They adopted a recommendation aimed at even more effective European cooperation in the field of higher education. Ministers also endorsed the Council conclusions on a European strategy to strengthen higher education and research institutes for the future of Europe and the Council conclusions on strengthening the mobility of teachers and trainers, in particular European mobility, in their education and training. Youth ministers adopted a recommendation on the mobility of young volunteers in the European Union and endorsed conclusions on promoting the engagement of young people as change agents to protect the environment.
Strengthening of crisis management and anticipation in the European education area
Recent events have shown that education systems are fully affected by the impact of the crises. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on schools and universities has been significant. Today, the war in Ukraine is hitting children and young people in general hard. Aware of the essential nature of access to education, EU Member States have mobilized to extend a warm welcome to millions of children and students. To identify needs and provide coordinated responses, an informal videoconference ministerial meeting on Ukraine was organized on March 16, which was extended with regular follow-up meetings.
During this Council of Ministers on April 5, Ministers invited Minister of Education and Science Mr. Serhiy Shkarlet to address the Council. They also took stock of the work of the Coordination Group before continuing their debate on the best response to the situation in Ukraine. More broadly, the exchange focused on the need to identify together the best tools and mechanisms at EU level to mitigate the impact of a current and future crisis on our education systems.
Informal video conference of education ministers, 16 March 2022 (main results)
European cooperation in higher education
The Council approved conclusions on a European strategy to strengthen higher education institutions for the future of Europe and a recommendation aimed at building bridges for effective European cooperation in higher education.
That Council conclusions on a European strategy Strengthening Universities for Europe’s Future Call for support for European cooperation four cardinal points : Strengthening the European dimension of higher education and research, promoting Europe’s role and leadership at global level, strengthening Europe’s recovery and response to the green and digital transitions and deepening the sense of belonging to Europe.
In order to implement this strategy, the recommendation of the board of directors on transnational cooperation describes the actions that Member States and the Union will undertake over the next year. It specifically aims to Experience a European label for joint degrees from 2022, paving the way for a possible future European degree. It also allows testing new instruments for institutionalize collaboration between companies, for example through an alliance statute. It also goes towards the future European funding covers all tasks of the European universities.
In their conclusions on strengthening the mobility of teachers and trainers, the ministers call on the Member States to remove existing obstacles, offer organizational and financial support and promote the mobility of teachers and future teachers.
Volunteering in the EU
The Council adopted a recommendation on the mobility of young volunteers in the EU. The recommendation focuses on young people with fewer opportunities. Member States should promote accessible information and targeted awareness-raising activities on volunteering abroad among these young people.
Ministers also discussed the mobility of young volunteers as part of a policy debate. They addressed the barriers to volunteering and mobility of young volunteers, such as the diversity of national administrative and regulatory frameworks or the lack of recognition of the value of the volunteering experience and the skills developed by young volunteers. Ministers also discussed possible actions to promote synergies between national/regional volunteering and European solidarity and volunteer mobility schemes, as well as new actions at EU level to promote solidarity and mobility of young European volunteers.
In the current context of the massive arrival of people fleeing the war in Ukraine, the ministers listened to the testimony of Mr. Vadym Huttsait, Minister of Youth and Sport. The Council also recognized that EU-wide actions by young volunteers play a role in promoting democratic values and peace and should therefore be encouraged and facilitated. The Council also stressed the particular importance of these solidarity actions, in which young Europeans participate with conviction. The Council emphasized that volunteering enables young people to get involved in a structured, concrete and effective way to help refugees in need.
Youth engagement for environmental protection
The Council conclusions on ‘Promoting the engagement of young people as change agents for environmental protection’, also endorsed today by Youth Ministers, encourage young people’s active engagement in environmental protection and aim to create favorable conditions for this engagement give young people better training in environmental issues, offer them room for creativity and action, promote voluntary commitment or recognize this commitment at school, university and at work.
The Czech delegation presented the work program of their next presidency in the field of education and youth.
The Presidency informed delegations of the support of ministers from 26 Member States for a declaration to develop a common vision on the effectiveness, efficiency and equity of investments in education.
The Cypriot minister briefed his colleagues on the third high-level meeting of education ministers as part of the ninth Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference (to be held in Nicosia on 5-7 October 2022).