Recommendation on the European Commission Communication ‘Rethinking education’ (01/24/2013)

On 29 November 2012 the European Commission has published an ambitious set of policy recommendations on the future of education. The communication describes the societal role of education in the current economic crisis. The content of the European Commission proposals is very broad. At the same time, they suggest that the engagement of the member states to implement the guidelines will be followed up more closely. In order to realize this, more educational benchmarks are linked to the European Semester.

The Vlor wanted to react as soon as possible to this Communication, in order to influence the Flemish standpoint in Spring 2013. In a later stage, every specific theme of the Communication can be deepened.

The Vlor states that this package of proposals is a clear signal to governments and heads of states of the importance of investing in the talents of young people and adults. These talents offer a solid basis for sustainable societal development and economic well-fare. For the Vlor, Education and Training remain a public responsibility, for which a public budget has to be available. Therefore, one should be careful when considering input of own means of learners and commercial initiatives for Education and Training.

The Vlor is pleading for a broad approach of education policy. Sustainability, social cohesion, equal opportunities and a development oriented approach are as important as the labour market orientation.

The Vlor is pleading for an approach of education policy from a subsidiarity point of view. Decisions on Education and Training have to be taken at the appropriate level. Europe offers the framework for cooperation, but the Member States/regions keep the major responsibility for the implementation of the policy and the translation of the EU frameworks into the national/regional education tradition.

The Vlor is concerned about the fact that European documents pay too little attention to the role of school communities and school groups play in education policy. The local level needs to be valued in any debate on effectiveness of education policy.

The Vlor insists on the importance of transparency of decision lines, at European and at national/regional level. In the multitude of projects, there is a clear need to make transparent choices and to decide on priorities.

In the European thinking on education innovation, there is too little attention for implementation processes, at the level of the Member States as well as at the level of the schools.