Category Archives: Lifelong learning

The concept of lifelong learning is essential to the competitiveness of the knowledge economy. It applies to all levels of education and training and concerns all stages of life, as well as the different forms of apprenticeship. Lifelong learning aims to provide citizens with tools for personal development, social integration and participation in the knowledge economy. The Comenius (for schools), Erasmus (for higher education), Leonardo da Vinci (for vocational training and education) and Grundtvig (for adult education) programmes, now united under the umbrella of the Lifelong Learning Programme, contribute to achieving these objectives.

Improving the quality of teacher education

Improving the quality of teacher education

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Improving the quality of teacher education

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Lifelong learning

Improving the quality of teacher education

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 3 August 2007 ‘Improving the Quality of Teacher Education’ [COM(2007) 392 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The quality of teaching is a key factor in the achievement of the Lisbon objectives for social cohesion, growth and economic competitiveness.

The teaching workforce must be capable of providing high quality teaching in order to enable EU citizens to acquire the knowledge and skills which they will need in their personal and professional lives.

Necessary skills

Existing investment in the continuing training and development of the teaching workforce is not sufficient. There is no Member State in which the minimum duration of training exceeds five days per year. Although participation in continuing training is compulsory for teachers in 11 Member States, teachers’ rate of participation in such training is too low to achieve a continuous level of development among teachers.

The teacher training systems currently in place in the Member States do not promote the acquisition of the new teaching skills which have been made necessary by the changes in education and in society in general.

Although teachers are required to impart basic knowledge, they are also called upon to ensure, among other things, that:

  • each learner’s specific needs are taken into account;
  • pupils become autonomous lifelong learners;
  • all young people acquire key skills;
  • teaching is adapted to a multicultural environment;
  • new technologies are used.

Joint action framework

The teaching profession has characteristics in common across the EU. It is therefore possible to arrive at a shared vision of the kinds of skills which teachers require, and to do so on the basis of certain principles.

The Commission is therefore proposing to the Member States a package of guidelines with a view to developing measures which seek to:

  • ensure that the arrangements in place for initial and continuing teacher training are well coordinated within a coherent system which receives sufficient resources;
  • ensure that teachers have the full range of subject knowledge, attitudes and pedagogic skills to be able to help young people to reach their full potential;
  • promote the status and recognition of the teaching profession;
  • create teacher training programmes at Master’s and doctorate level (and at Bachelor’s level);
  • encourage the practice of reflection and research by those in the profession;
  • investigate whether the level of qualifications and degree of practical experience required by a teaching post should be increased.

The Commission plans to take the following steps in order to support the Member States in their efforts to reform their teacher training systems:

  • ensure that its action programmes support the Member States in their efforts to improve the organisation and content of the teacher training system;
  • develop indicators in this field;
  • help to create and disseminate new knowledge in the teaching sector and in teacher education.

The Commission plans to measure the improvement in the quality of teacher education as part of the work programme ‘Education and Training 2010’.

Context

The programme ‘Lifelong Learning (2007-2013)’ promotes teacher mobility (Socrates and Leonardo da Vinci programmes) and helps to establish cooperation projects between teacher training establishments.

 

Action Plan on Adult learning – It's never too late to learn

Action Plan on Adult learning – It’s never too late to learn

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Action Plan on Adult learning – It’s never too late to learn

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Lifelong learning

Action Plan on Adult learning – It’s never too late to learn

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 27 September 2007 presenting the Action Plan on Adult learning – It is always a good time to learn [COM(2007) 558 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Adult learning opportunities are not keeping pace with the needs of individuals and society. Investing in lifelong learning is essential, but the benchmark indicator for adult participation (age 25 to 64) in lifelong learning is stagnating rather than increasing in the European Union (EU).

The Action Plan aims to make lifelong learning a reality, with emphasis on the adult learning sector.

Adult learning concerns underqualified people or those whose professional skills are obsolete. This Action Plan aims to make it possible for them to acquire key competences at all stages in their lives.

In order to develop this Action Plan, the Communication draws on the results of a wide-ranging consultation organised in the first half of 2007 with the Member States, representatives of the Ministries of Education and Employment, social partners and NGOs involved in adult learning.

Implementation of the Action Plan

The method is based on the Open Method of Coordination (OMC), which offers a non-binding intergovernmental framework for exchange and concerted action. This method, which is appropriate for adult learning, entails identifying, disseminating and making use of most good practices established by the Member States by integrating them into the ” Education and Training 2010 ” work programme and the Lifelong Learning Programme.

With the indispensable support of the Member States, the specific actions contained in the Action Plan involve:

  • analysing the reforms conducted in the Member States in all sectors of education and training and their effects on adult learning. The Commission intends to obtain national reports as of 2008 on these reforms. The results of these analyses will make it possible to conduct a thorough assessment of good practices and steer the lifelong learning programme and the resulting initiatives of the EU;
  • improving the quality of services in the adult learning sector. In order to encourage participation in adult learning, the Commission is focusing on the quality of staff (teachers, training instructors, career guidance personnel, advisers, managers and administrative staff). On the basis of the good practices identified and disseminated within the Member States, the Commission plans to develop a summary of key competences by 2009 for all adult learning professionals;
  • ensuring the efficiency and visibility of adult learning, i.e. encouraging the individuals concerned to participate more in adult learning by increasing the possibilities for them to gain a higher qualification. As of 2008, the Commission will draw on the results of a research inventory of national good practices and the results of the Community Lifelong Learning Programme, in particular those of the Grundvig Programme. A call for proposals for pilot projects to increase the visibility and efficiency of adult learning will be launched in 2009;
  • speeding up the process of implementing the European Qualifications Framework. This instrument ensures the validity and recognition of the results of learning by laying emphasis on the skills acquired outside the formal education system;
  • improving the monitoring of the sector. The Commission considers it urgent to establish a common understanding of adult learning in order to improve data comparison. Core data are required in order to organise regular monitoring (every two years) of the sector. This Action Plan involves working with the Member States to produce coherent terminology and creating a glossary of core data to be collected as of 2009 in Member States wishing to contribute to the development of the Action Plan.

By the end of 2007, a working group will be set up to help the Commission and the Member States develop actions and projects on the basis of the Action Plan. A conference will be organised in the second half of 2009 in order to make an initial assessment of implementation.

