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school students’ europe 2019 European Parliament Election Platform

Educational roadmap A short guide to education policy of the mayor european parties

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Introduction Between the 22nd and the 25th of May the EU citizens have the chance to cast their vote for the European Parliament elections for the eighth time. These elections are a crucial moment for all who wish to take part in the European project and democracy, and will have great consequences on the orientation of the European Union in the following years. Despite the importance of these elections, the participation of particularly young people has been very low in the past years. If we wish these elections to be a success, and truly representative, the youth’s and school students’ voices must be heard and their needs taken into consideration. We want to encourage school students’ to get informed, make their choice for the upcoming elections and claim their voice to give education the priority it deserves in the next mandate of the European Parliament. This is why we asked the four major parties, according to the number of seats, in the European Parliament to share their vision when it comes to education. All four parties were posted the same questions, aligned with the fields prioritised by OBESSUs Member Organisation for the upcoming Parliament elections. With this educational roadmap we wish to give a nonpartisan overview on the main positions in education. Other issues are taken in account in the tool, created by the League of Young Voters.

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We asked the political parties about their general positions when it comes to education and youth policy

The Greens-European Free Alliance

Greens/ EFA

Young people are the future AND the present of Europe. The economic crisis has affected them more than any other group. We Greens do not see the present crisis as short-term catastrophe. We want to address the root causes and advocate for transformational strategies. Redefining education as a pluralistic process focusing on the individual is of benefit to the whole society. For this we have to set up multiple access points to education, independent of societal background or their previous educational path. We are also facing a Europeanisation of policies, people, information and capital, and from that viewpoint, we are pleased with the fruits of our efforts on the Erasmus+ program, achieving more mobility between students and between school staff all over the European Union. At the European level, we want to establish youth policy as an independent policy field, and at the same time mainstream the needs and demands of young people in all policy fields. We want to see future young people benefit from high-quality education, have good and fair job opportunities, and play an active role in the society without any restrictions, across Europe. However, any promises made to the younger generations are hardly credible without a fundamental change in the economic outlook towards a sustainable, de-carbonised and human-centric economy.

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe

ALDE

For ALDE, improving education, fostering innovation and job mobility are key to encouraging growth and the creation of new jobs in Europe. As detailed in our European election Manifesto ‘A Europe that works’ , apprenticeship diplomas and university diplomas must be freely recognised across borders, and dual training, university and enterprise across borders must be strengthened. We support the notion of a ‘fifth freedom’, the free movement of knowledge including greater mobility for students, academics and researchers between member states, so as to encourage innovation. We have always championed the ERASMUS programme and recognised the vast number of advantages this programme offers. For the first time, the European Parliament was on an equal footing with the European Council in negotiating the European Union’s budget for 2014-2020, which gave MEPs and ALDE a strong position in the debates, calling for an increased budget for the next series of culture and education programmes, in particular the Erasmus + Programme. The European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism, Sport, Media and Youth Androulla Vassiliou (ALDE) has done a great job over the past five years to further develop this programme and ensure an even greater funding for cross border learning in the future.

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We asked the political parties about their general positions when it comes to education and youth policy

PES

Party of European Socialists

In our PES Fundamental Programme we identified the following core elements of our education policy. “Access to free, quality education for all is a cornerstone of a just society. The new Social Deal must guarantee equal opportunities to learn and progress for all women and men throughout their lives. Quality education embodies our pledge that everyone is guaranteed equal opportunities throughout life, whatever the socioeconomic, cultural background, gender, the place they live in or their position in society. Quality education empowers people, as citizens and as workers to influence societies they live in. Our commitment to the principle of individual empowerment translates to our demand for equal access to quality education and sound learning for all, while knowledge and information should be seen as a public good accessible for all. Starting from early years, individuals must have possibilities to acquire knowledge, skills and abilities, education must equip people to overcome all the challenge in life. Equal access to quality education starting at the earliest stages in life, through high quality and affordable childcare for all, is the first and essential building block for a fulfilling life. It is a tool also to fight stereotypes, prejudices and stigmatisation.

