Meet our members | Tatjana BABRAUSKIENĖ: High-quality public education is a right which must be made available to all children

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Tatjana BABRAUSKIENĖ, member of the NAT section

Tatjana BABRAUSKIENĖ has been a member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) from the Workers' Group (Group II) since 2015. She's the head of International Relations at the Lithuanian Education and Science Trade Union. Currently a member of the NAT, SOC and REX sections, she's very active in education and its link to sustainable development.

What drives you to be an active and engaged EESC and NAT Section Member? How do you make the link with your work (and your life) back home?

As a NAT member, it is difficult not to be active and engaged, the NAT section being so strongly committed to sustainable development. The 2030 Agenda was adopted 7 years ago under the slogan “of the people, by the people, and for the people” and the NAT section supports its implementation, because the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be achieved without the support of organised civil society and social partners.

Back home with the support of my organisation, we seek to mobilise trade unionists around the sustainability issues - for instance, fighting against inequality and demanding action against climate change. In cooperation with public institutions and with politicians seeking to achieve the SDGs, this is a great opportunity for Lithuania to transform all these goals into positive action for sustainable development. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be achieved without organised civil society and social partners support!

You are currently Rapporteur of the EESC opinion Empowering youth to achieve sustainable development through education. Can you tell us a little bit about the state of play and next steps?

We had the second study group meeting and also the second EESC public hearing on the 27th September 2022. 

The objective is to make recommendations for change, with three goals:

  • to analyse whether and how the SDGs are embedded in the educational curriculum of Member States; 
  • to examine whether the approach by Member States is truly transformative education for sustainable development, and detect the limitations and barriers to implementing such an education on a national level;
  • to provide recommendations to support the EC and the Member States on how to foster the further development of youth policies, ensuring that education for sustainable development is mainstreamed from an early stage.

Education is the key that will allow many other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved. In your view, what are the essential elements to help reduce inequalities and to reach equality?

Not just education, but high-quality education! School is crucial to awakening children to moral and cultural values, and developing the sustainable attitudes needed for future work as well as personal life in adapting to society. High quality public education is a right which must be made available to all children on equal terms. 

It is essential to support public education, because public schools cannot turn children away based on their academic performance, beliefs, income level or disability. This reduces segregation in the society because it provides everyone the same educational opportunities, regardless of their personal or financial situation. This diversity is an important life learning experience in itself for all of children.