The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has been hosting the event "Your Europe, Your Say!" (YEYS) since 2010. YEYS enables secondary school pupils from the EU Member States, the candidate countries and a Brussels-based European school to learn about the EESC and its role, and to exchange views and propose recommendations on a specific subject. You can find more information on our website.
- Conditions for participating
To take part, an applicant school must:
- be a secondary school or a vocational training school with pupils of 16-18 years of age;
- be located in an EU Member State, or in one of the candidate countries, or be one of the Brussels-based European schools;
- be recognised by the education authorities in their country;
- have a computer (to read and print PDF files), with internet access and email;
- choose one teacher and three pupils who are able to express themselves in English;
- agree that the three selected pupils and one teacher will take part in the event during school time;
- ensure that the three selected pupils each have a computer/laptop or a tablet with internet access;
- undertake to consider and discuss the topics of the event in class before the virtual event;
- undertake to host one EESC member for an information session on the EU and the EESC, provisionally between January and February (travel and accommodation expenses of the EESC Member to be paid by the EESC). The member will visit the selected school and will meet the three pupils and the teacher chosen to participate in the virtual event. During the visit, he or she will give a presentation (on the EU, the EESC and the event) to one or more classes of the selected school;
- inform the selected pupils, their classmates and possibly all pupils at the school of the possibility to follow the preparations for the event and the event itself on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at the three addresses indicated at the end of this document under "Additional information".
- Registration process
A school wishing to take part is required to complete the online registration form on the EESC's website before the stated deadline, i.e. 26 November 2021. Registration will remain open until that date. Before registration, the school shall designate its supervising teacher, who must be able to communicate in English, being the sole contact person for the EESC – if the school is selected – during the preparatory phase before the event. The school's head teacher must confirm this choice in the relevant section of the online registration form. On the registration form, the school enters its full name/title and address, the name and contact details of the head teacher and the supervising teacher, and an email address to which all correspondence with the supervising teacher can be sent. Emails must be checked regularly as the schools will be contacted mainly by email.
- What does a school commit itself to by registering?
By registering, each school must accept the general conditions of the draw, preparation and participation in the virtual event. Valid registration by the deadline guarantees only that the school can take part in the draw; it does not guarantee a place in the event. The participating schools (one per country) will be selected by draw on 9 December 2021. The schools that are selected by drawing lots undertake to:
- choose and register three pupils able to speak and understand English, who will take part in the virtual event, supervised by a teacher;
- agree that the three selected pupils and teacher will take part in the event during school time;
- ensure that the three selected pupils each have a computer/laptop or a tablet with internet access;
- invite one EESC member for an information session at the school;
- consider and discuss the briefing material proposed by the EESC;
- share the results of their work during the virtual event by taking an active part in the discussions;
- send a group photo with the 3 selected pupils and the supervising teacher, as well as the authorisation to use these photographs in EESC publications and to post them on the EESC website, intranet and social networks (provided that every participant has given his/her consent on the registration form – see below the part on protection of personal data);
- agree to the pupils' and teacher's names and the pupils' and teacher's pictures taken during the EESC member's visit to the school being used in EESC publications and posted on the EESC website, intranet and related social networks (provided that every participant has given his/her consent on the registration form – see below the part on protection of personal data);
- agree to the pupils' and teacher's names and the pupils' and teacher's pictures taken during their participation in the virtual event being used in EESC publications and posted on the EESC website, intranet and related social networks;
- provide any news from the local or national media relating to the visit of an EESC member to the school or relating to the participation of the school in the event;
- promptly inform the organisers at the EESC of any change (e.g. in the supervising teacher, participating pupils, email address);
- ensure local follow-up to the event, both at the school and elsewhere (for instance informing about the adopted recommendations, spreading information about the event in general).
- What happens if a school does not meet its commitments?
Any failure to meet these conditions will result in the school and its pupils being immediately excluded from the event.
Selection of schools
- Lucky draw
The participating schools will be selected by draw on 9 December 2021 from among all the schools that have applied by the deadline. A selected school may not apply again the year following its participation in the event (but will be able to apply again in two years' time). 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 draw will be organised per country so that one school will be selected from each country. A reserve list of two other schools will be created and picked only if the selected school withdraws its application. The chosen schools will be informed of their selection individually by email, and their names will be posted on the EESC website.
Selection of pupils participating in the virtual event
- Who will take part?
The participating schools shall choose three pupils to take part in the event. These pupils should be in their penultimate year of any type of secondary education (aged ≥16 years) and be able to express themselves in English. The schools themselves shall select pupils to represent them. They may set their own selection criteria, provided these are clear, fair and non-discriminatory. For reasons of gender equality, the pupils selected should not all be of the same sex (unless they are from single-sex schools). Pupils with disabilities are welcome to take part.
- Registration of pupils
The selected schools shall register the three pupils they have chosen to take part in the YEYS event. They will be required to provide an authorisation form for each pupil. This form will be made available by the YEYS team to all schools in all official EU languages. It must be signed by the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of the pupil and by the school's head teacher, and then sent to the EESC by youreuropeeesc [dot] europa [dot] eu (email). The deadline to collect all required documents will be specified in the email you will receive from the YEYS Team. Please make sure that the document is readable. In this form, the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of the pupil and the school's head teacher attest that.
- the pupil has permission to participate in the virtual event;
- the pupil's name may be published in EESC publications, on the EESC website and intranet and related social networks with photos of the pupil and/or video recordings of the session (with consent);
- the pupil will be supervised by the teacher while participating. The pupil may not take part in the event unless the authorisation form is received by the stated deadline.
- Protection of personal data
The EESC guarantees the protection of all personal data received in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2018/1725. The YEYS event will be recorded and screenshots or photographs will be taken and will be disseminated in line with the EESC's institutional communication guidelines. Participants who do not wish to be photographed or recorded should switch their camera off during the event.
Preparation for the event in the schools
- How to be ready?
A member of the Committee will visit the selected schools, either online or in person, where he/she will provide information about the EESC and its working methods, and also present and discuss the working documents of the event. The EESC will pay the member's travel and accommodation expenses. The EESC will also take press-related initiatives. The EESC press unit will work with the schools and the EESC members to encourage the media to follow and possibly participate in the visit. We would appreciate your support for this activity. All the key information about the event will be published on the EESC's website. The teachers involved are therefore asked to check our website regularly. The participating schools will receive background documents with open questions to help pupils and their teachers shape their ideas and prepare for the debate. The pupils and teachers are asked to discuss those questions in class, so as to be ready for the live discussions during the virtual event.
The virtual event
The YEYS22 event will last one and a half days, during which the pupils will take part in various workshops, under the guidance of specialised moderators. The pupils will be split into a number of small groups for each workshop. To maximise engagement and interaction, each pupil must be in an individual room and have his/her own device. Opening and closing plenary sessions will take place at the beginning and end of the event (these two sessions will be livestreamed). The teachers will be invited to attend a separate programme, hosted by several EU institutions.
- Working languages
The working groups will be held in English, while simultaneous interpretation from/into English and French will be provided for the plenary sessions. As already stressed, to ensure that the working group discussions go smoothly, the pupils as well as their accompanying teacher are required to be able to express themselves in English.