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European Education Policies Gaby Hostens 16th AEEE Conference Ghent, August 23rd 2006. Introduction A new era in educational policymaking in Europe A European area of education. A Europe of knowledge

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European Education Policies

Gaby Hostens

16th AEEE Conference

Ghent, August 23rd 2006

  • A new era in educational policymaking in Europe
  • A European area of education. A Europe of knowledge
  • Education and training : tools to achieve, to implement sectoral policies, f.e. employment, innovation, social cohesion, economic growth, etc.

- Greater centrality of education and training

Maastricht Treaty (1992)
  • G8 : The Cologne Charter (1999)
  • EU : The Lisbon Summit (March 2000)
  • Open Method of Coordination
  • The Objectives Report (2001)
  • Detailed Work Programme (2002)
  • Benchmarks and Benchmarking
  • Barcelona Summit (March 2002)
  • Enhanced Cooperation in VET (Copenhagen Process)
10. Key Competences

11. The European Indicator of Language Competence

12. A European Area of Education

13. A larger Playing Field for Educational policymakers

Maastricht Treaty (1992)

a. A new treaty for the EU : focus on monetary, fiscal, economic, budgetary policies

b. Education (art. 149)

“The Community shall contribute to the development of quality education by encouraging cooperation between Member States and, if necessary, by supporting and supplementing their action, while fully respecting the Member States for the content of teaching and the organisation of education systems and their cultural and linguistic diversity.”

Europe’s role : limited !

* Contribute to the development of quality education

* Support and supplement actions

* Fully respect the responsability of the member states

Community actions aiming at :

* Development of a European dimension

* Mobility of teachers and students

* Foreign language teaching

* Exchange of experience and information

* Cooperation between educational establishments

→ Socrates programme : - Erasmus

- Comenius

- Lingua

- Grundtvig

- Arion

- Etc.

c. Vocational training (art. 150)

“The Community shall implement a vocational training policy which shall support and supplement the action of the Member States, while fully respecting the responsibility of the Member States for the content and organisation of vocational training”

Europe’s role : limited !

* Support and supplement the actions of member states

Community actions aim to :

* Facilitate adaptation to industrial changes through vocational training and retraining

* Improve initial and continuing vocational training

* Facilitate access to vocational training and encourage mobility of institutions and trainees

* Stimulate cooperation on training between educational or training establishments and firms

* Etc.

d. Subsidiarity in governance

“Whatever can be decided and executed at a lower shall be decided and executed at that level”

→ “The Council (…) shall adopt incentive measures, excluding any harmonisation of the laws and regulations of the member states to contribute to the achievement of the objectives”

* “The challenge every country faces now is how to become a learning society and to ensure that its citizens are equipped with the knowledge, skills and qualifications they will need in the next century.

Economies and societies are increasingly knowledge-based. Education and skills are indispensable to achieving economic success, civic responsibility and social cohesion. The next century will be defined by flexibility and change, more than ever there will be a demand for mobility”

* Essential elements of Lifelong Learning Strategy

- Early years

- Primary education

- Secondary education

- Vocational education

- Higher education

- Adult education

“At all stages emphasis should be given to the importance of creativity, entrepreneurship and education for democratic citizenship, including respect for the political, civil and human rights of all people, the value of tolerance and pluralism, and an understanding and respect for the diversity of different communities, views and traditions”
* Effective strategies to modernize education and training :

- Teachers are the most vital resource

- Increased public and private investment

- Modern and effective ICT networks

- International tests to benchmark student


- Promotion of foreign languages

The Lisbon Summit (March 2000)

a. A strategic objective for the next decade

“To become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge- based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion”

b. An overall strategy aimed at modernising the European social model

- By investing in people

- By building an active welfare state

- By combating social exclusion

c. Invitation to education ministers

* Undertake a general reflection on the future objectives of education

* Focus on common concerns and priorities

* Respect national diversity

* Report to the European Council in spring 2001

4. Open method of coordination

a. Definition : an instrument to monitor and follow-up on the implementation of commonly agreed objectives goal by spreading best practice and achieving convergence towards these objectives

b. How does OMC work ?

