The EESC welcomes the New Skills Agenda for Europe. However, it wishes to see more innovative solutions in the fields of education and skills development, as Europe needs a genuine paradigm shift in the goals and functioning of the education sector. The EESC considers that helping individuals to acquire a minimum set of skills is not enough, and that it is crucial to ensure that a Skills Guarantee becomes a guaranteed pathway that enables people to advance and reach the highest achievable level of skills. The Committee calls for more focus on social and gender perspectives, non-formal and informal learning and entrepreneurship as a life skill. It also regrets the lack of new financing to back up the Agenda and encourages more dialogue with organised civil society.
European Solidarity Corps (2018) - Related Opinions
The EESC is pleased that the Maltese Presidency has chosen "High quality education for all" as an priority theme. However, the EESC fears that the value of this initiative could be lost when austerity measures still apply to many of our societies, hindering them to fully benefit from high quality education. Europe should not forget the essential role played by high quality education for all in building up a European society committed to upholding fundamental rights and values.
Developing a benchmark to measure the correlation between dual training systems and youth unemployment would be a powerful tool to ensure the necessary policy attention for the apprenticeship agenda and to recommend dual training systems to Member states where they do not exist or do not function well.
The EESC stresses that a real growth strategy at EU and national level is needed to support the creation of better and more stable jobs for young people.
Traineeships have become an important gateway through which young people enter the labour market. However, although traineeships have become standard in European labour markets, their spread has been accompanied by growing concerns as to learning content and working conditions. To facilitate access to employment, traineeships should offer good quality learning content and adequate working conditions.
The Commission launched the initiative "Opening up Education" to improve the use of Open Educational Resources and Massive Open Online Courses and the ICT infrastructure and connectivity in schools.
The EESC agrees that the digital approach in education improves its quality and creativity. Required will be the involvement of teachers and the mobilisation of all stakeholders. The initiative must be supported by EU and national funding and coordinated by the Commission. Students' social inclusion must be ensured.
The EESC believes that the Erasmus for All Programme should be a key instrument for increasing support for education and training in order to enhance citizens' skills, help tackle the high levels of youth unemployment in many Member States, meet the need for qualified labour, and resolve skills mismatches. It is especially important to employ such an instrument at a time of economic crisis and negative repercussions on labour markets.