On Wednesday 24 January, YPA took part in a meeting of the Lifelong Learning Interest Group under the title “Taking stock of Lifelong Learning in Europe – what will a European Education Area bring?” allowed participants to learn more about and discuss the newly proposed European Education Area by 2025.
The meeting, hosted by LLL Interest Group chair MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen and moderated by Ms Gina Ebner, Secretary-General of the European Association for the Education of Adults, was an important occasion for mid-term reflection on the work of the interest group. At the beginning, Ms Brikena Xhomaqi, Director of Lifelong Learning Platform, presented the nine guiding principles that have emerged from the work of the interest group, gathering inputs from civil society organisations and MEPs, with the view to see how these can help guide the process of developing a European Education Area by 2025. Ms Charlotte Olsson-Altansunar from the Cabinet of Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President of the Commission for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, shared the latest information on the three new initiatives proposed by the Commission to boost key competences and digital skills and promote common values: Council Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning; Digital Education Action Plan; and Council Recommendation on common values, inclusive education and the European dimension of teaching. This first batch of initiatives, published in mid-January, will be followed by a second package expected to be released in May that will cover topics such as early childhood education and care, European university networks, qualification recognition, language learning and youth strategy.
Participants were given the chance to reflect on the many points addressed, ask questions and share comments and suggestions, leading to a lively debate on how to ensure that lifelong learning and the role of non-formal and informal learning as well as that of the civil society figure prominently in the upcoming work of the Commission and the implementation by EU member states.