Background

The Commission bases its approach on the main challenges identified in the Communication on Adult learning – “It is never too late to learn”.

The Joint Employment Report 2006/2007 observes that a substantial improvement in adult participation in lifelong learning has not yet been achieved.

By enhancing the employability and adaptability of workers, lifelong learning has become an indissociable element of support for European competitiveness.

European survey on language competences

European survey on language competences

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European survey on language competences

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Lifelong learning

European survey on language competences

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council of 13 April 2007 entitled “Framework for the European survey on language competences” [COM (2007) 184 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The aim of the European survey on language competences is to lay the foundations for a future European Indicator of Language Competence. This indicator will provide a means of measuring and improving foreign language learning in the European Union (EU).

The European Indicator of Language Competence will make it possible to identify best teaching and learning practices. It will also allow assessment of the progress made towards the objectives of the framework Strategy for Multilingualism on European Union citizens’ access to multilingualism and of ensuring that at least two foreign languages are learnt from an early age.

The survey will be based on the scientific standards for sampling that are recognised and implemented at international level in order to ensure the reliability and comparability of the data obtained.

Language proficiency

This survey will focus on testing three language skills, namely reading, listening and writing. Instruments for testing oral communication skills will be set up at a later stage.

These skills will be tested in the official languages of the Union that are the most widely taught as first and second foreign language. These languages are English, French, German, Spanish and Italian. However, Member States wishing to test competence in other languages will be able to use this instrument to do so.

This survey will also take into account factors other than education that might impact on pupils’ language competences.

Framework for testing and testing instruments

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) will serve as a basis for testing young people’s language skills.

This tool was designed by the Council of Europe to promote and facilitate language learning. The Member States conform to the CEFR and most of them have already used the reference framework during previous language proficiency tests.

The CEFR provides several scales indicating the level of language proficiency reached. However, this framework will have to be adapted to language learning at school level, as it would take a long time for pupils to progress from one level to the next and be too expensive to test.

With respect to the target population, the survey will be aimed at young people in education between the ages of 14 and 16, learning the languages tested by this survey.

With regard to the testing instruments, the States taking part in the survey will have a choice between computer-based tests using open-source software or traditional tests based on paper. Nevertheless, even if computer-based tests have a clear advantage over paper tests, particularly in terms of costs, questions linked to software compatibility and computer and typing skills will have to be taken into account.

Implementation of the survey

As regards the financing, the Lifelong Learning Programme (2007-2013), will cover the international costs of the survey (development and coordination of the pilot tests and full tests, analysis of the results). The Member States will be in charge of organising the language proficiency tests in their territory (management of structures, training of examiners, material costs, etc.). However, the implementation of similar tests in the past and the existing organisational structures will enable Member States to achieve economies of scale.

The Member States must have the organisational structures necessary for the implementation of the survey. Those that have already participated in similar international surveys will be able to use their experience as a basis for planning the national organisational structures.

The Commission, for its part, will take the measures necessary for the implementation of the survey in close coordination with the Advisory Board on the European Indicator of Language Competence, comprising national experts and the Member States.

The preparation of the survey and the implementation of the pilot tests are planned for 2008. The implementation of full tests in the Member States is planned for the first half of 2010.

Background

The action plan ” Promoting language learning and linguistic diversity ” commits the Commission to developing a language competence indicator as part of the process of ” Education and Training 2010 “.

 

Early language teaching

Early language teaching

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Early language teaching

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Lifelong learning

Early language teaching

The idea behind early language teaching is to promote European multilingualism by promoting the early teaching of European Union languages, while maintaining Europe’s cultural and linguistic diversity.

Document or Iniciative

Council Resolution of 16 December 1997 on the early teaching of European Union languages [Official Journal C 1 of 03.01.1998].

Summary

The White Paper “Teaching and learning: towards the learning society” advocates proficiency in three EU languages for every European citizen.

The early learning of one or more languages in addition to one’s mother tongue(s) may contribute to achieving this objective since flexibility and receptiveness are greatest at a young age.
The integration of learning and increased awareness of this kind into compulsory schooling would also enable all pupils to have access to it.

The Council calls upon the Member States:

  • to encourage the early teaching of languages and diversify the languages taught;
  • to encourage cooperation between schools providing this type of education and foster pupils’ virtual mobility and, if possible, their physical mobility;
  • to promote the continuous provision of teaching of several languages;
  • to increase awareness among all those involved, particularly parents, of the benefits of early language learning;
  • to develop and distribute the most suitable teaching materials, including multimedia resources;
  • to prepare teachers working in the field of early language teaching to meet these new needs.

The Council invites the Commission to support measures taken by the Member States to achieve the above objectives and to promote early language teaching within the framework of existing Community programmes:

  • by providing support for measures aimed at strengthening European cooperation and measures for disseminating and exchanging experience and good practice;
  • by promoting transnational cooperation in the development of teaching materials and means of evaluation;
  • by supporting the distribution of suitable, high-quality teaching materials via European networks;
  • by supporting measures aimed at increasing teacher mobility and at updating and improving the skills required to teach languages to pupils at an early age;
  • by fostering cooperation between teacher training institutions;
  • by encouraging contacts between pupils, in particular by means of virtual mobility.

The Commission is also invited to bear early language teaching in mind when considering future cooperation in the field of education.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social committee and the Committee of the Regions – A New Framework Strategy for Multilingualism[COM(2005) 596 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council – The European Indicator of Language Competence[COM(2005) 356 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – Promoting Language Learning and Linguistic Diversity: an Action Plan 2004 – 2006[COM(2003) 449 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Decision No 1934/2000/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 July 2000 on the European Year of Languages2001 [Official Journal L 232 of 14.09.2000].

White paper on education and training: “Teaching and learning – Towards the learning society” [COM(95) 590 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Development of statistics on education and lifelong learning

Development of statistics on education and lifelong learning

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Development of statistics on education and lifelong learning

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Lifelong learning

Development of statistics on education and lifelong learning

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 452/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2008 concerning the production and development of statistics on education and lifelong learning.

Summary

In order to develop education and lifelong learning strategies, and to monitor the implementation of these strategies, the production of comparable statistical data is of utmost importance. It is also essential that the statistical data production is based on a framework of consistent concepts. Consequently, this calls for the establishment of an integrated statistical information system on education, training and lifelong learning at the European Union (EU) level.

