Agency representatives attended the First European Education Summit on 25 January 2018, organised by the European Commission. Hosted by Tibor Navracsics, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, the event invited participants to discuss the importance of basic skills and inclusive education for becoming active members of society.
Under the theme of ‘Laying the foundations of the European Education Area: for an innovative, inclusive and values-based education’, the summit had around 450 participants. This included 15 European education ministers, along with education practitioners, stakeholders and business leaders.
Commissioner Tibor Navracsics talked about the need to have quality education to build resilient societies. He highlighted education’s role in promoting common values and building a sense of European belonging, as well as the need to have digitally competent young people.
Samantha Cristoforetti, a European Space Agency astronaut, delivered an inspiring speech. She referred to her own career path when discussing the importance of learners having international experience from an early age. As an engineer and astronaut, she underlined that studying humanities and foreign languages is important to develop compassion and understanding.
Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of UNESCO, pointed out that quality and inclusive education are the basis for societies that make informed choices. She also talked about the challenges migration presents for education.
The topics discussed at the summit included basic skills, digital competence, the importance of engaging disadvantaged children in the classroom, mobility of learners and teachers, mutual recognition of qualifications, and lifelong learning for teachers. Overall, the messages illustrated the need to build a European Education Area based on a common vision, which will make mobility a reality for all, create a network of European Universities and promote lifelong learning.
In her closing speech, Martine Reicherts, Director-General, DG Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, gave a positive assessment of the work done so far. She announced that the Second European Education Summit will take place in October 2019.