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Young Europeans: an urgent educational challenge

Resolution 1930 (2013)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 24 April 2013 (15th Sitting) (see Doc. 13155, report of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media, rapporteur: Ms Komar). Text adopted by the Assembly on 24 April 2013 (15th Sitting).See also Recommendation 2014 (2013).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly recalls that education is a pillar of youth empowerment and a prerequisite for personal fulfilment, social inclusion, active citizenship, employability and entrepreneurship. It welcomes the recently adopted Committee of Ministers Recommendation CM/Rec(2012)13 on ensuring quality education, which calls for educational provision that develops each pupil’s and student’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential.
2. The Assembly regrets the current very high rates of youth unemployment. It notes the mismatch between the skills of the unemployed and those required for the available jobs, which questions the capacity of the education and training systems across Europe to provide pupils and students with the necessary skills for them to access the job market.
3. Bearing in mind the principle of lifelong learning, the Assembly notes that non-formal and informal education are in general undervalued in comparison with the higher status given to formal education. There is a need to recognise the contribution that all learning experiences can bring to personal development. The validation of competences acquired through non-formal learning and youth work should be considered an important element for the promotion of young people’s autonomy.
4. Education, however, is not only about preparing pupils and students to become part of a highly skilled workforce, but has a value in itself. It must be aimed at nurturing human talent and creativity, and at contributing to personal development, including the capacity to appreciate culture and to get involved in cultural life, as well as to the sustainable cultural, socio-economic and political development of society at large.
5. The Assembly calls on member States to adopt a more holistic approach to education, to secure the provision of adequate resources for education – not below 6% of the gross domestic product – and to take action to:
5.1 enhance the traditional formal education setting, and in particular to:
5.1.1 invest in effective guidance and counselling for all pupils and students, helping them to get an overview of different learning and career opportunities and supporting them in finding an educational and/or career pathway suitable for them;
5.1.2 develop policies in youth mobility – including mobility through international student exchange programmes at European level – out-of-school education/learning, voluntary service and youth information and participation;
5.1.3 integrate education for democratic citizenship and human rights in national curricula and ensure that schools promote mutual respect and develop anti-violence and anti-discrimination policies, to combat different forms of violence, bullying, intolerant behaviour and self-harm;
5.1.4 establish attractive conditions for, and explore ways of enhancing, the status of the teaching profession;
5.2 improve recognition of and support for new learning settings, and in particular to:
5.2.1 intensify efforts aimed at the recognition of youth work and non-formal and informal learning, taking into account the proposals put forward by the “Strasbourg Process” on the recognition and validation of non-formal and informal learning;
5.2.2 support the use of formal education facilities by civil society organisations providing both students and teachers with additional opportunities for non-formal and lifelong learning;
5.2.3 encourage different forms of practical occupational experiences which allow pupils and students to apply what they have learned and to familiarise themselves with different career paths and opportunities;
5.2.4 promote entrepreneurship education and value the role that youth organisations can play in supporting the development of self-employment prospects for young people;
5.2.5 encourage the development of youth workers’ leadership competences by promoting the use of the European Portfolio for Youth Leaders and Youth Workers;
5.3 ensure inclusion, and in particular to:
5.3.1 facilitate access to education for children and young people from disadvantaged groups;
5.3.2 ensure proper information to parents about the educational system and its different pathways and help them support adolescents in their educational choices;
5.3.3 provide teacher training to equip teachers with intercultural competences, and the capability to deal with ethnic, cultural and religious diversity;
5.3.4 create conditions to prevent young people from disadvantaged groups from leaving school early, including through targeted financial support for secondary students to enable them to stay in full-time education.