DOMAINS

This regulation applies to the production of EU level statistics on education and lifelong learning, covering the following domains:

Education and training systems

Comparable data is sought especially on the participation in and completion of educational programmes and on costs and resources used for education and training. The data covers domestic educational activities and includes all student types and age groups. It also allows for the calculation of indicators on education and training systems. EU countries must supply data falling under this domain annually.

Adult participation in lifelong learning

The comparable data collected on the participation and non-participation of adults in lifelong learning concerns individuals in the 25-64 age group. The supplementary collection of data on participation in social and cultural activities is on a voluntary basis only. Data for this domain must be supplied every five years, beginning in 2010 at the earliest.

Other statistics on education and lifelong learning

This concerns comparable data that support specific EU policies not covered by the above two domains, such as statistics on human capital or on the social and economic benefits of education. This data is obtained from existing EU level sources.

STATISTICAL ACTIONS

Individual statistical actions are used to implement the production of EU level statistics. These include the following:

  • for the first two domains, regular and timely delivery of statistics by EU countries;
  • within the scope of the third domain, provision of supplementary variables and indicators through other statistical information systems and surveys;
  • developing, improving and updating standards and manuals that define frameworks, concepts and methods;
  • within the context of the quality framework, improving data quality.

The Commission will take into consideration the existing capacities of EU countries with regard to the above actions. For the collected data, consideration will be given to the regional and gender aspects whenever possible.

The Commission (Eurostat) will also strive to collaborate, where appropriate, with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) Institute for Statistics (UIS), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and other international organisations to guarantee the comparability and avoid the duplication of data at an international level.

When new data requirements arise, or when the quality of the data is insufficient, the Commission will first launch voluntary pilot studies to be implemented by EU countries before the actual data collection.

IMPLEMENTING MEASURES

In order to supplement the regulation, certain additional implementing measures are used to amend its non-essential elements. These include measures that provide for economic and technical developments in data collection, transmission and processing. If, on the basis of these measures, the need for supplementary data collection arises, any decisions will be taken only after a cost-benefit analysis is effectuated.

For EU countries, limited derogations and transition periods may be granted if need be, provided that these are based on objective reasons.

The Statistical Programme Committee assists the Commission in its work with regard to the production and development of statistics on education and lifelong learning.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 452/2008

24.6.2008

OJ L 145 of 4.6.2008

Related Acts

Commission Regulation (EU) No 88/2011 of 2 February 2011 implementing Regulation (EC) No 452/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning production and development of statistics on education and lifelong learning, as regards statistics on education and training systems [Official Journal L 29 of 3.2.2011].

Commission Decision 2010/786/EU of 17 December 2010 granting derogations for implementing Regulation (EC) No 452/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the production and development of statistics on education and lifelong learning with regard to Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Finland and the United Kingdom [Official Journal L 335 of 18.12.2010].

Commission Regulation (EU) No 823/2010 of 17 September 2010 implementing Regulation (EC) No 452/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the production and development of statistics on education and lifelong learning, as regards statistics on the participation of adults in lifelong learning [Official Journal L 246 of 18.9.2010].
This regulation establishes the implementing measures for individual statistical actions to produce statistics on adult participation in lifelong learning.
The first Adult Education Survey covers the participation of adults in education and training during the period 1 July 2010 – 30 June 2011 and any related aspects, such as difficulties encountered. The data is collected during the period 1 July 2011 – 30 June 2012 and then every five years. The survey covers the 25-64 age group, though the 18-24 and 65-69 age groups may also be covered.
In close collaboration with EU countries, the Commission produces an “Adult Education Survey Manual” to ensure a high level of harmonisation between their survey results.
The regulation establishes minimum requirements in order to ensure that the data to be transmitted is of high quality. Its annexes specify the variables concerning the survey subjects and the sample and precision requirements. EU countries must submit quality reports on the survey to the Commission, to which end quality requirements are also set out in the annex to the regulation.

European Year of Languages 2001

European Year of Languages 2001

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Year of Languages 2001

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Lifelong learning

European Year of Languages 2001

The purpose of the European Year of Languages 2001 is to use an awareness and education policy to encourage the people of the European Union to learn several foreign languages.

Document or Iniciative

Decision No 1934/2000/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 July 2000 on the European Year of Languages 2001 [Official Journal L 232 of 14 September 2000].

Summary

Specific objectives of the European Year

The European Year has five specific objectives:

  • to raise awareness of the wealth of linguistic diversity within the European Union and of its value in terms of civilisation and culture. Linguistic diversity represents not merely a fundamental part of European heritage; it is also central to Europe’s future, particularly as the enlargement of the EU draws closer. Embracing it is a prerequisite for constructing a Europe in which all citizens enjoy equal status and equal rights. One of the key messages of the European Year will be that all languages should be equally valued. It is not enough to encourage the learning of languages that are already widespread: for real communication among Europeans, we must truly understand the languages and therefore the culture of others. This latter point is, moreover, one of the objectives of the Culture 2000 programme. It will give tangible content to the notion of European citizenship and will help to stem xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism and intolerance;
  • to encourage multilingualism;
  • to bring to the notice of the widest possible audience the advantages of proficiency in several languages. Fostering language learning enhances communication among EU citizens. It promotes intercultural understanding. It offers greater personal and professional opportunities and real access to the rights conferred by European citizenship, in particular the right to live and work anywhere in the EU. It makes the European economy more competitive;
  • to encourage lifelong learning of languages: Learning languages and related skills, such as translation, interpreting and some technical and office skills, should be a lifelong process. Many of those targeted have in the past had little opportunity to learn foreign languages, irrespective of age, origin, social circumstances or level of schooling;
  • to collect and disseminate information about the teaching and learning of languages. This objective aims to identify, for example by means of studies, priority areas for the investment of resources. It also allows the Year to disseminate information on modern and innovative language learning methods and therefore to help to motivate the public. This objective also includes scope for raising awareness of the communication tools, both the technological and the more traditional, which allow people of different mother tongues to communicate with each other.

