On 10 March, EFEE organised its first Policy Working Group on Schools of the year 2021, chaired by Mr. Jens Vermeersch (GO! Onderwijs van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap, Belgium). In total, 27 EFEE members and interested parties from 17 different European countries participated. Focal point of this meeting was the exchange with members on the latest initiatives set up by the European Commission. These initiatives include the post ET 2020 groups, the Education for Climate Coalition as well as Action 9 and 14 of the Digital Education Action Plan, the European Digital Certificate and the Digital Education Hub.

At the beginning of the meeting, participants were provided with a substantial policy overview of the education sector, both on a European and international level as well as the latest European developments on schools. Thereon, subsequently, the four most prominently discussed initiatives these days were presented in greater-depth: The post ET 2020 groups, the Education for Climate Coalition as well as the European Digital Certificate and Digital Education Hub under the umbrella of the Digital Education Action Plan. Participants were informed that all three initiatives still find themselves in the early stages of developments, with EFEE closely following up with DG EAC and JRC on therewith bound progresses. Subsequently, the new EFEE project “Strengthening the capacity of education employers within the European Semester process”. The project was kicked off on 18 March during the first Advisory Group meeting of the project and will run until approximately March 2022. The overall aim of the project is to strengthen the role and expend the external capacities of education employer in the European Semester process both on EU and national level. In the light of this, the objective of the project will be to provide participating members with substantial trainings and knowledge in terms of how to enter the European Semester on both policy-making levels. This training will be conducted by an experienced external expert during two virtual workshops in the Netherlands (for northern countries) and Greece (for southern countries) in May and June this year.

Closing the Policy Working Group, the results of the EFEE 2020 evaluation survey and potential topics for projects in 2022 were shared with members. With 15 respondents, the overall feedbacks regarding EFEE day-to-day management turned out to be positive with EFEE members suggesting to focus on some of the following topics:  Early and Childhood Education and Care, inclusion and digitalization, teacher training, distant learning as well as cross-sectoral cooperation. As regard to future EFEE internal meetings, Rodrigo Queiroz e Melo (CNEF, Portugal) recommended to gather information from different countries, through submitting to the members short inquiries on a specific subject that could be later on brought to the EU institutions. To conclude, the Chair discussed with members the frequency of EFEE Policy working group meetings on Schools and suggested creating a doodle to propose a single topic for future shorter meetings. EFEE General Secretary, Mr. Daniel Wisniewski welcomed this new way to engage with the members as it could facilitated the secretariat work in gathering inputs ahead of consultations.

For more details, please contacsamira.buhrer@educationemployers.eu