Voicing concerns over the damage inflicted by the Covid-19 pandemic on Europe’s education systems, the S&Ds publicly call on the European Council and Commission to develop and implement concrete solutions to bridge the educational gaps created between different member states. Members of the European Parliament will cast their votes on a resolution on the topic on Wednesday.
Petra Kammerevert MEP, S&D spokeswoman on culture and education, said:
“The Covid-19 pandemic has clearly exposed the weaknesses in our education and training systems. Moreover, it has shown that the challenges we have to meet in education and training are the same across all member states. Against this background, we must now draw joint lessons for an EU-wide response. Led by the S&D Group, the Parliament has thus invited the Council and the Commission to today's plenary session. We want to hear how they assess the impact of the crisis on educational institutions, their staff and learners, what actions they intend to take to make education more inclusive and what lessons they have learnt for future reforms.
“From our point of view, the European Union should play a more prominent role in shaping education policy. With the upgraded Digital Education Action Plan and the plan to achieve the European Education Area by 2025, the European Commission has taken some first baby steps in that direction. However, the current situation demands a much quicker and stronger reaction, both at national and European level. Instead of member states using a scattergun approach to try to mitigate the problems caused by the closure of schools, cancellation of exams, home-schooling situations etc, they should commit to investing at least 10% of their GDP in education and training on a long-term basis, and initiate substantial reforms now.”
Victor Negrescu MEP, vice-chair of the European Parliament’s committee on culture and education, said:
“It is essential to have a common European answer to the challenges faced by education and training systems across the Union. We need to build a European policy in the field, while at the same time developing synergies and concrete solutions to tackle the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. We urgently need to develop a common European mechanism designed to provide the best answers to the current challenges. We call for a permanent monitoring and assessment instrument, correlated with the European semester format, designed to evaluate the actions that have been taken. This should be put in place across the EU in order to help educational institutions, staff and students deal with the current crisis. At the same time, we must make the necessary reforms designed to improve the quality of education and access to it across all member states.
“The European Union needs to learn from the current crisis and put education at the top of the agenda for the Commission and the Council. We call for the allocation of 10% of the European Recovery Plan to education and training in order to tackle the gaps across the EU, upgrade our educational systems and prepare for the changes in our economy and society. We need more than words and strategies, we need practical solutions because the current crisis has shown the weakness of our systems. Access to education is a right and digital education should not be a privilege anymore. Every child out of education, every person who cannot continue their training, every individual who is disadvantaged by the opportunities available – each one represents a problem that, if not resolved immediately, will impact the future of Europe.”