/// EUCIS-LLL NEWS ///

EUCIS-LLL Annual Conference and General Assembly, 2-3 June 2014, Brussels
EUCIS-LLL is happy to announce the organisation of its General Assembly (2nd June) and Annual Conference (3rd June) to take place in Brussels. The topic of this year Conference will be the “Education and Training 2020” Review in the framework of the revision of the “Europe 2020” strategy. It will be a unique opportunity to take stock of more than a decade of community action in the field but also to make concrete proposals for improvement both on the priorities and working methods. This debate is highly timely. The European elections will bring a new Commissioner as well as new Members of Parliament to sustain the work achieved so far, to deliver the ET2020 objectives but also to take stock of its weaknesses and give a fresh start with new priorities and hopefully a renewed political will to make lifelong learning a reality in Europe. This event will be a unique opportunity for stakeholders to voice their concerns and participate actively in finding solutions for the next period 2015-2020. Registrations will soon be open.

Call for MEPs to support our Manifesto “Building together the Future of Learning” J-45
The 2014 European elections will provide the right momentum to think about the future of learning in Europe. Poor access to lifelong learning limits people’s ability to access quality jobs and participate fully in society. We need a vision and a sustainable investment to ensure our education and training systems deliver better for economic development, social and civic participation, personal fulfilment and well-being. The European Parliament and civil society should further engage together in the future of learning. EUCIS-LLL Manifesto “Building together the Future of Learning” comprises 12 principles for lifelong lifelong. If you are an MEP and willing to support our manifesto contact us or click here. We also encourage educational stakeholders to launch a debate on the future of learning at national level with their candidate MEPs and to use our Manifesto – already available in (EN) (FR) (DE) (NL) (PT) (PL) (TR) (IT).

EUCIS-LLL Director at the Youth Forum roundtable on Quality Education
On 19 March our partner the European Youth Forum held a roundtable on “Quality Education in Europe by 2019?” hosted by the Youth Intergroup of the European Parliament. The roundtable brought together representatives from both institutions as well as civil society organisations provided an overview of the main gaps remaining in the accomplishment of a holistic approach to education. EUCIS-LLL Director Audrey Frith was among the panellists and called for a different approach in which education is centered on preparing young people for life, equipping them with the necessary key competences to make informed decisions and actively participate in democratic public life. See also the Youth Forum dedicated webpage and position paper on Quality Education.

/// NEWS FROM MEMBERS AND PARTNERS ///

EYCA: meeting with president of the European Parliament Martin Schulz
The European Year of Citizens Alliance (EYCA) brings together more than 60 organisations including EUCIS-LLL. Representatives of  EYCA met with the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, on 3rd April to discuss the EYCA recommendations aimed at enhancing European citizenship. During this meeting, EYCA called for the recognition of associations and NGOs in their capacity of gathering together millions of citizens across Europe and for their involvement in the policy dialogue and democratic processes. Convinced that “Europe can no longer survive without a social pillar”, President Schulz pointed out the real risk of Europe’s failure, as highlighted by the lead in opinion polls from Eurosceptic and regressive forces, even in some founding Member States. Aware that civil society organisations can be “valuable allies” for the institutions in working to bring about more solidarity, equality and democracy in Europe, and paying due attention to the EYCA recommendations, Mr. Schulz undertook to “seriously consider the issue and leave a strong legacy for his successor to integrate civil society organisations in a dialogue process with the European Parliament”. See full press release.

Campus Europae’s HOWBET Summer School
On 14-15 July Campus Europae will organise its Summer School entitled “HOW to Become a European Campus Europae partner institutions will collaborate by sending five teacher training students that will attend lectures and participate in group work on several topics, such as European citizenship and identity, cross-cultural issues in European education or European guidelines for teacher education. Know more about this great initiative onCampus Europae website and see also the report from the seminar “Making the case for European civic education” organised by EUCIS-LLL and the European Civic Forum during our Lifelong Learning Week 2013.

OBESSU granted observer status at the Council of Europe
OBESSU, the Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions, symbolically sent a letter of request for an observatory status onInternational Day of Students 2013 to the Council of Europe. OBESSU board was given the possibility to present the organisation to the last Council of Europe Steering Committee for Education Policy and Practice (CDPPE) meeting in March that accepted OBESSU as an observer, while on theEuropean Student Union (ESU) was in this position so far. This is a great recognition of the fact that OBESSU is considered a representative organisation in the field of secondary school education. See the full articlehere.