Proposed measures

The European Year of Languages 2001 is focused on two main areas. First, an information and promotional campaign at European level will be organised and funded by the Community budget. Some of the activities within this campaign will be carried out in collaboration with the Council of Europe. Second, a wide range of projects at national and regional level will be partially funded. The Commission and the Member States will work closely together in these two areas in order to make the European Year of Languages a success.

The European information campaign, in which the Commission’s representations in the Member States will have an important role, and other activities wholly financed by the Community, will include:

  • meetings, awareness-raising events and presentations of the Year at Community level and in the Member States;
  • the use of a common logo and slogans jointly with the Council of Europe for all promotional material and projects funded as part of the European Year. Other bodies could also use the logo provided that they share one or more of the Year’s objectives;
  • a Community-wide information campaign including the creation of an interactive Internet site and the dissemination of information on the projects;
  • the production of information material, accessible to everyone, on effective language teaching and learning techniques;
  • the organisation of European competitions;
  • Community-wide surveys and studies, the topics envisaged being: the situation of languages in Europe, how they are used, taught and learned; what the different target groups expect from the learning of languages; how the Community can cater for these expectations; and an evaluation study on the effectiveness and impact of the Year.

The co-financed projects will in many cases have characteristics in common with the activities of the main information campaign but will be implemented in a single country or group of countries. All other projects which contribute to one or more of the European Year’s specific objectives can also be co-financed on condition that they are not eligible for funding under any existing Community programmes.

The programme has a total budget of EUR 12 million and intends to create contacts in the national coordination services.

Background

The importance for European citizens of developing language skills has been underlined both by the European Year of Lifelong Learning and by the Commission’s 1995 White Paper on education and training – “Teaching and learning: towards the learning society.” The Commission’s 1996 Green Paper “Education, Training, Research: the obstacles to transnational mobility” concluded that learning at least two Community languages was essential if European Union citizens were to benefit fully from the opportunities offered by the single market.

References

Act Date of entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States
Decision N° 1934/2000/EC 14.09.2000

Related Acts

White Paper on education and training “Teaching and learning – towards the learning society” [COM(95) 590 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Council Resolution of 16 December 1997 on the early teaching of European Union languages[Official Journal C 1 of 03.01.1998].

Report from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: the implementation and results of the European Year of Language 2001 [COM(2002) 597 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The forty-five European countries participating in the implementation of the European Year of Languages 2001 have set up a network of coordinating bodies appointed by the national authorities in the Member States of the EU and the EEA under the responsibility of the European Commission.

The European Year budget was EUR 11 million, and it was allocated to co-financed projects, an information campaign, events to mark the launch and closing of the Year at European and national levels and a Eurobarometer survey.

Two events were considered as the focal points of this European Year: the European Week of Adult Language Learners in May, and a European Day of Languages in September.

A total of 190 co-financed projects took place at local, regional, national and transnational levels. Projects typically included three or four different types of activities, such as festivals, conferences, seminars, exhibitions, open-days, mini-language courses and competitions. The majority of these projects included a website and publications, which were widely distributed. The projects covered 60 languages, with a good balance between official languages, regional and minority languages, languages of pre-accession countries and sign languages. Each project on average reached more than 12 000 people.

The information campaign, based on the conclusions of the Eurobarometer survey (see summary document (DE ) (FR ) (pdf), had three main elements: a press and communications campaign; the production of a logo, publications and promotional items; and, finally, a European Website.

Overall, the European Year of Languages succeeded in creating a framework to encourage grassroots activity with a common European identity, but it is still too soon to say what the lasting impact of the Year will be, particularly on the take up of language learning. In addition to raising awareness of the general public, the Year was an opportunity for national and regional authorities and NGOs to debate language teaching and learning.

In this context, the Barcelona Council of March 2002 endorsed the idea expressed in numerous political statements, according to which European school leavers should have as a minimum “Mother Tongue plus two foreign languages”. Other political debates have focused around the status of language as a basic skill for European young people. Overall, the impact of this initiative was particularly strong amongst professionals (teachers and students) and policy officials.

The experience of this European Year has demonstrated conclusively that all languages present within communities can be promoted in an integrated fashion. Consideration needs to be given to the notion of mainstreaming the promotion of regional and minority, sign and immigrant languages and of developing a more integrated approach to enable the skills of bilingual citizens to be valued and promoted.

At European level, the European Year provided a stimulus for future developments leading to the presentation, in mid-2003, of a communication from the Commission on an Action Plan to promote linguistic diversity and language learning, using resources available within existing Community programmes and activities.

Council Resolution of 14 February 2002 on the promotion of linguistic diversity and language learning in the framework of the implementation of the objectives of the European Year of Languages 2001 [Official Journal C 50 of 23/02/2002]

In the context of implementing the objectives of the European Year of Languages 2001, this Resolution considers linguistic diversity to be an important cultural asset in Europe. The Council wishes to promote language learning so as to increase citizens’ mobility, support social integration and promote cohesion among the various Member States.

In order to encourage the learning of at least two languages in addition to one’s mother tongue, the Council calls on the Member States:

  • to take all the necessary measures to pursue this objective in schools and in the context of lifelong learning;
  • to encourage students and language teachers to take advantage of the European programmes;
  • to facilitate the recognition of diplomas;
  • to preserve and enhance linguistic diversity.

The Council also calls on the Commission to present, by the beginning of 2003, proposals to promote linguistic diversity and language learning.

Since 19 May 2000, the countries of the EEA have been participating in the European Year of Languages [Official Journal L 174 of 13.07.2000].

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – Promoting language learningand linguistic diversity: an action plan 2004-2006 [COM(2003) 449 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council – The European Indicator of Language Competence[COM(2005) 356 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social committee and the Committee of the Regions – A New Framework Strategy for Multilingualism[COM(2005) 596 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

 

Adult learning: It is never too late to learn

Adult learning: It is never too late to learn

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Adult learning: It is never too late to learn

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Lifelong learning

Adult learning: It is never too late to learn

Document or Iniciative

Communication of 23 October 2006 from the Commission to the Council – Adult learning [COM (2006) 614 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Promoting lifelong learning is part of the Lisbon Strategy, which sets targets for economic growth, competitiveness and social inclusion. Although the Member States recognise the importance of lifelong learning, the number of adult learners in Europe today remains below the target set by the Member States. In this Communication the Commission encourages Member States to ensure the quality of their adult learning systems and their overall skills levels.