* Fixing guidelines and timetables to achieve the strategic goal

* Establishing quantitative and qualitative indicators and benchmarks

* Periodic monitoring, evaluation, peer review as mutual learning processes

* European guidelines are translated into national and regional targets

OMC helps countries in

* Developing their own policies

* Sharing good practice

* Reviewing the outcomes of their policies

The objectives report (2001)

a. General aims for education and training

* Development of the individual : realise his potential and live a good life

* Development of the society : foster democracy, reduce disparities and inequities, promote cultural diversity

* Development of the economy : ensure that skills of the labour force correspond to the economic and technological evolution

b. Challenges for Europe in this decade :

* Changes in working life

* Society, demography and migration

* Equal opportunities and social cohesion

* Enlargement (access of new countries)

c. Ambitious agenda for education and training systems : improved quality, facilitation of universal access, opening-up to the wider world

d. 3 strategic objectives

I. Increasing the quality and effectiveness of education and training systems in the EU

II. Facilitating the access of all to education and training systems

III. Opening up education and training systems to the wider world

e. 13 associated objectives

I. Increasing the quality and effectiveness of resources

1. Improving education and training for teachers and trainers

2. Developing skills for the knowledge society

3. Ensuring access to ICT’s for everyone

4. Increasing the recruitment to scientific and technical studies

5. Making the best use of resources

II. Facilitating the access of all

6. Open learning environment

7. Making learning more attractive

8. Supporting active citizenship, equal opportunities and social cohesion

III. Opening up education and training to the wider world

9. Strengthening the links with working life and research and society at large

10. Developing the spirit of enterprise

11. Improving foreign language learning

12. Increasing mobility and exchanges

13. Strengthening European cooperation

Detailed work programme (2002)

a. An ambitious agenda

“For the benefit of citizens and the Union as a whole the following should be achieved in education and training by 2010 :

- The highest quality will be achieved in education and training and Europe will be recognised as a world-widereference for the quality and relevance of its education and training systems and institutions

- Education and training systems in Europe will be compatible enough to allow citizens to move between them and to take advantage of their diversity

- Holders of qualifications, knowledge and skills acquired anywhere in the EU will be able to get them effectively validated throughout the Union for the purpose of career and further learning

- Europeans, at all ages, will have access to lifelong learning

- Europe will be open to cooperation for mutual benefitswith all other regions and should be the most-favoured destination of students, scholars and researchers from other world regions”

b. A single format for discussions on each associated objective

* Rationale

* Key issues to be addressed

* Organisation of follow up

- Timeline

- Quantitative tools : indicators to measure progress

- Qualitative tools : themes for exchange of good practice and peer review

c. f.e. Improving education and training teachers and trainers

* Key issues :

- Professional profile : which skills do teachers need in the knowledge society

- Professional development : initial and in-service-training in a lifelong learning


- Adequate supply of effective teachers by making the career more attractive

- Attracting recruits with professional experience in other fields

* Indicators to measure progress

- Shortage/surplus of qualified teachers

- Number of applicants for training


- % of teachers who follow in-service- training

* Themes for exchange of good practice and organisation of peer review

- Evaluation of training programmes for teachers

- Conditions for becoming a teacher

- Inclusion of ICT, foreign languages, European dimension in study and training plans of teachers

- Improvement of working conditions

Benchmarks and benchmarking

a. Policy rationale : soft pressure, moral obligation

Open method of Coordination

b. Setting benchmarks is

a crucial, = to monitor progress effectively

a sensitive = setting benchmarks

and is highly political

a difficult = technically difficult


c. 5 benchmarks : to be achieved by 2010

- Early school leavers : An EU average of no more than 10 % early schoolleavers should be achieved

- Mathematics, science and technology : The total number of graduates in mathematics, science and technology should increase by at least 15 % while at the same time the level of gender imbalance should decrease

- Completion of upper secondary education :

At least 85 % if 22-year-olds should have completed upper secondary education

- Basic skills : The percentage of low- achieving 15-years-olds in reading literacy should have decreased by at least 20 % compared to the year 2000

- Lifelong learning : The average level of participation in lifelong learning should be at least 12,5 % of the adult working age population (25-64 age group)

P.S. No benchmark for investment in human resources !

Reaching the European benchmarks in the field of education would imply in 2010 :

* 2 million fewer young people would have left school early

* 2 million more would have graduated from upper secondary education

* 200.000 less 15 years old would be low performers in reading literacy

* 4 million more adults would participate in lifelong learning

* All students leaving school would be able to communicate in two foreign languages

(from Progress towards the Lisbon Objectives in Education and Training. Commission staff working document, Brussels, 16.05.2006)

8. Barcelona EU summit (March 2002) calls for further action

- Introduction of instruments to ensure transparency of diplomas and qualifications (ECTS, diploma and certificate supplements, European CV)

- Closer cooperation in the context of the Bologna process

- Simular action in the area of vocational training (Copenhagenprocess)

- Improved mastery of basic skills by teaching at least two foreign languages from a very early age; establishment of a linguistic competence indicator in 2003 (sic !); development of digital literacy; generalisation of an Internet and computer user’s certificate for secondary school pupils (ECDL)

