On the basis of a presidency background note, ministers responsible for education exchanged views on the lessons learnt from the crisis as a basis for future informed decisions. They were also invited to discuss possible innovations in education and training, as well as plans on preparations for the next school and academic year.
A crisis can also be a learning opportunity. Lessons learnt during the past months should inspire us to turn challenges into opportunities. Online learning activities will only grow and we have to explore how to use innovation and technology to achieve quality and inclusive education. Our efforts should be focused on further digital transformation, at the same time ensuring equal opportunities and wellbeing.
Blaženka Divjak, Minister for Science and Education of Croatia
EU Education ministers look at the lessons learned and discuss innovations
Ministers highlighted the positive attitudes of pupils, students and teachers towards distance learning, but also broadly agreed that online education and training will require better digital skills, updated technological equipment and wider application of digital technologies in teaching and learning.
Ministers identified some challenges, such as the social inclusion of all pupils and students, in particular those from disadvantaged background, the availability of digital equipment and internet access, as well as cyber security. Providing teachers, pupils and students with the adequate digital skills was also mentioned by ministers as an important challenge.
Member states are working on plans for the next school/academic year. However, many ministers shared the view that final decisions will depend on the epidemiological situation.
The discussion revealed that, at this point, there were no indications that the re-opening of education and training institutions had increased the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the EU member states.
Finally, many ministers emphasised that distance learning can never replace face-to-face interactive and socially intensive teaching and learning experience.
-23 June 2020