Better adult learning can play a key role in vocational training in Europe and in the social inclusion of groups which are at a disadvantage on the labour market, such as migrants and older people, who are growing in number in Europe. Moreover, improvements in adult learning are a considerable advantage for both individuals and society. Raising overall skills levels helps to improve economic indicators, such as productivity and unemployment, and social indicators, such as civic participation, criminality and healthcare costs.

Responding to the challenges

With a view to consolidating lifelong learning, the Commission identifies the following challenges:

  • economic competitiveness: raising general skills levels in all Member States is important for the economy, as it helps to achieve the growth, employment and social cohesion objectives set by the Lisbon Strategy. The positive results achieved by other countries which have invested in their education systems confirm that this is a reliable prediction. The economic objective is becoming even more urgent in view of the developments expected in the labour market. According to a Eurostat survey, by 2010 half of all new jobs will be for workers with higher skills levels, whereas today a third of the labour force in Europe remains low skilled and many still lack the ability to employ printed information in daily activities;
  • demographic change: education and training systems must take into account the ageing of the European population and the growing role of the immigrant population. According to the OECD, in thirty years a third of the EU population will be over 60 years old. This means that measures need to be taken to extend the working life of older workers and increase the number of young workers. To this end, Member States must undertake to reduce the number of early school-leavers and improve the skills of low-skilled workers over the age of 40. Immigration is a major challenge for education and training systems in Europe yet at the same time offers enormous human potential which can counterbalance the ageing of the European population and the lack of skills in certain sectors;
  • poverty and social exclusion: adult learning can play a key role in tackling poverty and social exclusion, which marginalise a significant number of people in all Member States. This problem stems mainly from low levels of initial education, unemployment, rural isolation and reduced opportunities. New forms of illiteracy exacerbate social exclusion: for example, adults who are not computer literate are deprived of essential information and facilities.

By improving the provision of education and training for adults, Member States can help to consolidate the linguistic, cultural and vocational skills of those who are often at a disadvantage in the labour market. The Member States must implement these projects, using existing resources to the full. In order to achieve this they need to establish better coordination between the groups involved in these projects: the public authorities, which make decisions at different levels, and all partners involved in drafting and implementing the policies. Coordination can play a key role in identifying priorities, drafting policies and communicating with potential learners. The European Structural Funds can help to improve infrastructure and the adult learning programmes offered.

Types of action

The Commission identifies five types of action to enable Member States to meet the above challenges.

  • setting up more equitable adult learning programmes and increasing the number of participants: Member States must undertake to ensure participation in adult learning activities in order to make it more equitable and to move closer to the 12.5 % objective to be achieved by 2010. They need to encourage everyone, especially those with fewer qualifications, such as older people, those with disabilities and people living in rural areas. They must increase targeted public investment, widen the dissemination of information on adult learning opportunities and make better use of the potential of educational institutions which already exist;
  • ensuring the quality of adult learning programmes: Member States must ensure that teaching methods and teaching staff are efficient and meet the needs of adult learners. With a view to promoting quality of learning, the Commission identifies four factors to be taken into consideration:

– teaching methods: methods and materials must be adapted to the needs of learners, who must agree explicit objectives and learning support resources with teaching staff;

– quality of staff: the profession of adult learning practitioners needs to be recognised and valued, promoting their development and ensuring fair pay;

– quality of providers: the public authorities must undertake to ensure the quality of teaching by means of quality assurance mechanisms and standards;

– quality of delivery: a series of parallel measures, such as availability of learning sites and childcare facilities, and flexible teaching arrangements, can significantly improve the delivery of adult learning;

  • developing systems for the recognition and validation of learning outcomes: Member States must develop systems based on common principles which enable them to measure and value learning. These systems facilitate self-evaluation and encourage students to continue to learn. To this end, the Education Council identified common principles in 2004 and some Member States have put in place mechanisms to serve as a basis for creating the evaluation systems. In an effort to ensure that these systems are developed efficiently, the Commission highlights the challenges to come, such as the inclusion of all stakeholders in the validation process, the improvement of the systems and the clarification of learning programmes’ objectives;
  • investing in education and training for older people and migrants: Member States must ensure that education and training programmes target older people and migrants, two categories which represent enormous human potential in today’s societies and economies but are often disadvantaged in the labour market. Member States need to take a two-pronged approach to older people: older workers can and must extend their working lives in the context of active ageing, and retired people must have the opportunity to make learning an integral part of their lives, and can in turn become educators. With this in mind, the Commission wants universities to offer courses to meet the needs of adult learners, but most countries have not yet done so. Member States must also promote the integration of immigrants by making the most of their skills. Accordingly, the Commission supports actions which include education and training programmes in neighbouring countries, the development of systems to recognise skills already acquired and opening up effective learning opportunities;
  • promoting research and analysis in relation to adult learning activities: indicators such as databases play a key role in observing and evaluating adult learning activities. Such data are currently quite limited but international organisations such as the OECD and the European Commission, including the research unit recently set up in Ispra, are working on this.

By the end of 2007, the Commission intends to draw up an action plan based on this Communication.

Background

In the framework of the Lisbon Strategy, which aims to promote a knowledge-based society, the Commission supported the creation of a European area of lifelong learning by means of an initial Communication in 2001.

The Council contributed to the Lisbon Strategy objective by means of a 2002 Resolution. By the end of 2007, an action plan will be drawn up in line with this Communication, taking account of the experience gained from the Socrates and Grundtvig programmes.

ELearning – Designing tomorrow's education

eLearning – Designing tomorrow’s education

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about eLearning – Designing tomorrow’s education

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Lifelong learning

eLearning – Designing tomorrow’s education

1) Objective

To mobilise Europe’s educational and training communities and its economic, social and cultural players with a view to achieving the objectives set at the Lisbon European Council and allowing Europe to catch up and to accelerate the introduction of the knowledge-based society.

2) Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 24 May 2000,eLearning – Designing tomorrow’s education [COM(2000) 318 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

3) Summary

Background
The eLearning initiative is part of the European Community’s overall eEurope strategy, which was designed to help Europe achieve the objective set by Heads of State at the Lisbon European Council on 23 and 24 March 2000: “to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-driven economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion”. The overall strategy is based largely on the eEurope communication “An information society for all”, the conclusions of the Lisbon Council and the eEurope action plan. Within this strategy a major role is given to the educational and cultural communities, and the aim of the eLearning initiative is to create a framework to allow them to fill this key role.

