Investing in People – The Way Forward

The European Commission and the Bulgarian Presidency of the European Union marked the 60th Anniversary of the European Social Fund (ESF) by a major conference held in Sofia on 15/16 February 2018. As the title suggests it was a forward-looking event where participants had an opportunity to discuss priorities for the post-2020 MFF in the field of inclusion and social protection. The area defined as most important for further improvement towards cohesion of Europe is education.


Mutual recognition of qualifications and study periods abroad - EU public consultation until 19 February

Parents in Europe have fought for a long time for a smooth transition of their children from one European school system to the other, so that they are not restrained from accepting labour challenges that would need them to exercise their right to mobility as EU citizens by the high probability of their children's schooling being interrupted or hindered. Those parents who have older children have also experienced that exchange programmes, even EU financed Erasmus mobility means that the student's achievements are likely not to be recognised, so it results in extra exams or repeating a year. The EU is planning to make a first step by promoting a certain level of mutual recognition, that would also help parents in their own labour mobility and formal further education. You have the opportunity to contribute to the public consultation on the initiative by 19 February, so it is rather short notice.

Join the little dragon

International Book Giving Day is - as every year - an alternative to Valentine Day celebration on 14 February. The initiative is calling all adults, especially parents to think if little ones they love and help them on their journey to become lifelong readers by giving them a book. EPA joined the initiative of spreading the love of books on this day years ago. What you are invited to do? Read on to see the organisers' announcement:


Safer Internet Day 2018 – Better internet starts with empowerment

6 February marks Safer Internet Day. There is no better occasion to call the attention of parents, policy makers, providers and other actors working for internet safety that parents are key to educate their children to become responsible digital citizens, they need empowerment and education for that, and that safety will not be achieved by restrictive legislative measures instead.

This year’s topic "Create, connect and share respect: A better internet starts with you" is a great starting point for awareness raising. In Europe there is a loud group of stakeholders that are trying to lull parents into a false feeling of safety stating that it is possible to create a special safe internet highway for children by restrictive measures.


Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe - Winter session (22-26 January 2018) report

The Winter Session of the INGOs Conference was marked by several thematic debates, the election of the new Board members, and the creation of the working groups of the various committees. EPA was represented by its current representative Hermínio Corrêa.
Among the several debates organised during the week, some of the highlights were the following:


1st European Education Summit - report

EPA had the opportunity to participate at this important high-level event representing one of the main stakeholder groups of education. The event was preceded by the kick-off event of our Year of Equitable Access to Education to help highlight parents’ wishes for the European Education Area planned to be created by 2025. The summit was hosted by Tibor Navracsics, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, and took place on 25 January 2018, in Brussels. It invited EU education ministers (22 of them actually were present), education practitioners, stakeholders and business leaders to explore: how better to address inequality in education systems, how citizens can benefit from a future European Education Area, how education can help transmit our common values and what competences will be needed for the decades to come.

Playful learning – the gist of 21st century education for Europe

EPA kicked off 2018: the Year of Equitable Access to Education with a high-level event organised in partnership with the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on the eve of the 1st European Education Summit on 24 January. The event was hosted by Pavel Trantina, President of the Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship (EESC SOC) and attended by Commissioner Tibor Navracsics, MEP István Újhelyi (S&D) and EESC member Renate Heinisch.