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EU Education Ministers focused on the future

Met dank overgenomen van Kroatisch voorzitterschap Europese Unie 1e helft 2020 (Kroatisch voorzitterschap), gepubliceerd op maandag 18 mei 2020.

Ministers today focused on the future, re-opening of education and training systems, including different organizational and safety measures as well as on the school leaving exams, enrolments to higher education and the continuation of learning mobility.

Croatian Presidency organized the third informal videoconference of Ministers of education on the implications of the COVID-19 for education and training. The meeting was chaired by Blaženka Divjak, Croatian Minister of Science and Education, with the participation of Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission and Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.

The majority of EU Member States has decided to gradually re-open education and training institutions and return to face-to-face learning and teaching, in some cases only for the selected levels, grades, activities and target groups.

Ministers exchanged information on different organisational and safety measures in respect to re-opening of educational institutions. These measures refer to social distancing, including prescribed physical distance and work in smaller, often the same groups, as well as strict hygienic and sanitary standards.

“We will need to take steps and look beyond this emergency response and, based on lessons learnt, perhaps consider some innovations that can make our education system more resilient to any potential future crisis.”

Blaženka Divjak, Minister of Science and Education

Ministers also discussed the organization of school leaving examinations. In this respect many Members States press ahead, with some adjustments in terms of content or timing of testing, if necessary.

As for admission of students to higher education, in many Member States entrance exams and registration deadlines may be or have already been postponed, for all or for some groups of candidates.

“We are all aware of anxieties of students, teachers and parents and are doing our best to help them navigate through many challenges education is facing during the COVID-19 pandemic, including testing period.”

Blaženka Divjak, Minister of Science and Education

Moreover, given that different approaches and timing concerning school leaving examinations may also have an effect on continuation of cross-border learning mobility, with respect to the autonomy of higher education institutions, ministers encouraged flexible approaches and cooperation.

Minister Divjak used the opportunity to highlight and thank Member States for their excellent contributions and cooperation, which allowed finalizing the Council conclusions on European teachers and trainers for the future that will be adopted through a written procedure.

Finally, the incoming German Presidency briefly presented their programme and priorities for the coming six months.

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