In future, a society’s economic and social performance will be determined largely by the extent to which its citizens can exploit the potential of these new technologies. Attaining this Lisbon objective will depend on the committed involvement of all players in education and training. The eLearning initiative tackles the challenges in these areas and aims to adapt European education and training systems to the needs of the knowledge-based society.

The initiative does not seek to initiate a new process but to bring together the various components of education and training – the eEurope measures, the Luxembourg process and research activities – in order to mobilise the education and training sector.

In parallel, the Lisbon European Council asked the Education Council to undertake a general reflection on the concrete future objectives of education systems, focusing on common priorities, and to present a more comprehensive report to the European Council in the spring of 2001.

Europe must act quickly if it is to eliminate weaknesses and catch up on the United States in the use of the new technologies, an area in which Europe is far behind. As a result, the objectives and measures of the initiative are specific and the time-frame is short.

Objectives
The initiative has three groups of objectives, each consisting of many detailed goals which target Europe’s main weaknesses in this area:

  • Objectives for infrastructures:

– provide all schools in the Union with an Internet connection by the end of 2001;

– encourage the creation by the end of 2001 of a trans-European high-speed network for scientific communications linking research institutes, universities, scientific libraries and, in due course, schools;

– ensure that by the end of 2002 all pupils have a fast Internet connection and multimedia resources in the classroom.

  • Objectives for increasing people’s level of knowledge:

– substantially increase per capita investment in human resources every year;

– provide all citizens with the skills needed to live and work in the new information society;

– enable the population as a whole to become digitally literate.

  • Objectives for adapting education and training systems to the knowledgebased society:

– train a sufficient number of teachers in the use of the Internet and multimedia resources by the end of 2002;

– ensure that schools and training centres become local learning centres which are multi-purpose and accessible to all, using the most appropriate methods tailored to the broad diversity of the target groups;

– adopt a European framework to define the new basic skills to which lifelong learning must provide access: information technologies, foreign languages and technical knowledge, for example the introduction of a European diploma for basic information technology skills;

– define, by the end of the year 2000, ways of encouraging mobility among students, teachers, trainers and researchers through optimum use of Community programmes, the removal of obstacles and greater transparency in the recognition of qualifications and periods of study and training;

– prevent exclusion from the knowledge-based society by defining priority actions for certain target groups (minorities, the elderly, people with disabilities, the under-qualified) and women, and by providing a sound basic education;

– provide all pupils with broad digital literacy by the end of 2003.

Actions

In order to achieve these ambitious objectives, the initiative is based on four main lines of action:

  • Equipment
    This line of action tackles one of Europe’s major shortcomings in this field and one of the main obstacles to the development of an inclusive knowledge-based society: the shortfall in hardware and software.
    The aim of this action is to improve access to digital networks by ensuring that forums of learning, training and knowledge are better-equipped.
    One of the objectives is to achieve a ratio by 2004 of 5 to 15 users per computer in schools, which is a considerable challenge given the current disparities in Europe which range from a ratio of one computer per 400 pupils to one computer per 25 pupils.
  • Training at all levels

    The second line of action underlines the importance of lifelong learning for teachers and for other professionals.
    Furthermore, as a result of the impact of new technologies on the organisation and contents of education and training programmes and on the learning environment and teaching practices, methods will need to be adapted and innovative educational models introduced.
    A definition will therefore be proposed for the basic skills which lifelong learning must provide and for skills specific to the new occupational profiles.
  • The development of goodquality multimedia services and contents

    The successful use of new technologies in this field depends on the availability of relevant and good-quality services and contents. Consequently, the third line of action tackles this problem by trying to strengthen the European educational multimedia industry and its links with education systems, and, by the end of 2002, to strengthen vocational guidance services so as to allow all citizens access to information and training in the field of new technologies and enable them to plan or adjust their career pathways.
  • The development and networking of learning centres

    The fourth line of action tackles the third objective by aiming to transform teaching and training centres into learning centres which are multi-purpose, accessible to all and adapted to suit the needs of the knowledge-based society. For example, virtual forums and campuses will be set up, linking universities, schools, training centres, etc. This will promote the development of distance teaching and training and the exchange of best practice and experience.

Implementation by the Member States
The scale and nature of these challenges and actions require a strong political commitment from the Member States. Attaining these objectives within a short time-frame also requires rapid implementation and often additional effort.
It is planned that the Commission, in conjunction with the Council’s Education Committee, will prepare a framework for attaining these goals so that progress and the effectiveness of actions taken can be analysed; this will be done using, inter alia, a benchmarking system based on indicators defined within the Luxembourg progress. Member States are required to contribute to the exchange of relevant information.
As a further measure, observation mechanisms will be developed with targets corresponding to the four lines of action in the eLearning initiative to allow comparison between EU and non-EU countries.
The eLearning initiative will play a part in the revision of the employment guidelines which the Commission will propose in autumn 2000. A specific guideline on eLearning will be proposed.
The initiative will also be part of the European Social Agenda.

The role of the Commission
The initiative will be implemented by means of the open method of coordination, allowing dissemination of best practice and greater convergence with regard to the goals set. The role of the Commission is to support Member States in implementing the initiative and to coordinate and consolidate their efforts at European level.
The Commission is required to present a working paper in October 2000 which will describe all the actions planned at Community level to support the eLearning initiative, and to submit progress reports on eLearning to the Education Council.
In conjunction with the Member States, the Commission will focus Community instruments and programmes on the attainment of shared goals, with contributions from:

  • the Structural Funds;
  • Community programmes in education, culture and training (Socrates, Leonardo);
  • research programmes (IST, TSER);
  • international cooperation programmes;
  • the Community’s financial bodies.

In this field, particular attention will be given to:

  • the recognition of qualifications;
  • language learning;
  • education in communication and the media;
  • promoting mobility among teachers, students, trainers and researchers, also within the European Research Area;
  • the development of virtual mobility.

