/// EUCIS-LLL NEWS ///
Opening Up Education: mainstreaming digital access in education and training
The release of the Commission’s Communication on “Opening up Education” last September reflects the fact that the debate on harnessing the potential of ICT for education and training has become more and more vivid in the past years. The document foresees many actions to be undertaken in 2014 and it is now up to Member States to concretise EU recommendations in the field of digital learning. EUCIS-LLL has released a policy paper in reaction to the Communication, which notably emphasises the importance of prioritizing and mainstreaming digital access in all education and training sectors with a particular emphasis on providing basic IT skills for all. EUCIS-LLL as well as EAEA, OBESSU and ESU were invited on 9 February to present their views in the EESC Study Group on Opening Up Education. Read also the European Parliament draft report (December).

Planning of activities for 2014
In 2014 EUCIS-LLL will hold its General Assembly and Annual Conference in Zagreb focused on Erasmus+ in June, a policy debate on the digital agenda in March and many other activities. We will continue our validation task force and our Europe 2020 working group. Key priorities for us will be the implementation of Erasmus+, European elections and validation of non-formal and informal learning but also the funding of education, wider benefits of learning, transversal competences and civil dialogue. We enter the 2nd year of the CB4LLP project that aims to develop capacity building for writing successful projects. Furthermore we are starting a new project the “LLL-Hub” that aims to set up stakeholders’ forums at national level in pilot countries. This will strengthen our work by creating new connections at the national level and with national authorities. Let’s hope Erasmus+ will give us new opportunities to cooperate and develop joint initiatives.

Office news
EUCIS-LLL has no longer a direct phone number as we are changing offices (Mundo J). In the steercostaffmeantime you can contact us via Skype or email. Sorry about the inconvenience. Furthermore our colleague Noé Viedma is no longer working at the Secretariat, we thank him for all the good work he did during the last three years at EUCIS-LLL and wish him all the best for the future.

/// NEWS FROM MEMBERS AND PARTNERS ///
EUROCLIO-NEPC conference on Teaching History for Democratic Citizenship on 31 January
NEPC, the Network of Education Policy Centers, and EUROCLIO, the European Association of History Educators, will organise a joint event under the title “Teaching History for Democratic Citizenship: How does History Education Contribute to Social Cohesion and Respect for Diversity Today?” on 31 January (10.00-13.00) at the European Parliament in Brussels (room ASP 1G2). The event will be hosted by MEP Malika Benarab-Attou (FR, Greens/EFA) and MEP Oleg Valjalo (CR, S&D). Interim results of the European project “Making History Work for Tolerance: A Research-Based Strategy to Reduce the Intolerant Usage of History Teaching in the EU” will be presented and followed by an interactive panel discussion on challenges and opportunities for history education in nowadays society, with a focus on the risks of political manipulation of the topic in certain contexts. Registrations and information here.

DARE network engages in “Human Rights Education 2020” coalitionhre2020clogo
Amnesty International, HREA, Soka Gokkai International and nine other organisations launched in December 2013 “Human Rights Education 2020”, a global civil society coalition aimed to promote human rights education by supporting and strengthening the implementation of existing international standards and commitments. On the second anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training by the United Nations General Assembly on 19 December 2011, HRE 2020 calls for greater accountability of governments and seeks to this purpose to strengthen the capacity of civil society to use international human rights mechanisms, instruments, standards and policies. The Democracy and Human Rights Education in Europe (DARE Network) joined the movement along with many other organisations committed to advance human rights education.

AEGEE’s Y vote 2014: young people engage for European elections
To avoid history to repeat itself and see a low turnout to the European elections of May 2014 among young people, the European Students’ Forum (AEGEE) launched the “Y Vote 2014” project aiming to encourage young people to get involved. Building on the success of the 2009 edition, the project consists of many different parts, such as youth conventions, bus tours, training events and local activities throughout Europe. Furthermore, a special voting guide for young people is being developed that will be soon accessible online. Follow the project on AEGEE webpage.

