On the occasion of the Education International Day the European Commission organised the Forum on the Future of Learning (FOL Forum) in Brussels. The FOL Forum aimed to provide for exchanges between education, training, youth, VET providers, policy makers and adult providers. The main discussions were focused on key issues that education and training was facing in Europe until 2030, including the challenges associated to demographics: inclusion and citizenship; technological change and the future of work; digitalization of society; environmental concerns; and investments, reforms and governance.
The FOL Forum 2019 was opened by European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Tibor Navracsics who said:
Today marks the first International Day of Education. 262 million children and youth do not go to school. 617 million children and adolescents cannot read and know math’s. Less than 40% of girls in sub-Saharan Africa complete lower secondary school while 4 million children and youth refugees are out of school. This is also why the world is far from achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education.
Ms Ecaterina Andronesci, Romanian Minister of Education, underlined the key role of teachers in strengthening a successful education system. Thus, teachers should be at the heart of initiatives on education reforms, and efforts should be concentrated on the quality of initial and in-service teacher education and attractiveness of the teaching profession. The Romanian EU Presidency it has scheduled 10 events dedicated to education and training for the coming months.
MEP Petra Kammerevert, Chair of the European Parliament Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) highlighted “that high-quality education comes first in the 2017 European Pillar of Social Right. However, she stressed that “EU Member States invest 5% of GDP into education average, what it is not not enough. We should aim at 10% at least by 2025, given the immense importance of education for the future of Europe” MEP Kammerevert supports “a bigger investment into education school digitalisation, including social and soft skills, digital skills, language skills access to education, qualified staff training, recognition of qualifications, etc. are some of numerous challenges to be tackled while building.”
Finally, President of the Lifelong Learning Platform Ms Gina Ebner called to place the learner at the centre and building 21st learning environments that are playful, joyful, innovative, creative, inclusive… She highlighted some key issues that we as civil society representatives think are crucial: commitment to change and innovation and Innovative the concept of learning:
The learning means joy (not necessary fun) and we need to make it happen – following good examples from formal and non-formal learning- by increasing well-being, health, challenge for assessments etc., but we can do it. Let me add here: as Lifelong Learning Platform (LLLP) we generally believe that a lot of innovation has already happened in non-formal learning, so let’s use the expertise of this sector. Everyone should have the opportunity to learn, while enjoying the experience of learning and offering flexible pathways, starting from the early stage of education up to adult and senior education. But in order to do so, we need everyone on board
6 Parallel sessions with experts from Education and Training Expert Panel focused on:
- Digitalisation of society
- Environmental challenges
- Investment, reforms and governance
- Demographic challenges
- Inclusion & citizenship
- Technological change and the future of work:
This was the opportunity to go forward on key discussion and suggest action priority areas with stakeholders. Such as:
- Environmental challenge: education is a powerful means to raise awareness on environmental issues and promote a sustainable lifestyle. It is also crucial in developing specific competences to address environmental challenges in our everyday lives.
- Technological change and the future of work: we should focus on individualised, tailor-made, and modular learning to develop creativity, entrepreneurship, collaboration, and career management skills to meet the needs of the future labour market
- Investment, reforms and governance: strengthening evidence-based policy-making, supporting teachers’ leadership attitude and digital skills to tackle the challenges ahead.
The conference was closed by Ms. Manuela Geleng, Director for Skills at DG-EMPL and Mr. Stefaan Hermans, Director for Policy Strategy and Evaluation at DG-EAC.