Successful VISIR seminar “e-Learning micro-innovation matters”
The VISIR project stands for Vision, Insights and Recommendations on how to understand, network and mainstream ICT for learning in Europe. On 25-26 March the VISIR consortium led by the MENON Network gathered key stakeholders in the Committee of Regions in Brussels on the theme “e-Learning micro-innovation matters” to reflect upon efficient and enjoyable ways towards a more grassroots innovation Europe in the field of e-learning. Draft recommendations aimed at decision-makers and practitioners will be written building on the project results and the participants’ inputs. All presentations can be found on the project website.

Keynote speaker announced at EDEN Annual Conference (Zagreb, Croatia, 10-13 June)
The European Distance and E-learning Network (EDEN) has open registrations for its Annual Conference in Zagreb on 10-13 June on the theme “From education to employment and meaningful work with ICTs”. ICT-enhanced learning will be discussed as a way to help education and training systems to cope better and faster with changing employment and social needs, and in particular to bridge skills supply and demand from the labour market. Keynote speaker will be Prof. Jeff Haywood: watch hisinterview on open learning, certifications and employability. Discover more on EDEN website and register before 5 June.

KeyCoNet online consultation on a competence-based approach: raise your voice!
The European Key Competences Network on School Education, KeyCoNet, is a network of 18 partners from 10 European countries focused on identifying and analysing emergent strategies in implementing key competences into education reforms. KeyCoNet will launch an online consultation for two months in 12 languages on how to effectively implement a competence-based approach in school education. Recommendations for policy and practice will be issued from this consultation. Find out more soon onKeyConet website and do not forget also to provide your input on the competence-based approach in the public consultation launched by the European Commission on a European area of skills and qualifications.

/// INSTITUTIONAL NEWS ///

“Europe 2020” Review: mixed results
The European Commission has released a communication “Taking stock of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth” to take stock and lay the ground for an informed discussion at halfway point of the strategy. The Communication shows how the EU and individual Member States are advancing towards the 2020 targets. It acknowledges “weaknesses in education and training Systems”. If Member States are likely to reach the headline targets for early school leaving and tertiary attainment levels by 2020; other indicators are very negative such as the “increasing share of young people neither in employment nor in education or training (NEETs)”. The member organisations of the EESC Liaison Group, including EUCIS-LLL, are currently preparing a joint contribution to the Europe 2020 Review. They believe the focus should shift on rehabilitating the real economy, and on investing in people and policies that would provide a real chance of reaching the original objectives.

Call for good practices on investing in children
EPIC, the European Platform for Investing in Children, is an evidence-based online platform managed by the European Commission and launched in 2013 which aims to provide information about policies that can help children and their families face up to the challenges that exist in the current economic climate in Europe. EPIC builds on the EC Recommendation entitled ‘Investing in children – breaking the cycle of disadvantage’, as part of the Social Investment Package. A key component of the platform is the ‘Practices that Work’ section which is used for collecting innovative as well as Evidence Based Practices relevant to children and their families. They are currently looking for relevant practices, programmes or policies relevant to children and their families.

ISCA reacts to new Eurobarometer on Sports
The results of the latest Eurobarometer survey (see summary) on sport and physical activity reveals that 59% European citizens never or almost never exercise or play sport, and when they do, only 6% are motivated by the fact they will develop new skills. The Council has recently adopted aRecommendation on health-enhancing physical activity, stating that physical education at school has the potential to increase awareness of the importance of physical activity. The Chariman of the  International Sport and Culture Association, ISCA, has reacted to the survey and called it a “wake-up call to all relevant sectors”, showing that “we need to keep our full focus on participation – also in the Erasmus+ programme”. See also ISCA’sNowWeMove campaign and MOVE Week.

Launch of a new network to foster web talent through MOOCs
The European Commission has set up a new network in the framework of the “Startup Europe” initiative, an action plan aimed at strengthening the business environment for web and ICT entrepreneurs in Europe. The new network is in particular targeting web entrepreneurs, universities, MOOC providers and online learners to help them exchange experiences and do peer learning, get opportunities for networking and participate in group discussions and events. See the network interface on the Open Education Europa portal.

