COVID-19 crisis to keep education going – often without the relevant IT skills and tools. Their trade unions have tirelessly supported education staff to ensure decent salaries, good working conditions, and access to training, IT materials, tools and internet.

In November 2017 the European Commission published its Communication to the EU leaders' meeting in Gothenburg which endorsed the European Pillar of Social Rights. The text focused on setting up new policy goals on education for the 2018-20 period and beyond and announced the European Education Area (EEA). Two years later, in November 2019 the Education Council of the European Union adopted its Resolution on further developing the European Education Area to support future-oriented education and training systems. ETUCE reacted to both policy initiatives (2018, 2020) and clearly underlined that the EEA should be based on the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

Concerning the topics raised by the Roadmap within the public consultation, we believe that the EEA can be achieved only with clear monitoring of national actions and reforms in line with the following goals:

  • A right to high quality and inclusive education for all supported by sustainable public investment;
  • Quality and inclusiveness of education achieved by clear national strategies updated to incorporate new needs, such as support for teachers to ensure quality teaching, access to schools in person following clear health and safety rules and via inclusive online learning, the fight against climate change within education;
  • A right to high quality, inclusive and publicly funded training and lifelong learning for teachers and trainers on necessary skills, including digital and green skills;
  • A balanced focus of education as a public good which prepares students to be open-minded, culturally sensitive and responsible citizens with solid democratic values and ready for necessary upskilling within the labour market;
  • Improved governance in which social dialogue is strengthened and national strategies are established in consultation with the education trade unions based on research on students’ and teachers’ needs.

Read ETUCE’s reaction to the European Commission's public consultation ‘Achieving the European Education Area’.

You can react to the public consultation until 26 August via this link.