During the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council meeting of 17 February, the Council adopted conclusions on inclusion in diversity to achieve high-quality education for all , also in response to the Commission communication ‘Improving and modernising education’.

The conclusions recall that education policy plays a key role in increasing inclusion and respect for diversity in the European Union and that ensuring inclusive high-quality education should be seen from a lifelong perspective covering all aspects of education, and encompassing the whole school community and the community at large. They stress that high-quality education and training for all based on inclusivity, equality, appropriate competences and values also encourages employability, innovative thinking, digital skills and competences, and contributes to the development of active citizenship. The conclusions also argue that equal opportunities for all are crucial, but not sufficient: ‘equity’ in terms of the aims, content, teaching methods and forms of learning being provided for by education and training systems must be developed. It is also important to come up with concrete actions that address the needs of teachers and educators facing the increasing diversity in schools. They invite member states to promote closer cooperation and innovative approaches between education and other relevant areas, such as culture, youth, sports, employment, welfare, security and other sectors working to promote social inclusion.

While education and training remain a national competence, EU-level policies, such as Europe 2020 and the European Semester, can be used to complement and support member states’ actions in this area.

The conclusions are available here.

 Derrick Thomas Jersey