Our colleague Mónika RÉTI, as member of the Commission’s working group for transversal skills and entrepreneurial skills, participated at the Towards a European Area of Skills and Qualifications conference in Brussels on the 17th June 2014.
The goal of the conference was to present Eurobarometer statistics, and draft and interpret European policy and education policy directions accordingly. The conference showed the importance of the Eurobarometer results from the point of view of education, the job market, EU actions and communication. The welcome speech was given by Ms. Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, who accentuated that the implementation of the European Qualifications Framework must be accelerated. Next, Mr. Xavier Prats Monné, Deputy Director General for Education and Culture presented the results of the Eurobarometer survey, which shows that three quarters of Europeans do not know the common qualifications framework, and apart Europass, which is quite well-known, other available web tools are very little known amongst Europeans. Mr. Monné pointed to the fact that in order to prevent isolation of education research institutes, they must make use of technology and the internet. Results also showed that contrary to current research data, when asked about learning outcomes, the majority of respondents indicated teacher’s motivating role as most important, although research shows study environments have a much greater role. Mr. Monné’s presentation was followed by that of Professor Mike Campbell, who talked about mobility and employability in Europe. Currently, the level of transversal skills is geographically uneven, and generally low. European tools could be a bridge between education and the job market, supporting mobility and flexibility.
Discussion of learning outcomes, skills and competences followed in a roundtable talk, and then Mr. Hannes Klöpper gave a lecture about the adaptability of European tools to the needs of learners. Another roundtable talk followed, this time about open universities and online courses. After, in a presentation, Mr. Colin Walters explored the building up of common frames of reference, by telling about the case of Australia. The last roundtable of the day centred around the harmonisation of qualifications, and on the strengthening of a common European platform. Closing remarks concentrated on the necessary development directions (accessibility, communication, harmonisation), marked also by the Eurobarometer findings.