SOLIDAR project on validation has kicked off
On 13 January SOLIDAR and La Ligue de l’enseignement kicked off their LLP project “Building Learning Societies: promoting the validation of non-formal and informal learning” with a seminar for education and training practitioners focusing on the exchange of good practices to promote non-formal and informal learning opportunities for all, and to enhance cooperation to strengthen the development of validation policies in light of the 2012 Council Recommendation on validation of non-formal and informal learning (read EUCIS-LLL reaction and all our documents on the topic). The debate notably focused on validation as a common denominator in the worlds of education and work and the degree of formalisation of non-formal and informal learning outcomes when validated. EUCIS-LLL brought a European perspective to the topic and presented the work done by the task force the Platform has set up to follow up on the implementation of the Recommendation.

A flagship initiative on adult education? EAEA at Commission’s conference in Vilnius
A major event in the field of adult education took place in Vilnius on 9 December 2013, organised by the European Commission and the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning in the framework of the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU. The conference took stock on recent PIAAC results and reflected on the implementation of the Renewed European Agenda for Adult Learning. The European Association for Adult Education (EAEA) suggested there to develop a flagship initiative on adult education for a more integrated approach at all decision-levels. See also EAEA new leaflet on “Why is adult education important“, underlining the many wider benefits of investing in the sector.

EYCA 2013 magazine: a year of achievements for European Citizenship
The Ligue de l’enseignement together with the European Civic Forum and theEuropean Year of Citizens Alliance 2013 (EYCA 2013) have released theEuropean Year of Citizens 2013 magazine recalling the whole Year 2013 with the different projects, initiatives and citizens that have been working towards a citizen-based European project during these past 12 months. To understand the importance of participatory democracy, the magazine focuses on some best practices from civil society organisations that believe the citizen is to be placed firmly at the centre of policymaking and the design of the European project. See also the EYCA 2013 recommendations.

/// INSTITUTIONAL NEWS ///

Greek Presidency kicks off: education and training priorities in Europe
On 8 January was held the opening ceremony of the Greek accession to the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The Hellenic presidency will be mostly geared, on the eve of European elections, towards enhancing civic and society engagement in the EU and reinforcing EU democratic legitimacy and accountability. In the field of education and training, the Greeks notably foresee the adoption of two Council Conclusions on quality assurance at all levels of education and on teachers’ education. Consequent work will be done in several sectors (pre-school education, higher education) with a particular emphasis on certain hot topics (early school leaving, VET attractiveness, work-based learning) through a global effort to enhance the efficiency, innovation, quality, equity and social cohesion of our education and training systems. Those priorities will be presented during the Culture and Education Committee meeting of this month in the European Parliament.

European structural funds: European Code of Conduct on the Partnership Principle adopted
While structural funds 2014-2020 such as the European Social Fund (seeEUCIS-LLL policy update and toolkit) are slowly kicking off with the finalisation of Member States’ Partnership Agreements with the Commission determining their priorities for the year to come, the Commission just adopted the European Code of Conduct on the Partnership Principle (see also EESC publication and Commission Staff Working Document on the Partnership Principle). In the Regulation determining the Common Provisions to all funds, the partnership approach is described as an inclusive process involving many stakeholders among which civil society organisations in the design, implementation and assessment of the funds. See also the Commission’s information note on education and training in cohesion policy 2014-2020.

Draft report on historical memory in education and culture in the EU rejected by MEPs
In August 2013 was released MEP Marek Henryk Migalski (PL, ECR)’s draft report, to be presented in front of his colleagues of the European Parliament’s Culture and Education Committee for approval. The report was presenting an overview of last century’s historical milestones (totalitarianism, world wars) while enhancing the key role of education in understanding history and promoting historical truth, as well as the contribution of non-governmental organisations and the voluntary sector in that sense. Yet the draft document proved to be highly controversial (many MEPs questioned the usefulness of such a motion) and was rejected on 17 December 2013 by the CULT Committee, cancelling its examination by the Parliament plenary session in 2014. See also the Parliament’s study on “European historical memory: policies, challenges and perspectives” and EUROCLIO’s article.