Formal and informal learning are all important. Further efforts to properly assess education and skills on the European Union level are desired in order to ensure that the principle of equality and social justice apply for all. Assessing education and skills across the European Union is necessary to ensure that equal opportunities apply to all and in the same way on the European labour market. Common quality standards for dual education, for apprenticeships and for internships should apply, to ensure the best possible education and training, while avoiding that young people are exploited. European exchange programmes foster inter-cultural understanding and the sense of a European identity. They should be further developed.“

European People’s Party

EPP

We want a bright future for Europe and its citizens. We are determined to lead Europe out of the crises. We want our economies to return to job-rich growth. Young people should look to their future with confidence. The EPP view and EPP policies on education and youth are mentioned in the most important EPP documents: EPP Party Platform (adopted in October 2012), EPP action programme (adopted in March 2014) and EPP manifesto (adopted in March 2014). Please find below the EPP position on education and youth:

>> Europe needs to focus on digital illiteracy and to build stronger links between education, new technologies and innovation

The EU has to stay on top of up-to-date developments in education to provide youth with employment opportunities

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>> EPP highlights the importance of multiannual programme 2013-2020 with regard to education, youth and citizenship

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We asked the political parties about their general positions when it comes to education and youth policy EPP

>> EPP invests in education, research and technology, leading to innovation, new ideas, a competitive economy rooted in knowledge and new digital services.

We support measures to promote entrepreneurship at EU and Member State level, such as encouraging Member States to integrate entrepreneurial education in school curricula and strengthening the entrepreneurship elements within the youth guarantee to promote entrepreneurship and self-employment amongst youths.

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>> We want innovative education systems and better qualifications for our citizens as well as modern, life-long

learning training systems in order to provide access to high-quality jobs which match the needs of new production models.

>> Labour mobility: as language skills are often a key barrier to labour mobility within Europe, policies to reinforce language training in education or on the job should be a priority.

We will evaluate the viability of implementing successful national measures against youth unemployment, such as dual vocational education, opportunities for flexible employment, traineeships and apprenticeships to see how they can be applied by other EU Member States.

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>> We support a mobility programme for young entrepreneurs, based on the model of the Erasmus programme.

10,000 exchanges per year could be organised through this programme which would facilitate a new generation of entrepreneurs to realise the benefits of the Internal Market. Furthermore, EPP suggests the following actions in the field of education and youth

>> To have a complete internal higher education market by achieving: Full recognition of qualifications across

Europe; a European framework for education standards; greater cooperation in research and increased mobility of students and lecturers beyond the existing mobility programmes; automatic recognition of degrees in all EU member states; a universal graduate diploma in the EU, which would allow full freedom of movement of students across the EU.

>> To introduce EU education in schools across Europe in order to prepare the next generation for future challenges and to nurture to a European approach towards sustainable development.

>> To launch an annual EU Job Fair week in higher education institutions across the EU. >> To launch an EU-sponsored network for young entrepreneurs in order to facilitate an exchange of experience, ideas and to foster transborder joint projects and investment.

>> To focus R&D and innovation investment on boosting the economy and job creation. >> To harmonise the procedures of establishing a company in all the EU Member States. >> To launch an official EU network for collaboration between SMEs, large companies and educational institutions.

>> To support the full implementation of the Points of Single Contact for start-

ups, introduced by the European Commission and to further develop the EURES jobs site. United, we can make sure that young people look at the future with optimism, hope and confidence.

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How can we ensure school students’ rights and social inclusion in education?

The Greens-European Free Alliance

Greens/ EFA

Education is about the needs and the personal dimension of the individual, not about equipping the labour market. This is why the education system is one of the core structures that need to be changed and reformed towards more openness and flexibility in order to guarantee emancipation, and thus giving more space to nonformal education. This, of course, also has to concern early school leavers. When addressing this situation, we believe the gender dimension also needs to be strongly taken into consideration. We also need to continue to fight youth poverty and promote more financial investment in this area, advocating for example, for more social housing for young people in need.

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe

ALDE

In accordance with the subsidiarity principle, the implementation of reforms in the areas of social policy and education remain the responsibility of the respective national governments. European Parliament has always supported close cooperation between Member States in the fields of education and training and enhancing the European dimension in Member States’ education policies and so has been an advocate for the establishment of a solid legal basis for education and training. The ALDE Party is also a supporter of implementing the Youth Guarantee and our MEPs voted to ensure the scheme was approved by the European Parliament with European budget funding available.

