The Council has adopted a recommendation on blended learning approaches to achieve the goal of high-quality and inclusive primary and secondary education. Blended learning can be defined as taking more than one approach to the learning process, combining school site and other physical environments away from the school site as well as digital (including online learning) and non-digital learning tools.
In the past one and a half year, home schooling and distance learning became a new reality for many pupils, teachers and parents. While we all hope we can overcome this pandemic as quickly as possible we should keep some of the learnings of this period in mind when looking at the future of education. I encourage us all to explore how blending different teaching environments as well as learning tools such as face-to-face and digital learning can make our education better equipped for the future.
Simona Kustec, Slovenian minister of Education, Science and Sport
The recommendation puts forward both short-term measures as a direct response to the crisis as well as long-term actions. Among other things, member states are recommended to support learners to remediate the learning loss caused by partial school closures and boost the development of their (and their families') digital skills and competences. The recommendation also proposes that member states embed blended learning approaches in teacher education and their continued professional development programmes, invest in high-speed internet connectivity for school-site and distance learning environments and make full use of EU funds and expertise for reforms and investment in infrastructure, tools and pedagogy.
Background and next steps
The circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic have forced schools to adapt and find alternatives to the habitual face-to-face teaching. While the teaching community has shown remarkable innovative skills in the adoption of new approaches a number of challenges, such as insufficient connectivity and digital infrastructure, have also become apparent.
The recommendation enters into force on the day of its adoption by the Council. The Commission will support the implementation of the recommendation by facilitating mutual learning among member states, supporting the development of resources such as guidance material (e.g. providing guidance on data protection and online safety) and supporting professional development and learning opportunities for teachers, trainers and other educational staff.