- European Youth Week 2015
Hundreds of events took place across Europe between the 27th of April and the 10th of May to encourage and help young people to take part in civil society and in the employment market. On 6th May the European Commission organised a High-Level Political Debate in this framework. EFIL attended the event and we were glad to see how Commissioner Navracsics is committed for civil dialogue and intercultural learning.
During the same week, the Yo!Fest organised by the European Youth Forum took place, under the theme of ‘Grow Together’ in occasion of the European Year of Development.
- Key conclusions on youth at the meeting of Education, Youth, Culture and Sports Council
At the meeting of the Education, Youth, Culture and Sports Council on the 18th-19th May Structured dialogue, participation, and the role of education were among the topics up for debate, and significant progress was made through the adoption of conclusions reinforcing the key contribution of youth work and advocating a holistic approach to youth policy.
The conclusions on youth work highlight the contribution of youth work to personal development, social inclusion, cultural diversity and active citizenship. Ministers particularly acknowledged the importance of youth work in reaching out to marginalised youth and young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs).
Ministers also took the positive step of adopting conclusions on enhancing ‘cross-sectorial policy cooperation’, which propose strategies to better integrate youth issues into other sectors. By ensuring cooperation from all sectors the situation of young people can be improved more efficiently and effectively.
EFIL welcomes the recognition of the vital role youth work plays in creating cohesive societies. Although there is already sufficient evidence to support the benefits of youth work and therefore it is disappointing that the Council’s response has not been to propose more incisive action at this stage, EFIL is happy to see that the importance of “cross-sectorial” cooperation has been recognised and expects that this approach will become the norm in future EU level youth policy.
- Intergenerational learning for inclusive societies: the report is out!
On 31 March, EFIL attended a policy debate on “Intergenerational Learning for Inclusive Societies“, hosted by EUCIS-LLL at the University Foundation in Brussels. Participants shared practices and views on how and why the intergenerational dimension should be mainstreamed in lifelong learning strategies. The outcomes of these discussions can be found in the final report.
- Bologna Process: higher education reforms still too uneven
On 13 May 2015, 47 Education Ministers from the European Higher Education Area met in Yerevan (Armenia) for a two-day conference to discuss progress in improving higher education systems and enabling students to move more freely across national borders under the so-called Bologna process. It concluded in a Ministerial Communiqué and Fourth Bologna Policy Forum Statement. The latest Bologna implementation report published shows that there is still much to be done, as one average, only 7 of 10 students go through a higher education programme, while half of the countries’ completion rates are as low as 30-50%. The report also finds that funding and knowledge of languages are considered the biggest barriers to student mobility.
- European Parliament votes on advancing 1 billion euro in pre-financing for Youth Employment Initiative
On 29th April, the European Parliament carried out Commissioner for Employment, Social affairs, Skills and Labour mobility Marianne Thyssen’s proposal to make 1 billion euro available for youth employment already this year. This will “increase by up to 30 times the pre-financing Member States receive” and allow them to “speed up their efforts to get young people into jobs, apprenticeships, traineeships or continued education”, she says, as youth employment is one of the Commission’s priority.
- Youth in the Post-2015 Agenda
“Be a global citizen. Act with passion and compassion. Help us make this world safer and more sustainable today and for the generations that will follow us”. With these words UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon addressed young people at “Our World, our Dignity, our Future: the post-2015 Agenda and the Role of Youth” event organised by the European Commission and the United Nations (Brussels, 27th May 2015).
He emphasized the role of young people as “the torch-bearers” in shaping the new Sustainable Development Goals. He urged them to keep their ambitions high and raise their voices to ensure that their governments remain accountable. The European Youth Forum was part of the panel of international youth representatives.
The year 2015 also marks the 20th anniversary of the World Programme of Action for Youth, one of the most important internationally agreed paths to a better future young people deserve. Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, called on governments to enhance their efforts to implement the Action plan, and to respond to the needs, aspirations and demands of young people.
It is good news to hear that in this historic year of transition into the post-2015 agenda, the role of young people is being prioritised. It is essential that the voices of young people are heard in the creation of new Sustainable Development Goals, as they must have an active role in shaping societies of the future.
- Incheon Declaration on Education for All by 2030 adopted at World Education Forum 2015
The Incheon Declaration was adopted at the 2015 World Education Forum (WEF), in Incheon, Republic of Korea, from 18-22 May 2015. The Forum addressed five themes: the right to education; equity in education; inclusive education; quality education; and lifelong learning.
In the Incheon Declaration countries commit to undertake steps toward promoting education opportunities for all by 2030, within a framework to be finalized by November 2015. It expresses agreement on “essential elements” of the Education 2030 Framework for Action, and builds on the UN-led Education For All (EfA) framework and goals.
The Declaration welcomes the Oslo Summit on Education for Development that will take place in July 2015 and calls on the upcoming Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD 3) to support the proposed fourth sustainable development goal (SDG 4) on education, recognizing that the targets cannot be achieved without increased financing.
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