Party of European Socialists

PES

One of the cornerstones of the PES Manifesto for the 2014 European Elections is the sentence: “We will fight for a Europe that leaves no one behind.” We define the quality and affordability of education as a crucial components of our societies, and call on the EU to support Member States in the effective and fair redistribution of wealth and opportunities. We also call for binding targets on employment, education and social cohesion, and reiterate our commitment to investing in education, skills, childcare provision, life-long learning, culture, student mobility, research, and knowledge.

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How can we ensure school students’ rights and social inclusion in education?

European People’s Party

EPP

It is regrettable that poverty and social exclusion affects millions of Europeans and threatens the vindication of citizen’s human rights. We must achieve progress in the fight against poverty and social exclusion. We must not forget national minorities. In fact, the European Union should develop a legislative framework for the protection of persons and communities belonging to national minorities. Furthermore the EU should encourage that best practices in this area are shared between member states. The EPP group within the European Parliament have taken a strong position on promoting measures to fight social inclusion and violence in schools.

>> Erasmus +

For instance, the EPP group has promoted and defended the “Erasmus +” programme, which opens up new opportunities for school students.

>> Written Declaration on establishing a European Day against Bullying and School Violence

The Written Declaration on establishing a European Day against Bullying and School Violence was adopted in the European Parliament on the initiative of EPP MEP Mr. Georgios KOUMOUTSAKOS and supported by the other EPP Members of the European Parliament. http://arc.eppgroup.eu/press/showpr.asp?prcontroldoctypeid=1&prcontrolid=11637&prcontentid=19336&prc ontentlg=en

>> Social Investment Pact

The EPP group in the European Parliament has strongly supported the Social Investment Pact. The pact includes measures to help disadvantaged groups and enhance social inclusion. Notable initiatives include the Social Business Initiative or “Investing in Children” which includes measures to improve the effectiveness of educational systems.

>> Social and professional integration of people with disabilities into the labour market

The EPP Group has also promoted a new framework for the social and professional integration of people with disabilities into the labour market. Eight main areas for action have been prioritised: Accessibility, Participation, Equality, Employment, Education and training, Social protection, Health, and External action. Many other resolutions, e.g. “protecting children in the digital world”; “resolution on tackling early school leaving” were supported and voted for by the EPP Group in the European Parliament.

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How can we foster citizenship education and ensure active participation of school students from local to European level?

The Greens-European Free Alliance

Greens/ EFA

Like during our Green Primary, we believe that young people should have a say in decisions that affect them and therefore we believe that the voting age should be lowered to 16 in all elections across Europe. We also want to see the EU support youth participations programs and develop an open and transparent process of consultation with youth organisations at all levels, and especially on discussions concerning the EU budget. Additionally, specific measures should be taken, so that the traditionally excluded communities such as young people with disabilities, young migrants or youth from poorer families are included in this process. Those measures should go hand in hand with an increase in citizenship education in both formal and non-formal education systems.

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe

ALDE

ALDE have always championed the ERASMUS programme and recognised the vast number of advantages this programme offers. The European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism, Sport, Media and Youth Androulla Vassiliou (ALDE) has done a great job over the past five years to further develop this programme and ensure an even greater funding for cross border learning in the future. The ALDE Members of the next European Parliament will continue this work and also support international school student organisations, like OBESSU, in their goals.

Party of European Socialists

PES

Education is not only about supplying the labour market. It is also about providing pupils with new skills needed in the 21st century, such as citizenship education, improved social skills, health education, and increased language education. At the same time, obstacles to mobility need to be removed, notably those relating to transparency and the recognition and use of qualifications. Furthermore, in the report on “Combating Youth Unemployment” we also identify non-formal education, for instance the engagement of young people in non-governmental organisations, “as crucial in the development of young people. It helps them to acquire valuable soft skills that are usually not provided in the formal education system.” “Although a large proportion of young people participate in non-formal education, too little is done to ensure its quality, to support young people participating in it and to recognise the learning outcomes. Therefore a European Quality Assurance Framework with concrete targets should be introduced. It should take the form of an agreement between all stakeholders in non-formal education on how quality assurance in that field is to be structured, contain an agreed set of standards, procedures and guidelines on quality assurance and specify the role and obligations of all stakeholders.”

