The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is organising a simulated plenary session that will allow secondary school children from the 27 EU Member States to see how the EESC decision-making process works in relation to a specific subject.
The simulation exercise will take part in two stages:
- registration, selection and preparation in class,
- the simulated plenary session in Brussels.
The instructions for each stage are given below.
Registration and selection of schools
Schools wishing to take part must register online through the EESC's internet site before 30 November 2010 (midnight, Brussels time).
After registration has closed, the schools to take part in the simulation exercise will be chosen by lot.
The selected schools will themselves choose three students in their pre-final year of secondary education (aged ≥ 16 years) to represent them, as well as a teacher who will accompany them. These people must all be able to express themselves in English or French. The event will take place in Brussels at the headquarters of the European Economic and Social Committee from 5 to 7 May 2011.
The EESC will pay the travel and accommodation expenses of the students and accompanying teacher in accordance with the conditions set out below.
All the key information about the simulation exercise will be published on the EESC's internet site. The teachers involved are therefore asked to check the site regularly.
The preparatory phase comprises registration, selection of schools by lot, selection of students by participating schools and preparation for the simulation exercise in each school.
1.1 Conditions for participating
To take part, a school must:
- be located in an EU Member State;
- be recognised by the education authorities in one or more Member States;
- have a computer (that can open and print PDF files), with internet access and email;
- undertake to choose one teacher and three students in their pre-final year of secondary education (≥16 years) who can express themselves in English or French;
- undertake to consider and discuss the topic of the simulation exercise in class before coming to Brussels;
- undertake to host one EESC member for an information session on the EU and the Committee between 15 January and 15 March 2011 (travel expenses of the EESC member to be paid by the Committee). Other classes from the same school and/or other schools may be invited to this meeting with the EESC member.
It would be useful for the school to have had some experience with international exchange programmes (EU-funded or other), but this is not a condition for taking part.
1.2 Registration process
Schools wishing to take part must complete this online registration form.
Before registration the school must designate the accompanying teacher, who will be the only contact person for the EESC – if the school is selected – during the phase of preparation for the simulation exercise. The head teacher of the school must confirm this choice in the relevant section of the online registration form.
The school must enter on the registration form its full name and address, the name and contact details of the head teacher and accompanying teacher, and an email address to which all correspondence with the accompanying teacher can be sent. Email must be checked regularly, since the schools will be contacted mainly by email.
N.B.: Only one registration form per school will be accepted.
Registration will remain open until 30 November 2010 (midnight Brussels time).
1.3 What do schools commit themselves to by registering?
Each school that registers accepts the general conditions of the draw, preparation and simulation exercise.
- Valid registration by the deadline guarantees only that the school can take part in the draw; it does not guarantee a place in the simulation exercise.
- The schools selected by lot undertake:
- a) to choose and register three students who will take part in the simulation exercise in Brussels, accompanied by a teacher;
- b) to invite one EESC member for an information session;
- c) to consider and discuss a document proposed by the EESC, make amendments to it and send it to the EESC before the simulated plenary session;
- d) to share the results of their work at the simulated session in Brussels by taking an active part in the session;
- e) to agree to their name and pictures of the EESC member's visit to the school being posted on the EESC website and related social networks;
- f) to inform the organisers at the EESC promptly of any change (e.g. in the accompanying teacher, email address).
1.4 What happens if the school does not meet its commitments?
Any failure to meet these conditions will result in the school and its students being immediately excluded from the simulation exercise.
2. Selection of schools
The schools will be selected by lot in December 2010 from the schools that have applied by the deadline. The names will be drawn in the presence of the EESC's vice-president, who will ensure that the draw is conducted in accordance with the rules. One school will be selected for each Member State. The chosen schools will be informed individually, and their names posted on the EESC website in December 2010.
3. Selection and registration of students
The schools selected should choose three students to take part in the simulated plenary session in Brussels from 5 to 7 May 2011.
The students chosen must be in their pre-final year of secondary education (aged ≥ 16 years) and be able to express themselves in English or French.
3.1 Selection criteria
The schools themselves will select students to represent them. They may set their own selection criteria, provided these are clear, fair and non-discriminatory. For reasons of gender equality, the students selected must include at least one boy and one girl.
3.2 Participation of disabled students
Schools must ensure that disabled students are also able to take part in the simulation exercise. If special arrangements are required, the schools must inform the EESC organisers in good time.
3.3 Registration of students
The schools taking part must register the three students selected by 20 January 2011.
Before registering the students, the schools must obtain written agreement from their parent(s) or legal guardian(s).
3.4 Protection of personal data
The EESC guarantees the protection of all personal data received in accordance with prevailing legislation.
4. Preparation for the simulation exercise in the schools
A member of the Committee will visit the schools between 15 January and 15 March 2011. The member will provide information about the EESC and how it works. The EESC will pay the member's travel expenses.
In February-March 2011 the schools taking part will receive a working document in the language they selected in the online registration form (English or French).
They will also be able to download the working document from the EESC's internet site in one or more other EU official languages.
The students will be asked to read and discuss the text of the working document, and then propose amendments to it. The number of amendments is limited to three per school.
For drafting the amendments, the students can choose between all the languages in which the working document is available.
SIMULATED PLENARY SESSION IN BRUSSELS
1. Authorisation form
The schools taking part will be required to provide an authorisation form for each student. The form can be downloaded in the above-mentioned languages and printed from the EESC's website from the beginning of December 2010. This form must be signed by the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of the student and by the head of the school. It must then be sent to the EESC in Brussels by post, fax or email, accompanied by a copy of a valid identity document for each student, to the following address or fax number:European Economic and Social Committee
rue Belliard/Belliardstraat 99
Fax: +32 2 546 9926
In this form, the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of the student and the head of the school attest that:
- the student has permission to go to Brussels for the simulated plenary session;
- the student's name may be published on the EESC website and related social networks with photos and/or video recordings of the session;
- the student will be supervised by the accompanying teacher while travelling and during their stay in Brussels.
The student may not take part in the trip unless the authorisation form and a copy of the identity document are received by the stated deadline.
The accompanying teachers will bear full responsibility for the students and themselves during the journey and stay in Brussels.
The students and teacher accompanying them must take the necessary travel documents (i.e. valid passport or identity card). They must also have a European health insurance card (available free from local insurance organisations and/or sickness funds) or a provisional replacement certificate if the card cannot be issued in time.
The EESC will organise and pay the costs of the journey and accommodation of students and accompanying teacher of each Member State.
3. Arrangements for the simulated plenary session
The simulated plenary session will take place on Friday 6 May 2011. Students will arrive in Brussels on 5 May, and will meet the other participants that evening. They will return home on 7 May.
The schools taking part will be informed in advance of the exact arrangements for the simulated plenary session.
4. Working languages
During the working sessions, discussions will be held in English and/or French. To ensure that the simulation exercise goes smoothly, the accompanying teacher and students must be able to express themselves in one of these two languages. Simultaneous interpretation will be provided from and into French and English during the working sessions.
The EESC will pay the travel and accommodation expenses of the students and their teacher. Travel will be by air or train, depending on the participants' country of origin. The EESC will pay the costs of travel between the departure station or airport and its premises. The schools taking part will be informed of the exact arrangements.
More information is available at the EESC internet site.
You can also send questions to the EESC's organisers by email at: youreurope.