/// EUCIS-LLL NEWS /// SPECIAL LLL Week! ///

LLL Week highlight: launch of the EUCIS-LLL Manifesto for 2014 EU elections
pcscreenFrom 2 to 6 December EUCIS-LLL organised the third edition of its Lifelong Learning Week, featuring many events and festivities. The opening reception hosted by MEP Emer Costello (S&D, IE) was notably the opportunity to reward the winners of EUCIS-LLL photo contest. The Week started with a lively discussion by MEPs on EUCIS-LLL Manifesto that was launched at the same occasion (report soon available). Many of them (see full list) agreed to support our plea for building together the future of learning in Europe, including Doris Pack (EPP, DE), Chair of the Committee on Culture and Education. The setting up of an Intergroup on Lifelong Learning in the Parliament was also discussed. Help us disseminate the Manifesto, already available in several languages! Check also our infonote and advocacy toolkit on the 2014 elections.

“Making the Case of European Civic Education”: discussing civic engagement in 2014
The LLL Week was also the occasion to build on the legacy of this European Year of Citizens and exchange ideas on the role played by education in getting citizens closer to the EU, during a roundtable organised by EUCIS-LLL and the European Civic Forum and hosted by MEP Renate Weber (ALDE, RO) (report soon available). Policy-makers, researchers, teachers and other key stakeholders gathered to discuss how to teach and learn European active citizenship at school but also beyond formal education. The crucial role of civil society organisations in that sense was reminded, as “the best friends of society and often the best friends of Europe”.

On the path to quality education? Measuring Progress in Lifelong Learning
A key meeting during the LLL Week was also the EUCIS-LLL international seminar on Measuring Progress in Lifelong Learning on 5 December (report soon available). The EU has set ambitious goals for lifelong learning up to 2020 and we also have our own definition on what should be quality education and how to get there in the coming years. However progress is a highly subjective notion and even more when it comes to improving learning. This seminar was about rethinking progress measurement in lifelong learning in a partnership approach. Several voices including the European Commission and the OECD were raised to debate on the relevance and scope of indicators and of evidence-based policy-making among central issues.

EUCIS-LLL new advocacy toolkit on the European Social Fund
While the legal basis for the common provisions to Structural and Investment Funds and the European Social Fund have been adopted by the European Parliament at the end of November, EUCIS-LLL has produced a small toolkit with policy updates and advocacy tips for civil society organisations to make their voice heard at regional and national levels through the new Partnership Principle. It is crucial to defend education and training and lifelong learning as one of the next European Social Fund’s investment priorities. See also EUCIS-LLL previous work on the ESF.

/// NEWS FROM MEMBERS AND PARTNERS ///
MUNDO-J: a new building for NGOs at the heart of the EU district
A new building for NGOs will open its doors 10 rue de l’industrie at the heart of the European district in April 2014. Mundo-J will bring together under one roof several organisations that are actors for social change including EUCIS-LLL, EAEA, CONCORD and others. This building offers not only an efficient private workspace and communal areas, but also numerous services that facilitate the daily work of associations. There are still spaces available! Contact: Charlotte Van der Auwera. This initiative is led by Ethical Property.

EAEA policy debate: civil society taking stock of PIAAC survey on adult skills
The results of the OECD Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) clearly demonstrate that Europe needs to invest in adult education – it is a loud wake-up call to Europe and the Member States to start immediate action. That is why the European Association for the Education of Adults, EAEA organised a policy debate with the participation of MEP Kent Johansson (ALDE, SE) and MEP Katarina Nevedalova (S&D, SK) as well as the European Commission. EAEA vice president Katarina Popovic underlined the need to move away from a focus on initial education towards fostering a lifelong learning approach. Within the debate, EAEA presented several recommendations such as the acknowledgement of the positive role that adult education has on both personal, social and economic level.

Europemobility workshop on validation, a timely event
The Europemobility network aims at improving the quantity and the quality of mobility within Europe. The aim of the workshop chaired by EUCIS-LLL President David Lopez was to improve participants’ knowledge of the different sectors, identify and gather mobility experiences and start a reflection on the transversal competences acquired by learners in European mobility programmes. Key challenges are also to be solved in the field: according to the PRIME-study(Problems of Recognition In Making Erasmus) presented by the Erasmus Student Network (ESN), only 73 % of the students that went abroad receive full recognition of the credits. Fostering more trust between educational institutions would be one of the solutions to facilitate the recognition of learning outcomes from mobility experiences.

effe’s dialogue on Erasmus+: what transsectorial partnerships for the future?       
The European Forum for Freedom in Education (effe) organised a dialogue during the LLL Week focusing on the future Erasmus+ programme. Two schools from France and Germany presented their experiences with transsectorial partnerships and several questions were tackled, for instance on the link between innovative educational institutions and efficient partnerships.