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How can we foster citizenship education and ensure active participation of school students from local to European level?

European People’s Party

EPP

The EPP has very active youth branches, the European Democrat Students (EDS) and the Youth of the EPP (YEPP) which help us in raising awareness amongst young people all over the EU. Via their activities they stimulate other young people to participate in shaping their countries’ future and allow young people to have their voices heard. For instance, YEPP, together with EPP think-tank Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies and EPP initiated campaign “Up2Youth” aimed at increasing youth participation in the European civil society. https://www.up2youth.eu/en#!/en It was a public opinion survey, online initiative for young Europeans to express and exchange ideas on the issues that matter the most to them. For instance, education, jobs, social policy, foreign affairs etc. The “Erasmus+” package, which was strongly supported by the EPP, allows young people to discover Europe and learn more about European Union.

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VET is often considered as a good way to combat youth unemployment, what can be done to ensure quality Vocational Education and Training?

The Greens-European Free Alliance

Greens/ EFA

We advocate the dual system of vocational training and education because it matches vocational experience and institutional trajectories. If embedded into the framework of social partnership, we believe it can help to foster a more socially responsible economy. However, we believe work still has tobe done on the lack of framework for social partnerships and corporate social responsibility.

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe

ALDE

We believe that vocational education and training needs to be treated as a long-term common political priority. The report ‘European cooperation in vocational education and training to support the Europe 2020 strategy’ adopted by the European Parliament in June 2011 was authored by ALDE MEP Nadja Hirsch on behalf of the EMPL committee. In this report, MEPs stated this can only be translated into reality only with the participation and commitment of all stakeholders, as well as the EU institutions and the Member States. We believe that the greatest social and economic crisis now facing Europe is unemployment, especially among our young people. These European elections must be about identifying opportunities through employment, education and training and this is the top priority for those elected as ALDE Members of the next European Parliament. Unless this crisis is urgently tackled we could end up with a whole generation of young people in long term unemployment.

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VET is often considered as a good way to combat youth unemployment, what can be done to ensure quality Vocational Education and Training?

PES

Party of European Socialists

Vocational training is indeed key to matching demand and offer. In the report on “Combating Youth Unemployment” adopted by the PES Presidency in 2012, we said that “Towards the end of their education, young people should receive personalised career counselling and guidance, that helps them to find the right tertiary education offer, a training place in the dual education system or a job. The availability of vocational training in the framework of the dual education system needs to be improved. With the instrument of the European Youth Employment Strategy […], the creation of new jobs for all young people can be supported, therefore bridging shortages on the labour market for youth.” In addition to being a tool for education and fulfilment for the general population, vocational training can also be an invaluable tool for social integration, notably for disabled people. In that same report on “Combating Youth Unemployment”, we identified that “Disabled young people need more specific support not only to enter the labour market but also during the job to maintain their job, depending on the severity of their disability. To enter the labour market, an integrative vocational training programme, apprenticeship training or the acquisition of partial skills should be offered. For young people with severe disabilities, personal assistance at the workplace should be introduced ensuring a needs-based, self-determined, self-organised and equal employment participation of these young people.” Last but not least, educational choices remain largely gender segregated. It is crucial to offer women and men opportunities in non-traditional sectors, and to support people of one gender who decide to take up apprenticeships or other forms of education in sectors dominated by the other gender.

European People’s Party

EPP

As was already mentioned, the EPP attaches great importance to the role of high-quality education in creating a competitive and dynamic knowledge-based EU society. Alongside VET, the EPP has proposed many more concrete actions to fight youth unemployment. Most of them were mentioned in the first answer. Additionally, our youth branch “YEPP” (youth of the EPP) has also came up with concrete proposals to fight youth unemployment. 33 centre-right youth organizations adopted this declaration in 2012. For instance, not only should high quality education be guaranteed, but also the number of opportunities to gain practical experience during the course of secondary or higher education should be increased. http://youthepp.eu/news/representatives-33-centre-right-youth-organizations-adopt-declaration-youth-unemployment

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School Students’ Europe 2019 - Educational Roadmap


School Students’ Europe 2019 - Educational Roadmap

Educational Roadmap  

School Students' Europe 2019 OBESSU asked four parties, currently holding the most seats in the European Parliament to share their vision wh...