/// RESEARCH & INNOVATION ///

Study on “Social Europe: many ways, one objective”: worsening situation for the NEETs
The Annual Report of the Social Protection Committee on the social situation in the European Union 2013 has been released. Latest research reveals that the number of young people neither in employment, education nor in training (NEETs) continues to increase (22% in the south and periphery of the euro area in 2013 with a widening gap compared to the north). Besides, more and more of them are university graduates that cannot find a job. However, positive change can be observed in early-school leaving trends with a decrease in 16 Member States, even though children with a Roma of migrant background, children with special needs and children from a poor socio-economic background are still heavily touched.

New eLearning papers on MOOCs are out!
Targeted at various stakeholders, the eLearning papers that you can now find on the new Open Education Europa portal stimulate reflection on open educational resources and in general new technologies and education in Europe. The latest eLearning Papers item is entitled «Experiences and best practices in and around MOOCs» and is based on the contributions made for the EMOOCs 2014 Conference that gathered more than 450 participants. The paper tackles crucial questions such as the differences between MOOCs and other types of online courses, the certification process, the quality models or students’ dropout rates. See also EUCIS-LLL position paper and webpage on “Opening Up Education”.

OECD Society at a glance 2014: alarming decrease in national public education spending
The OECD has just published its biennal overview of social indicators focusing on “The crisis and its aftermath”, showing that more than five years after the economic downturn, high rates of joblessness and income losses are worsening social conditions in many OECD countries. Like latest Commission research (see Social Europe 2014), the study shows that those neither in employment nor in education and training (NEETs) have significantly increased in OECD countries since the start of the crisis. The report highlights this critical situation as reducing self-sufficiency and employability chances of young people. It also comprises an indicator on education spending and reveals that its share of public funding decreased from 2000 to 2010 in those same countries – data confirmed by theEducation and training Monitor 2013 stating that sixteen Member States decreased their education expenditure at some stage between 2008 and 2011.

National Roma report 2014: more efforts to prevent Roma pupils’ dropout
The report on the implementation of the EU framework for National Roma Integration Strategies has been published. It dedicates a whole section to education that reveals that Member States have taken a series of successful measures especially regarding access to early childhood education and care, but that it is clearly not sufficient to make education systems more inclusive and tailored to the needs of Roma pupils. Further efforts are needed in particular to prevent their dropouts, such as extracurricular activities and close cooperation with families. The report has fed in the European Roma Summit of 4 April which Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou attended.

/// EU FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES ///

Erasmus+ general call for proposals
This call for proposals is based on the Erasmus+ regulation recently adopted by the European Parliament and Council to implement the Erasmus+ programme 2014-2020. Deadline for Key Action 2 (“Strategic Partnerships in the field of education, training and youth”): 30 April.

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.

CEDEFOP ReferNet call for proposals – Greece and Romania
The call aims to complete the current European network for VET – ReferNet – by selecting one applicant from Greece and one from Romania with which Cedefop will conclude an eighteen-month framework partnership agreement and conclude, with the successful applicants, specific grant agreements for a work plan to be carried out in 2014. Deadline for submission of proposals: 16 May 2014.

Call for proposals – Erasmus+ Key Activity 3 “Prospective initiatives”
The Commission has released a call for proposals on “Prospective initiatives: European policy experimentation“. The general objective of the call for proposals is to encourage the assessment of the systemic impact of innovative policy measures through field trials in order to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of education and training systems and youth policies. Applicants can be public authorities, public or private organisations active in the field of education and training or youth, or carrying related activities. Deadline 20 May 2014.

Call for proposals “National authorities for apprenticeships”
The objective of the Call is to support the introduction or modernisation of apprenticeships within initial VET systems. It encourages the development of high-quality apprenticeship-type training and excellence in work-based learning in VET through partnerships between National Authorities responsible for education, employment and economic affairs, social partners, relevant intermediary bodies (such as chambers of commerce, industry and crafts, professional and sectoral organisations), VET providers and other relevant stakeholders. The present Call addresses National Authorities in charge of apprenticeship systems, embedded in the initial vocational education and training (VET) systems in each Erasmus+ programme country, or an organisation designated by them.

/// 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”. EUCIS-LLL is currently preparing a feedback  to the consultation. Deadline for input: 15 April 2014.