The current pandemic has disrupted education and training systems across the continent but while doing so, it has raised many questions for its future, too. It has highlighted the dire need for young people and adults to gain greater competences, knowledge and skills as the sole opportunity for a fair, just and sustainable recovery of Europe, as well as for re-orienting the economy toward a green, digital and inclusive kind. What we have witnessed due to the Covid-19 crisis has been a shift to the “virtual world” becoming central if not essential; learners and teaching staff forced to switch to emergency distance learning overnight; parents who have had to support their children in learning from home and most jobs, if not lost, mandatorily carried out remotely. This is obviously the best-case scenario for the luckiest among us who could afford to take care of each other and have had access to the right infrastructure, not to mention competences and resilience. Consequently, mental health has also become a serious issue, especially for young people, and a key focus as people have been isolated for long periods of time and, in too many cases, made feel redundant.
With this statement, we wish to call for European Institutions and Member States to ensure that the National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRPs) seriously commit to robust investment and public expenditure in public services such as education and training.