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The terrorist threat opens the policy of education – POLITICO

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The terrorist threat opens the policy of education - POLITICO

The idea that EU education policy is primarily focused on employment, growth and jobs will need to be adjusted following an informal meeting of education ministers last week. In a break with the dominant narrative of recent years, ministers have responded to recent terrorist events in France and Denmark by supporting a more social role for education.

The European Commission has promised to transfer funds from the Erasmus + education program to these topics, as well as to include relevant goals in the EU’s priorities in the field of education and training.

At a meeting in Paris on March 17, ministers called for renewed efforts to strengthen learning and the adoption of common fundamental values ​​from an early age. These values ​​include freedom of thought and expression, social inclusion and respect for others.

“The main goal of education is not only to develop knowledge, skills, competencies and attitudes and to introduce fundamental values, but also to help young people – in close cooperation with parents and families – to become active, responsible, open. members of society, ”the ministers said.

This change of tone has not been lost by student organizations. “It is a happy occasion to see that the EU and education ministers have finally realized the role that education can play in areas other than skills for the workplace,” said Elizabeth Gerke, President of the European Students’ Union. “This is so important because the crises facing Europe are no longer just economic.”

Tibor Navracic, the EU commissioner in charge of the education portfolio, said the ministers’ goals would be backed up by changes in EU programs and policies. “To combat radicalization, I plan to pave the way for inclusion, diversity and civic values ​​in our schools so that they are at the heart of the EU’s new education and training priorities, which I will present later this year,” he said after the meeting. “I also want to make sure that we use the Erasmus + funding program more purposefully to help these efforts. Efforts to combat radicalization will also be part of the European Security Agenda, which the Commission will address in May.

The commission later expanded its plans, saying it was considering spending more money on Erasmus + to promote democratic values ​​and fight radicalization and isolation. “Erasmus + is not just about mobility, and we intend to help schools, universities and youth groups launch new European and cross-border projects to help implement what has been agreed in Paris,” the official said. “We are talking, in fact, about other priorities of available money. A new urgency has emerged and we will do our best to respond. “

Martin Romer, European director of International Education, Federation of Teachers’ Unions, agreed that schools play a role in preventing radicalization. “Teachers need to be prepared for that, but it depends on us having the right time, the tools and the support,” he said. The scale of the necessary changes should not be underestimated. “It is not enough to do good projects. We really need to dig deep into this, and if we don’t do it all together, it will be impossible.

Navracsics will meet with youth, education and other civil society groups on April 23 to hear their views and experiences. This will inform about the preparation of further actions.

The next steps are likely to emerge when EU education ministers meet on May 18-19. But Herke also sees a chance for action if a larger group of ministers involved in the Bologna process of higher education reforms gather in Yerevan on May 14-15. “There are specific issues on the table, such as the strategy of the social dimension, that need to be adopted if we are really trying to have a real impact on the issues raised in Paris,” she said.

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