9. Enhanced cooperation in VET = Copenhagen process

a. The Bologna process : paving the way

* Ante : European higher education area

- Lack of transparancy in structures

- No quality assurance mechanism

- No recognition of qualifications, credits

* Post : The answer :

- Bachelor – Master

- Accreditation


b. Rationale for enhanced cooperation in VET

* Current situation

- Highly fragmented VET : school- based, work-based

- No transfer of credits

- Uneven quality across countries

- New providers

* The answer

- Greater transparency of structures

- Recognition of qualifications and competences

- Minimum standards in VET

c. Work programme : development of

* Tools to support transparency :

European Qualification Framework

* Instrument for credit transfer

* Criteria and principles for quality in VET

10. Key competences

a. Objectives report and detailed work programme :

- Numeracy and literacy (foundation skills)

- Basic competences in mathematics, science and technology

- Foreign languages

- ICT skills and use of technology

- Learning to learn

- Social skills

- Entrepreneurship

- General culture

b. Key competences for lifelong learning. A European Reference Framework, November 2004

- Key competences are crucial for

* Personal fulfilment and development throughout life (cultural capital)

* Active citizenship and social cohesion

(social capital)

* Employability (human capital)

- Key competences are

* Transferable : applicable in many situations and contexts

* Multifunctional : can be used to achieve several objectives, to solve different kinds of problems

* Applicable across all levels of education and training contexts throughout lifelong learning

- Overall definition :

Key competences represent a transferable, multifunctional package of knowledge, skills and attitudes that all individuals need for personal fulfilment and development, inclusion and employment. These should have been developed by the end of compulsory schooling or training, and should act as a foundation for further learning as part of lifelong learning

- List of key competences

* Communication in the mother tongue

* Communication in foreign languages

* Mathematical literacy and basic competences in science and technology

* Digital competence

* Learning to learn

* Social and civic competences

* Sense of initiative and entrepreneurship

* Cultural awareness and expression

- Definition of selected key competences * Communication in the mother tongue

Communication in the mother tongue is the ability to express and interpret concepts, thoughts, feelings, facts and opinions in both oral and written form (listening, speaking, reading and writing), and to interact linguistically in an appropriate and creative way in the full range of societal and cultural contexts – education and training, work, home and leisure

* Learning-to-learn

Learning-to-learn is the ability to pursue and persist in learning. Individuals should be able to organise their own learning, including through effective management of time and information, both individually and in groups. Competence includes awareness of one’s learning process and needs, identifying available opportunities, and the ability to handle obstacles in order to learn successfully. It means gaining, processing and assimilating new knowledge and skills as well as seeking and making use of guidance. Learning to learn

engages learners to build on prior learning and life experiences

in order to use and apply knowledge and skills in a variety of contexts – at home, at work, in education and training. Motivation and confidence are crucial to an individual’s competence

* Sense of initiative and entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship refers to an individual’s ability to turn

ideas into action. It includes creativity, innovation and risk-taking, as well as the ability to plan and manage projects in order to achieve objectives. This supports individuals, not only in their everyday lives at home and in society, but also in the workplace, in being aware of the context of their work and being able to seize opportunities. It is a foundation for the more specific skills and knowledge needed by individuals establishing social or commercial activities

11. The European Indicator of Language Competence

a. Barcelona (March 2002)

Action is needed :

“To improve the mastery of basic skills, in particular by teaching at least two foreign languages from a very early age : establishment of a linguistic competence indicator in 2003 (sic !)

b. 2006 : Council document

- Context

* The need for reliable comparative data on the outcomes of foreign language teaching and learning

* The development of the indicator must fully respect the responsibility of Member States for the organisation of their education systems

- Terms of reference

* Testing of competences in first and second foreign languages : Isced level 2 (or Isced level 3 if a second foreign language is not taught before the end of Isced 2)

* Assessment of competences in the four productive and receptive skills : listening, reading, writing, speaking). First round : not speaking !

- Advisory board

12. A European area of education

a. Driving forces : who is at the steering wheel ?

* Setting the agenda

* Enhance ownership of European education policies

* Avoid a democratic deficit ! Involvement of a great many stakeholders

b. Subsidiarity

* Striking a delicate balance between

- European soft law

- National policymaking : cultural and linguistic diversity

* Objectives report : impact on national curricula, organisation of education and training, mobility of teachers, etc.

13. A larger playing field for educational policymakers ?

a. Greater centrality for education and training in knowledge- based societies

b. New global players :

* New providers of education and training

* New certifiers of competences

* Trade in educational services