The Commission will undertake specific actions at Community level which will fuel reflection and action at both national and Community level, including:

  • consolidating the cooperation developed within the EUN network (The European Schoolnet). EUN brings together twenty education ministries in both the EU and Central and Eastern European countries to set up a virtual and multilingual European campus and to develop a European network for innovation and exchange of information in the field of information technology;
  • creating European gateways to bring together coherent educational communities;
  • setting up a general framework for discussion on innovation in progress, including the creation of a high-level group on “Designing tomorrow’s education and training”;
  • developing observation mechanisms;
  • setting up a training network for trainers;
  • setting up an eLearning Internet site;
  • promoting employability by developing qualifications and skills associated with new technologies.

Attainment of these ambitious objectives will enable the citizens of Europe to take an active part in the construction of the most dynamic and cohesive society in the world.

4) Implementing Measures

from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 27 January 2000 entitled “Designing tomorrow’s education – Promoting innovation with new technologies” [COM(2000) 23 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

5) Follow-Up Work

Action plan for mobility

Action plan for mobility

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Action plan for mobility

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Lifelong learning

Action plan for mobility

Document or Iniciative

Resolution of the Council and the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council, of 14 December 2000, concerning an action plan for mobility, [Official Journal C 371 of 23.12.2000].

Summary

The construction of a genuine European area of knowledge is a priority for the Community both for cultural and economic reasons. The mobility of citizens, notably as regards education and training, encourages the sharing of cultures and promotes the concept of European citizenship as well as that of a political Europe. Besides, in an internationalised economy, the ability to educate oneself and work in a multilingual environment is essential to the competitiveness of the European economy.

The Community’s Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci and Youth programmes represent appreciable progress, which must however be taken further via the joint efforts of the Community and the Member States. These efforts should lead to an increase in the number of people choosing mobility and remove the remaining obstacles.

Three major objectives:

The plan has three major objectives:

  • define and democratise mobility in Europe;
  • promote appropriate forms of funding;
  • increase mobility and improve the conditions for it.

Accompanying measures

The Resolution is conceived as a “toolbox” of 42 measures divided into four chapters designed to identify and deal with the remaining obstacles to mobility. The measures are classified under specific objectives within each chapter.

Measures relating to the general objective

These consist of two measures to support the general objective of adopting a European mobility strategy:

  • establish a common definition of the concept of mobility and the target groups concerned: age, circuit, geographical scope, length of stay;
  • democratise access to mobility measures.

Chapter I: Promote mobility through measures in the field of training and information

Train “human resources” for mobility:

  • prepare those involved in implementing mobility: teachers, the administrative staff concerned, etc. (the “mobility organisers”);
  • develop exchanges and mobility between the mobility organisers;
  • encourage educational establishments to devote more resources to mobility.

Develop multilingualism:

Promote training in the relevant foreign language and culture, before and during the mobility periods;

  • give language teachers the opportunity to go on long-term training placements abroad;
  • ensure exchange of good language teaching practice;
  • adopt common indicators to evaluate the language skills of trainees;
  • make a commitment on the quality of language teaching following up the Council Resolution of 31 March 1995 on improving and diversifying language learning and teaching.

Make it easier to find information on mobility:

  • create a mobility portal site providing access to the various European sources of information;
  • put in place ad hoc forums in educational establishments to ensure exchanges between mobility organisers and potential beneficiaries.

Draw up a mobility chart:

  • define a methodology enabling the various players to compile reliable statistics on mobility and make as full as possible an inventory of the exchanges;
  • improve awareness of the different mobility programmes (bilateral and multilateral) by assembling them in a database;
  • ensure better advertising of posts by using networks such as EURES.

Chapter II: Measures promoting the financing of mobility

Look into the financing of mobility: towards financial partnerships

  • strengthen coordination between the various players, for example by means of a framework for partnerships, and make best use of financing;
  • study possible ways of making better use or increasing mobility budgets;
  • encourage public sector participation by examining for example the possibility of loans at preferential rates for those intending to take a period of mobility;
  • encourage multiple partnerships, e.g. with the private sector, social partners, etc. to become involved in financing mobility;
  • look ahead and study ways of redeploying the mobility appropriations at national level and within future Community programmes.

Democratise mobility by making it financially and socially accessible for all:

  • launch an information campaign on the mobility assistance available and how to apply for it and on the social conditions of mobility at the time of going abroad and during the period spent there;
  • ensure retention of social benefits for people who take mobility and regularly review any problems that persist;
  • study the possibility of offering young people opting for mobility the same preferential tariffs as young people in the host country, regularly review any problems that persist and take suitable steps to remedy them.

Chapter III: Increasing and improving mobility

Introduce new forms of mobility:

  • organise more mobility circuits, for example more European universities for all citizens receiving training, including the mobility organisers;
  • encourage virtual mobility by making academic and vocational training modules available on the Internet;
  • develop bilateral or multilateral exchange circuits, in particular mobility partnerships between universities.

Improve reception facilities for people opting for mobility:

  • adopt a quality charter covering reception facilities for trainees who are foreign nationals providing in particular for equal reception facilities;
  • provide on-line information on the reception facilities for people opting for mobility.

Simplify the mobility calendar:

  • ensure wide dissemination of information on university calendars and school years;
  • draft a “European academic calendar” showing the core periods of term time and in appropriate cases concentrate mobility training modules in those periods;
  • study the possibility of dividing the university year into semesters and of enrolling and paying fees by semester.

Proper status for people opting for mobility:

  • declare that mobility is a priority at all levels and an important component of instruction;
  • create a European card for young people opting for mobility;
  • give teachers the opportunity to take all or part of their initial or continuing training in another Member State;
  • examine the possibility of extending the current higher education post of associate member to other levels.

Chapter IV: Gaining more from periods of mobility

Increase cross-over opportunities by developing the system of recognition and equivalence of diplomas and training:

  • encourage all universities to generalise systems of diploma equivalence such as the ECTS;
  • generalise academic and vocational diploma supplements to make them recognisable in all Member States;

Recognise the experience gained:

  • certify skills acquired during the period of mobility in the field of languages, for example by issuing a certificate;
  • generalise Europass-training;
  • take into account voluntary work in the Member State of origin.

Gain more from periods of mobility:

  • examine the desirability and possibility of providing professional incentives for mobility for teaching staff;
  • devise a methodology for measuring the professional impact of periods of mobility.

