Priorities of the Czech Presidency

The Czech Republic’s priorities build on the national priorities expressed by the slogan ‘ A Europe without Barriers’ and by the key area of interest ‘A Competitive and Open Europe’. The Czech Republic advocates an intensification of EU competitiveness based on the objectives defined in the Lisbon Strategy and in national documents.

Partnerships between educational institutions and the commercial sphere, or employers, in the broadest sense, are also important for the Czech Republic. This is not merely cooperation between companies and schools in the field of research. What matters is the ability of schools to respond to labour market changes and to demographic changes with a corresponding range of educational programmes. The Czech Republic will therefore focus on developments in the field of European education beyond 2010.

Concept of a long-term strategy for European cooperation in education after 2010

Europe is responding to the challenges it faces in a globalising world by means of a working programme on cooperation in education and training after 2010. This strategy picks up on previous programmes and complies with Member States’ requirements regarding further developments in the long-term plan. A crucial factor in carrying out this priority is the publication of a European Commission document in December 2008, which is going to be used by the Czech Presidency to formulate current proposals more precisely and to prepare key communications for the Spring European Council.

Credit system and safeguarding quality in vocational training

The European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET) is based on a proposal made by the European Commission in 2006. The initiative aims to promote the mobility of students and the permeability of subjects of vocational training and education in schools and educational institutions in individual Member States thanks to a transferable system of credits awarded for courses completed (similar to the university ECTS). The Commission will reach the final stage and proceed to the adoption of this Recommendation under the Czech Presidency.

By the same token, there are plans for the submission of a Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the introduction of the European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for Vocational Education and Training  building on the general strategy for improving the performance, quality and attractiveness of vocational education and training from 2002. This Recommendation aims to enhance the quality and attractiveness of vocational training and to attract a larger number of people interested in this field of education.

European Year of Creativity and Innovation

As 2009 has been declared the European Year of Creativity and Innovation, the opening conference on this subject, attended by the European Commissioners, will be held during the Czech Presidency.

Creativity and innovation in art, technology and trade are rarely well-connected. Therefore, the objective of the 2009 European Year is to promote creativity and innovation as key competences for everyone via numerous events at national and European level.

Strategy for Multilingualism

Multilingualism is very important at the European level, given the linguistic diversity of the Member States. The cultural heritage of all Member States, as epitomised by their national languages, should be protected and maintained. One challenge for multilingualism is the migration, within Member States, of minorities speaking other languages, and the question of the education of these groups of population in their mother tongues as well as in the language of the host country.

Migration and education

As the number of third-country migrants in EU Member States rises and the demographic situation of Europe changes, the integration of migrants into the host society is becoming an increasingly significant topic. Education plays an important part in the process of integration. In the second half of 2008, the European Commission published a Green Paper on Education and Migration which draws attention to the challenges and problems linked to this theme and outlines certain solutions. The results of the consultations of the Green Paper will be presented during the Czech Presidency.

Development of higher education

Since the 1990s, the higher education system in Europe has been transformed by the Bologna Process of reforms. Its significance lies in the creation of a number of specific instruments of cooperation in the field of higher education and the gradual harmonisation of European national education systems. The year 2009 marks the closing of a 10-year cooperation period as part of the Bologna Process, evaluating its development and setting visions after 2010.

The main priorities of higher education include achieving permeability, transparency, quality, mutual international recognition and mobility of students. Instruments that enable implementation of the above priorities and are subject to annual evaluation include structural changes, i.e. the three-tier system of study, preparation of qualifications frameworks, national quality assurance systems, introduction of European credits (ECTS) based on learning results and the study burden.

Youth and voluntary activities

The aim of European cooperation in the field of youth is to contribute to improvements in the quality of life of young people through cooperation between individual sectors, using all available instruments. In 2009, this cooperation will be assessed for the first time.A key element in the cooperation of the EU Member States in this field is the European Youth Pact. It focuses on three areas: employment, integration and social advancement; education, training and mobility; and reconciliation of family and working lives. Efforts to reinforce the status of voluntary activities at European and local level and attempts to promote the recognition of voluntary activities as informal education are important.

Last update: 16.8.2011 16:01

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