The European Parliament and the European Commission has jointly organised a large event in Brussels that was to evaluate the progress towards the envisaged European Education Area by 2035. Parents International could bring the voice of European parents to the table. The event coincided with the publication of our Democrat Framework, giving us a perfect opportunity to highlight our research findings and the link between the importance of more focus on educating democrats and the necessary educator skills for that. There was room to raise the Democrat consortium’s concerns about the use of the notion of “citizenship”.
The midterm review event agenda followed the findings provided by the European Commission report on the progress of the European Education Area.
The main discussion topics included:
- citizenship education
- supporting teachers
- boosting equity and inclusion in education and training
- automatic mutual recognition
The most interesting intervention was on the Portuguese approach of making democracy education truly transversal in schools that have a very wide autonomy by training teachers and providing mutual learning opportunities for them and school leaders.
There was a lot of focus on citizenship education for teenagers and little on younger children. Unfortunately, any reference to the work of the Council of Europe on citizenship was missing while we heard a panellist about the dangers of the online world as “digital citizenship”.
The event was to bring together representatives from EU institutions, EU countries and relevant members of the wider education community. However, the participation did not go much beyond the “Brussels bubble”, organisations based in Brussels as this event was again organised in a way that did not make it possible for many organisations to send their representatives as travel costs were not covered – a new phenomenon introduced after the end of restrictions.