The parents meet in Brussels: EPA Annual Conference 2013
The yearly General Assembly and Annual Conference of the European Parents’ Association (EPA) was held in Brussels on 6 December, mainly focusing on the Europe 2020 strategy and the way civil society organisations will cope with it in the years to come. Audrey Frith, EUCIS-LLL Director, represented EUCIS-LLL in the panel and brought the point of view of a European umbrella organisation to the debate. She highlighted the importance of working together with the parents and other members of the educative community to defend a social and holistic approach to learning.

8th European Quality Assurance Forum: taking quality forward
Last week’s 8th European Quality Assurance Forum (EQAF) brought together more than 400 higher education stakeholders from 50 countries to discuss the latest developments and trends in quality assurance (QA). The event took place at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and was organised by EUA, ENQA, EURASHEand ESU. Entitled “Working together to take quality forward”, the event put a particular emphasis on the concept of “quality culture” and the importance of attitudes and values. The topic of internationalisation as a vehicle for quality was also debated.

/// INSTITUTIONAL NEWS ///

Erasmus+ programme moving forward: don’t miss the boat!
On 11 December European Parliament President Martin Schulz in the presence of CULT Committee Chair Doris Pack and Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou signed the future Erasmus+ programme 2014-2020 into law. This came after the adoption of the legal basis in plenary session on 19 November and its approval by the Councilon 3 December. The new funding programme will entry into force from 1st January with a budget of more than €14 billion with three key main actions: learning mobility of individuals, cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices and support for policy reform. The formal adoption of the programme should give green light already by next week of the release of some calls for proposals. You can already consult the brand new programme guide (seeCommission press release) and get prepared to apply soon for projects.

PISA results 2012: European teenagers’ skills scrutinized
obesssuThe OECD recently published the latest report on the maths, science and reading skills of 15 year olds (PISA). The European Commission reacted and will discuss the PISA 2012 findings with Member States to help identify the most appropriate measures to remedy weaknesses. A first exchange is planned at the next Council of EU Education Ministers on 24 February. Among key findings, the survey interestingly takes a look at motivation and self-confidence among students and acknowledges the social context of education is part of its success. Read also OBESSU’s reaction to the PISA release, stating that PISA has a narrow assessment of learning needs and only analyses a reduced scope of competences. Read also soon the report of EUCIS-LLL international seminar onMeasuring Progress in Lifelong Learning organised during the Lifelong Learning Week in the European Parliament.

Commission moving forward the agenda for quality traineeships
In the line of the implementation of the Youth Employment Package initiated a year ago and notably including the Youth Guarantee initiative, the Commission made on 4 December another step towards better quality work experiences for young people and proposed a Council Recommendation on a Quality Framework for traineeships (that should be implemented no later than end 2014). The Commission’s proposal notably includes recommendations for better working conditions (holiday, health insurance…) reasonable duration or proper recognition of skills acquired. See also the Eurobarometer from November 2013 on the experience of traineeships in the EU, revealing that 3 in 10 Europeans do not think their last traineeship experience will help them find regular employment; besides, six out of ten respondents did not receive any financial compensation during their most recent traineeship.

Member States commit for a better access to education for Roma people
eutwootwoOn 9-10 December the Council adopted a Recommendation on effective Roma integration measures in the member states. A whole chapter of the text is devoted to access to education, notably including measures such as putting an end to any inappropriate placement of Roma pupils in special needs schools or using inclusive and tailor-made teaching and learning methods. Action will also be taken in several other sectors (health, employment and housing). See also the EAEA’s current project ROM-ACT.

European Parliament launches elections website
Elections2014.eu has been launched at the beginning of the month by the European Parliament six months ahead of the vote for new elected representatives. The website notably showcases the Parliament’s campaign “Act. React.Impact.” and proposes several tools to raise awareness and foster debates at national level such as top stories, press briefings on employment and workers’ rights mentioning EU tools such as Youth Guarantee Schemes or Erasmus+, presentations of European political parties, etc. The Parliament has made many steps to give a genuine European dimension to the campaign and increase the turnout rate in 2014, while the elections will occur in the turmoil of austerity measures and social crisis (see 2013 resolution). See also EUCIS-LLL Manifesto already signed by many MEPs andtoolkit for the elections.