Priority activities

The resolution emphasises certain priority actions:

  • developing multilingualism;
  • establishment of a portal giving access to the different European sources of information on mobility;
  • recognition of periods of mobility in diploma courses;
  • training the teachers and administrative staff involved to become true mobility organisers able to provide advice and guidance and draft mobility projects;
  • definition and adoption of a quality charter on reception facilities for foreign nationals on training courses;
  • drawing up of an inventory of existing mobility circuits and good practices, exchanges of students, trainees and trainers;
  • creating linkage between mobility funding from the different players involved.

Implementation and evaluation

This plan will be implemented by the Commission and the Member States within the limits of their respective powers. With a view to creating a Europe of innovation and knowledge, the Social Agenda approved by the Nice European Council confirmed this commitment by inviting Member States to reinforce their internal coordination to implement the 42 concrete measures and to examine progress achieved every two years.

With an eye to economy and efficiency, this evaluation of progress in the field of mobility will be integrated in the follow-up mechanism provided for in the ” Recommendation on mobility within the Community for students, persons undergoing training, young volunteers, teachers and trainers”.

Context

The Resolution follows up the conclusions of the extraordinary European Council in Lisbon of 23 and 24 March 2000 which recognised the urgency of removing obstacles to the mobility of citizens within the European Union in order to create a genuine European area of knowledge. Numerous obstacles still exist, viz. unequal access to information, financial obstacles, administrative difficulties associated with social protection, etc. In this context the European Council invited the Council and the Commission to define the means for fostering the mobility of students, teachers, training and research staff. Hence this plan addresses these categories and suggests possible measures in this area, to be selected by the Member States and the Commission.

This Resolution supplements existing initiatives laying down the appropriate legal framework for promoting mobility and in particular the instrument provided for in the proposal for a ” Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council on mobility within the Community for students, persons undergoing training, young volunteers, teachers and trainers”, currently being negotiated.

Following the Communication on the New European Labour Markets, which launched the debate on mobility at the Stockholm European Council of March 2001, the Commission instructed a high level task force to produce a report [PDF ] which forms the basis of this Action Plan. The Action Plan calls for Member States, enterprises and workers themselves to be more responsive to the new requirements of the labour market and also sets the European governments a concrete short-term objective, namely the creation of an EU health insurance card.

The 2005 proposal to recommend that Member States adopt a Charter for Mobility is targeted at the organisations responsible for mobility. It comprises ten guidelines.

Related Acts

Proposal for a Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 September 2005 on transnational mobility within the Community for education and training purposes: European Quality Charter for Mobility [COM(2005) 450 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Decision No 2241/2004/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 December 2004 on a single Community framework for the transparency of qualifications and competences (Europass)

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 13 February 2002 – Commission’s Action Plan for skills and mobility [COM(2002) 72 final – not published in the Official Journal].

on mobility within the Community for students, persons undergoing training, young volunteers, teachers and trainers [Official Journal L 215 of 9 August 2001].

Green Paper of 2 October 1996: Education, Training and Research: The Obstacles to Transnational Mobility [COM(1996) 0462 final – not published in the Official Journal].

Council Resolution on eLearning

Council Resolution on eLearning

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Council Resolution on eLearning

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Lifelong learning

Council Resolution on eLearning

Document or Iniciative

Council Resolution of 13 July 2001 on eLearning [Official Journal C 204 of 20.07.2001].

Summary

The Stockholm European Council (23-24 March 2001) reaffirmed that improving basic skills, particularly information technology (IT) skills, is a top priority for the European Union (EU).

Actions required of EU countries and the Commission

The resolution calls on EU countries to:

  • continue their efforts concerning the effective integration of information and communication technologies (ICT) in education and training systems and the initial and in-service training of teachers and trainers;
  • capitalise on the potential of the Internet, multimedia and virtual lifelong learning environments;
  • speed up the integration of ICT and the revision of school and higher education curricula;
  • encourage those in charge of schools to integrate and manage ICT effectively;
  • ensure more rapid provision of equipment and of a quality infrastructure for education and training;
  • encourage the development of high-quality digital teaching and learning materials to ensure the quality of resources available online;
  • take advantage of the opportunities offered by ICT for facilitating access to cultural resources, such as libraries, museums and archives;
  • support the development and adaptation of innovative teaching that incorporates the use of technologies;
  • take advantage of the communication potential offered by ICT to foster European awareness;
  • support virtual forums for cooperation and exchange of information;
  • capitalise on the experience gained from initiatives such as European School Net and European Network of Teacher Education Policies;
  • foster the European dimension of the joint development of higher education curricula;
  • enhance research in eLearning;
  • promote partnerships between the public and private sectors;
  • monitor and analyse the process of integration and the use of ICT in teaching.

This resolution also invites the Commission to:

  • pay particular attention to the implementation of the eLearning action plan and to the concrete future objectives of education and training systems;
  • support existing European portals in order to promote collaboration and exchange of experiences in the area of eLearning and pedagogical development;
  • implement support actions at European level to ensure that experiences are shared, to establish cross-border links and to encourage information and communication measures;
  • consider together with EU countries whether the eSchola initiative could develop into an ongoing activity;
  • support the testing of new learning environments and approaches;
  • undertake strategic studies on innovative approaches in education;
  • intensify research, experimentation and evaluation relating to the pedagogical, socio-economic and technological dimensions of ICT;
  • support the development of European multilingual educational resources, platforms and services;
  • report to the Council on the results of these activities no later than December 2002. An interim report shall also be presented to the Council in November 2001.

Background

The institutions’ interest in new technologies indicates that the importance of these technologies is increasing. Since the Lisbon European Council (23-24 March 2000), which set the strategic goal of creating a competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy and specific objectives relating to ICT and education, several initiatives have been taken: the 2001 employment guidelines, the resolution relating to educational multimedia software, the communication on eLearning and the eLearning action plan. More recently, the Stockholm Council (23-24 March 2001) reaffirmed that improving basic skills, particularly IT skills, is a top priority for the EU.

Related Acts

Decision No 2318/2003/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 December 2003 adopting a multiannual programme (2004 to 2006) for the effective integration of information and communication technologies (ICT) in education and training systems in Europe (eLearning Programme) [Official Journal L 345 of 31.12.2003].