Today, the European Commission followed-up its November Communication on “Strengthening European Identity through Education and Culture” with a new package of measures aimed at strengthening key competences, digital skills and the European dimension of teaching.
The package consists of three initiatives:
- A Council Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning which updates the 2006 Recommendation on Key Competences, giving further emphasis to civic and entrepreneurship competence
- A Digital Education Action Plan which sets out the priorities of making better use of digital technology for teaching and learning, developing relevant digital skills and competences, and making better use of data analysis and foresight for improving education
- A Council Recommendation on common values, inclusive education and the European dimension of teaching which recommends Member States to take steps to boost citizenship education, critical thinking and media literacy skills, encourage active participation of students, parents and teachers in school governance, and help all pupils access quality education from an early age. It also seek to promote a better understanding of Europe’s common heritage and functioning of the EU. To support this, eTwinning and school mobility through Erasmus+ will be strengthened.
The Lifelong Learning Platform welcomes these initiatives but calls for a greater recognition of the crucial role that non-formal and informal learning plays in supporting skills and competence development as well as social inclusion. Implementation remains a particular problem for the Key Competences framework and the announced update must go hand-in-hand with effective supporting measures for learning in all its forms. Taking these initiatives forward, LLLP also encourages the Commission to more explicitly address the needs of all age groups beyond children and young people. Not all young people are students and not all students are young people – lifelong learning happens across all aspects of life and we need education policies that match this 21st century reality.
While the Digital Education Action Plan provides a useful set of guidelines for supporting innovation, LLLP feels that it is missing a broader view on the inclusion of vulnerable individuals and people from disadvantaged backgrounds, who are more likely to struggle in adapting to new technologies.
LLLP will be addressing these issues in the months ahead, firstly during the next meeting of the EP Interest Group on Lifelong Learning “Taking stock of lifelong learning in Europe – what will a European Education Area bring?” on 24 January (see here for more information). We will also be holding debates on intercultural learning and competences later this year in view of the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage. Stay tuned for more details!
 See previous LLLP statements on European Education Area, Strategy for high quality, inclusive, future-oriented education and Key Competences review