On June 21st, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the Committee on Culture and Education of the European Parliament adopted their joint report on “a new skills agenda for Europe”. The report was the result of joint efforts from civil society organisations and social partners in proposing and constant lobbying on the rapporteurs. The Lifelong Learning Platform is happy to announce that those efforts were taken into consideration by the two Committees. You can see here all the amendments and the final version of the joint report.
How did it go down? The LLL-P received in March a first version of the Report and involved member organisations willing to try and influence the process; eventually we all proposed a number of amendments to the original draft. Our vision on the New Skills Agenda comprises a wider relevance of civil society associations in taking over the recommendations and the overall role played by non-governmental organisations in broad education.
The focus of the report lied, in the first draft, on equipping learners with the necessary skills to enter and be an active part of the labour market. The LLL-P strongly counters this position, claiming that our society should “value other purposes of education, such as preparation for active citizenship and fostering social inclusion”. We believe that the objectives of education and training should not only be described in terms of employability or economic growth but also as a framework for personal development.
Also, the LLL-P stressed the importance – initially neglected – of particular aspects and outcomes external to the mere education process. For instance, the social purpose of learning and the personal development of the learners are cornerstones of our actions and we are glad to see that most MEPs stand on our side.
Finally, we are glad to see that the joint report acknowledged the importance of non-formal educators, as well as NGOs, in reaching out to the disadvantaged groups. Non-formal education actors are often better placed to reach and connect with those who are out of the formal education system, and should be thus better supported in their role.
The joint report will have to go through parliamentary approval on September 14th. Should it be approved, it would mean a great award to the commitment of our member organisations and our Secretariat, who did not cease to have faith in the place of civil society within the European arenas. Most of all, the LLL-P can be proud that such an achievement was attained in close cooperation with our members.