/// RESEARCH & INNOVATION ///

Member States’ implementation of education and training benchmarks: an overview
Eurydice has released a new report on “Education and Training in Europe 2020: responses from the Member States” where progress made at national level in the main benchmarks of the Education and Training 2020 Strategic Framework (ET2020) is reviewed. Early-school leaving, tertiary attainment, skills acquisition and adult participation in lifelong learning are among the topics tackled. This last benchmark has been for instance stagnating for years now while the PIAAC survey on adult skills (see EUCIS-LLL and EAEA reaction) had recommended better quality lifelong learning opportunities to improve critical levels of basic skills among European adults. The Commission has considered a revision of the benchmark on adult learning participation in 2015. The new Eurydice publication summarises among other useful information the reforms that have been undertaken in Member States to increase participation in lifelong learning, such as more flexible study opportunities (see also Lithuanian presidency conferenceconclusions on 9-10 December).

2012-2013 national investment levels in education
New country fiches by Eurydice are available if you are interested in knowing more about the detailed expenditure of your government in education for the past two years. While the 2012 “Rethinking Education” Commission’s Communication is prioritising the funding of education for growth and aims to initiate a debate at EU level on the benefits of this type of investment, the Education and Training Monitor 2013 shows that 16 countries decreased their investment in education at some point between 2008 and 2011 and most Member States decreased spending per student for at least one level of education. The new Eurydice results are mitigated: the research reveals that 9 countries or regions decreased their education by more than 1% in 2013 compared to 2012, 6 countries/regions remain stable and 14 have increased their budget by more than 1%.

New Cedefop note on EQF and NQFs: highlighting the importance of validation
The eight-level European qualifications framework (EQF) makes it possible to compare all types and levels of qualifications from different countries, subsystems, and learning settings. A total of 36 countries are now working together to implement National Qualifications Frameworks (NQFs) and linking it to the EQF. By the end of 2013, 22 of these countries will have formally “referenced” their NQFs, as the new CEDEFOP briefing note explains. The note also mentions the 2012 Council Recommendation on the validation of non-formal and informal learning outcomes as crucial to better recognise learning outcomes acquired in those learning environments and increase learning pathways flexibility. The EQF and NQFs could be key levers to move this agenda forward.

Eurostat report on the transmission of level of education between generations
A recent report published by Eurostat shows that in the EU28, persistence of educational attainment between generations differs according to the level of education of the parents. Largest movement from low to high level of education can be found in Finland and the United Kingdom, while strongest levels of persistence of a low level of education was observed in Malta, Luxembourg, Spain or Italy. Find the full results on Eurostat website, which notably shows that there is no systematic relationship between the persistence of economic situation through generations and the split of the parents’ economic situation among the countries.

Third Consultation of the VISIR-project
EDEN (the European Distance and E-Learning Network) invites to take part in the third consultation of the VISIR-project. VISIR aims to develop a shared vision on how ICT may help making lifelong learning a reality. The survey itself looks more precisely for solutions to promote changes towards innovation friendly learning systems recognising grassroots innovations.

/// EU FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES ///

Europe for Citizens call for proposals released for civil society organisations
The call for proposals for Structural support for European public policy research organisations (think tanks) and for civil society organisations at European level has been published. Its aim is to select organisations with European outreach which, through their permanent, usual and regular activities, make a tangible contribution to the objectives of the ‘Europe for Citizens’ programme and bring them support through Framework Partnerships for four years (2014-2017). The deadline for submission of applications is 20 December 2013.

Delivering on skills for growth and jobs – PROGRESS
The objective of the Call is to is to encourage new forms of collaboration through partnerships between public and private actors on the labour market (such as public and private employment services, companies including SME’s, chambers of commerce, training and education providers, social partners, labour market intelligence entities) to address persistent skills shortages and mismatches to help fill the gap between labour supply and demand in the EU. Deadline for submitting applications: 15 January 2014.

2014 European Charlemagne Youth Prize
Are you 16-30 years old and do you run a project with a European dimension? From 25 October projects promoting Europe among young people can start competing for the seventh Charlemagne Youth Prize. Winning projects will not only benefit from recognition and media coverage, but also from prize money to further develop the initiative. The deadline for submissions is 20 January 2014.

Erasmus Mundus action programme call for proposals – Implementation in 2014
The Erasmus Mundus programme aims to promote European higher education, to help improve and enhance the career prospects of students and to promote intercultural understanding through cooperation with third countries, in accordance with EU external policy objectives in order to contribute to the sustainable development of third countries in the field of higher education. The call can be found here. The deadline for submissions is 3 March 2014.

This is the last EUCIS-LLL newsletter of the year! The EUCIS-LLL board and secretariat wishes you happy holidays and the best for the year to come.