The European Federation of Education Employers (EFEE) very much welcomes the initiatives by the European Commission to improve key competences and digital skills of European citizens, to promote common values and inclusive education. It is our aim as education employers to make sure that the skills of our teachers, our professors, our researchers and our school leaders are excellent, up-to date and modern. At the same time, we must ensure that those we educate have the competences required by our 21st century society. In a world where change is continuous, it is not possible to predict accurately what specific competences will be required in the future. Accordingly, the emphasis has to be on a broad set of key competences supporting people across Europe in gaining the skills and competences needed for personal fulfilment, employability and social inclusion.

EFEE therefore agrees with the renewed focus on Key Competences for Lifelong learning, as emphasised in the proposal for a Council Recommendation[1]. In particular, EFEE welcomes the foreseen support for educators as regards competence-oriented lifelong learning in education, training and learning settings and the exchange of good practices in this field.

Moreover, the Digital Education Action Plan is in line with EFEE’s mission to contribute to a modern European education sector. EFEE reaffirms that open learning environments require the leaders of educational institutions to play an active role by providing a strategic vision transforming institutions into connected learning communities and stimulating professionals to strive for innovative teaching approaches. Mobilising all stakeholders to change the role of digital technologies in education institutions is a challenge and an opportunity for our sector. Employers, trade unions, school leaders and others can contribute to the creation of an atmosphere that empowers educators to make use of innovative and digital tools, among others by continuous professional development courses, getting inspired via peer learning, and networking with colleagues. EFEE therefore will follow with close attention the proposed measures from the Digital Education Action Plan on empowering and connecting educators.

Last but not least, EFEE actively promotes in its work the need for social inclusion and achieving high quality education. With increasing mobility and immigration, European societies are becoming more and more diverse. This poses new challenges to our education and training systems. It calls for greater emphasis to be placed on promoting inclusion and common values to combat all forms of intolerance and social exclusion. Furthermore it requests flexible learning pathways that respond to the different needs, abilities and capacities of the diverse group of learners in order to make sure that learners reach their full potential and unlock their talents. For developing the relevant education strategies, peer learning and the exchange of experiences within the ET2020 context have proven very valuable for EFEE and it’s members. EFEE will continue to play an active role in this regard in order to contribute to the implementation of the Paris Declaration and the proposed council recommendation on promoting common values, inclusive education, and the European dimension of teaching[2].

The presented initiatives aim to contribute to making the European Education Area 2025 a reality, launched by the European Commission in November 2017. As underlined by EFEE’s General Secretary, Daniel Wisniewski, at the 1st European Education Summit, EFEE is prepared to extensively work together with the European Commission to realize the proposed aims. A strong involvement of social partners in education, being direct decision makers for the sector, is essential in order to advance the progress in promoting inclusive education, flexible education and training pathways, recognition of diplomas and innovative teaching methodologies.

[1] COM(2018) 24

[2] COM(2018) 23

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