No Hate Speech - Zakia Akkouh's keynote and outputs from her workshop at the EPA Conference Bucharest 28/29 November 2014

First I want to express my deep gratitude for the invitation to this important conference on the role of home-school relationship in preventing violence and early school leaving. 

It is always a pleasure to get to talk about the No hate speech movement of the Council of Europe and an extra pleasure to speak to an important audience like this one. I think parents have a special role in prevention of hate speech. I will get back to this at the end of my talk.

The last years have demonstrated (perhaps clearer than ever) the internet´s immense potential for democraticising societies by lowering the barriers for participation. Furthermore it has shown what powerful combination youth  and internet can be for this purpose. Social media has proven an effective tool for young people to organize protests, campaigns, social projects. This powerful combination has brought down dictatorships across the world. A free internet is an important feature of a modern democracy. But we have also seen the negative sides to the internet. And it´s potential for spreading hate and dangerous ideologies: we know that prior to the terrible massacre of youth on Utøya the terrorist Breivik was active on online fora spreading hate and communicating with like minded. We also know that many of the young Europeans joining the IS in Iraq and Syria are recruited through the internet.


Social Platform press release: Juncker’s investment package still misses a strong social dimension

Following European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s presentation of his €315 billion ‘Jobs, Growth and Investment Package’ to the European Parliament [Nov 26], Social Platform warns that the European Social Model will not survive unless a serious commitment is made to invest in ambitious and integrated social policies.


EU Alliance celebrates 25 years of UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Press Release of the EU Alliance for Investing in Children[i] on the occasion of Universal Children’s Day

20 November marks the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Child, which rapidly became the most widely ratified international human rights treaty in history.
When almost 28% of children live at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU,[i] according to the EU Alliance for Investing in Children it is also a day to remind decision makers “to undertake all appropriate legislative, administrative, and other measures” for the implementation of children’s “economic, social and cultural rights to the maximum extent of their available resources”, as the UN Convention says.


Migrant education policies across Europe: “the most important issue facing European education over the next decade”

The SIRIUS Network on the education of children and young people with a migrant background has developed recommendations and a clear Agenda for Migrant Education in Europe that give concrete guidelines on how to improve education systems so as to decrease the achievement gap for all low-achieving students. It was introduced and discussed at a 2-day conference in Brussels, symbolically in the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee. EPA has endorsed the Agenda and participated actively in the conference putting emphasis on the importance of involving migrant parents for the school success of their children and the need for empowerment of both migrant parents and other actors (other parents, teachers, etc.) to make it become a reality.


Growing Up Digitally

Safer Internet Forum is a yearly event held by the European Commission. The focus of the event is how to create a save environment for our children on the internet. This year the focus was on parents, schools and the internet industry and our shared responsibility to create a secure environment on the internet for our children so that they can use all the benefits of the vast amount of information and entertainment on the internet. 


Investing in Education: a sine qua non condition to reach 2020 targets - EUCIS-LLL Press Release

The Education and Training Monitor 2014 reveals the alarming situation in investment in education across Europe. 19 Member States cut their education expenditure in 2012. This goes against Member States’ EU commitments to invest in growth-friendly public investment as stated in the last Annual Growth Surveys. Moreover, the messages from EU Budget negotiations of “conciliation” talks between the European Parliament and the Council on the EU budget for 2015 are worrying as proposed cuts by the Council amendments would effect fields such as education and research. This sends a very negative signal to European citizens especially at the time when hopes have been raised about the €300 billion Investment Package announced by M. Juncker. The time has also come to hear concrete proposals how the Package will support greater cohesion and solidarity in Europe. EUCIS-LLL calls on Member States to stick to their European commitments in order to reach the Europe 2020 targets.


The alternatives to immigration detention of children

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a Resolution on the alternatives to immigration detention of children on 3 October 2014. It reflects the concern about the fact that "the immigration detention of children is a growing phenomenon in the Council of Europe member States."

From a parental point of view it is very important that it calls the CoE member states to develop community-based systems that ensure that children are not separated from their parents while their immigration status is being resolved.


Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Thematic Working Group Report published

The Thematic Working Group on Early Childhood Education Care (ECEC) reflected on the diverse governance arrangements of early childhood education and care under different national authorities in the education as well as social, family and health sectors. It has developed a proposal for a European Quality Frameworkpdf(843 kB) so as to improve, monitor, and evaluate the quality of early childhood education and care systems.


A Clear Agenda for Migrant Education in Europe

The SIRIUS Network on the education of children and young people with a migrant background has spent the past three years debating policy priorities for migrant education and inclusion. The Agenda that has just been published and additional Recommendations summarise the policies that prove to be effective in promoting equal access to high quality education and training for all. It also suggests additional support mechanisms for learners with a migrant background where necessary.

Major EU-level NGO's representing different stakeholder groups endorsed the Agenda including EPA. We have added that "Parents' Associations all over Europe are aware of the challenges migrant families are facing when trying to adjust to a new country and a new education system. The European Parents' Association finds it very important that all children are supported in their education in a way that serves their best interest and at the same time parents are also given all necessary state support as stated in Article 18 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child."


FUG Annual Conference - Newsflash from Norway

Every year FUG - the National Parents’ Committee for Primary and Secondary Education in Norway – organises a conference for parents that are elected to a honorary function in their school in Norway. This year parents from kindergartens also participated. From Saturday morning until Sunday afternoon 200 parents from the whole country took part in lectures, discussions in smaller groups, sharing of experiences and more informal talk during meals and pauses. The Minister of Education was the first speaker and he talked about the importance of parent support.