EESC Opinion on volunteer work measurement: first steps towards greater recognition?
In December the European Economic and Social Committee released an opinionon “Statistical tools for measuring volunteering” to reiterate the need for a favourable environment and support for voluntary activities and call the Commission to start consistent work on a standardised methodology to map volunteer work across the EU. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has produced a reference manual in the field and the Committee recommends national statistical offices throughout the EU to take stock of the international organisation’s document. More importantly, the EESC calls for legal measures to recognise volunteer work as eligible co-financing in EU grants, which has been for a long time an important obstacle to the participation of many organisations in EU programmes (see EUCIS-LLL recommendations in that sense for the Erasmus+ programme).

/// RESEARCH & INNOVATION ///

CEDEFOP new publication on VET dropouts: validation as a key?
The CEDEFOP has released a briefing note on “Keeping young people in (vocational) education: what works?”. The note underlines the fact that early leaving in VET is a challenge that has to be tackled comprehensively, together with labour market and social welfare issues. It also enhances validation of non-formal and informal learning as a tool to help young people to acquire VET qualifications, through strong partnerships between various stakeholders at regional and local levels. See also EUCIS-LLL magazine on validation.

VISIR Consultation on innovation friendly learning systems: participate!
The MENON network and the European Distance and E-learning Network (EDEN) are involved in the VISIR project, aimed to uncap ICT potential for learning as a driver of change for our economies and societies and to move from fragmentation and piloting to articulation and system adoption. A third consultation is launched by the project consortium on “What may promote or discourage changes towards innovation friendly learning systems recognising grassroot innovations?” Find more information in the VISIR webpage and give your opinion.

Eurydice report on a mobility scoreboard
In November 203 Eurydice released a report entitled “Towards a mobility scoreboard: conditions Towards a Mobility Scoreboard: Conditions for Learning Abroad infor learning abroad in Europe”. The study intends to pave the way for a comprehensive set of indicators of conditions for higher education students’ mobility (information and guidance, portability of grants and loans, recognition of learning outcomes, etc.) following up on the 2011 Council Recommendation “Youth on the Move”, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative.

EUA project results of efficient funding of higher education institutions
The European University Association (EUA) is involved in a project on “Designing strategies for efficient funding of higher education in Europe (DEFINE)” that has been collecting information on the different public funding modalities and efficiency measures (including performance-based funding, concentration measures and excellence schemes) in place in Europe and their impact on universities. Find the preliminary results on EUA’s webpage.

LLLinE new item on Body, Emotions and the Arts
LLinE, the Lifelong Learning in Europe journal dedicated to adult education, has released a new December item on Body, Emotions and the Arts. The postulate of this issue is that learning is a holistic process, involving body and emotions and not solely the intellect. The magazine contains many articles on the contribution of culture to lifelong learning, transforming learning through arts, etc. Read also EUCIS-LLL, Culture Action Europe and Access to Culture’s 2012 policy paper on “Building synergies between education and culture”. Don’t miss also the March item that will be dedicated to OECD’s PIAAC survey on adult skills.

/// EU FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES ///

2014 European Charlemagne Youth Prize
newcybannerAre 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 forsubmissions 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.

Call for proposals 2013 for joint mobility projects (JMP) and joint degree projects (JDP) – EACEA 24/13
The call’s objective is to enhance mutual understanding between people of the EU and the partner countries including broader knowledge of their languages, cultures and institutions and to enhance the quality of higher education and training by stimulating balanced partnerships between higher education and training institutions in the EU and in partner countries. Deadline for application: 15 May 2014.

/// PUBLIC CONSULTATIONS ///

Have your say on a European area of skills and qualifications
The European Commission has launched a public consultation on a European area of skills and qualifications. The objective of the consultation is to collect the views of stakeholders on the problems faced by learners and workers with regard to the transparency and recognition of their skills and qualifications when moving within and between EU Member States, on the adequacy of the related European policies and instruments and on the potential benefits of developing a “European Area of Skills and Qualifications”. Deadline for input: 15 April 2014.