The EYCS council was concluded today in favour of the adoption of conclusions on European Solidarity Corps and high quality education for all European youths. Furthermore, the Council worked on preparing its efforts to the March European Council.
The Council adopted conclusions on investing in Europe's youth, focusing on the European Solidarity Corps. The conclusions provide a political response to the Commission's December Youth initiative, which proposed a package of measures aimed at improving young people's skills and opportunities in order to tackle youth unemployment and increase youth participation and learning mobility.
The package included a communication on the European Solidarity Corps which aims at allowing more young people to participate in a wide range of solidarity activities. This can be done by volunteering or through a job, traineeship or apprenticeship supporting a non-governmental organisation (NGO), local authority or private company active in addressing difficult situations across the European Union. All young people will be able to participate irrespective of their background, education, level of skills, or any disability.
Ministers also discussed the contribution that education and training can make to social cohesion and the promotion of common European values, in the framework of the European Semester 2017.
Ministers addressed in particular possible measures to mitigate educational inequalities due to the socio-economic disparities, as shown by the 2015 PISA results. They also considered how the education and training programs of the EU member states might be improved through the establishment of national and European objectives.
Ministers emphasized that education policies play a fundamental role in promoting inclusion and respect for diversity in the European Union and that the fundamental values of the EU and the European education model must be preserved. Ensuring inclusive high quality education should also be seen in a life-long perspective covering all aspects of education.
"Improving our education and training systems is critical, not only because it can generate economic benefits and reduce unemployment, but also because it promotes social mobility and remains one of the best means of preventing social exclusion. Education in itself cannot do all, it needs economic, social and financial support."
Evarist Bartolo, Minister for Education and Employment of Malta
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