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This year EFIL had the great chance to organise events within the Lifelong Learning Week, thanks to the Lifelong Learning Platform and the European Youth Forum.
The debate on the campaign #RecogniseStudyAbroad took place on 13 October at the European Parliament and was organised in cooperation with EEE-YFU, the Organising Bureau of School Students Unions (OBESSU) and the European Parents Association (EPA). Here you can read the agenda.
The event was hosted by MEP Mercedes Bresso from Italy and we had the pleasure to have also MEP Victor Negrescu from Romania among the speakers. MEP Bresso stressed the key role of educational exchanges in promoting a common European citizenship in today’s Europe and MEP Negrescu told his personal experience of facing great difficulties in changing schools from one country to another.
Both MEPs support the #RecogniseStudyAbroad campaign and committed to initiate the process for a Written Declaration of the European Parliament on the matter of recognition of school study periods abroad. We were very pleased to see such a commitment and look forward to working further on this topic with the EP and hope to get the signatures needed to then ask for action on the part of the European Commission and the Member states, namely the Council of the EU. We can also count on the support of the Youth Intergroup in the European Parliament.
We were glad to hear, at the debate, the voices of the several supporters of the campaign from the civil society, namely school students represented by Ferre Windey from OBESSU, parents represented by Eszter Salamon from EPA and the sector of School education represented by Caroline Kearney from KeyCoNet, coordinated by European Schoolnet’. Their intervention provided a very high quality discussion around the need 1) for curricula based on key competences, 2) less administrative burden for recognition of credits/diplomas in order to ensure access and inclusion, 3) educational exchanges as a key tool to promote intercultural dialogue and European citizenship 4) for guaranteeing the basic right to mobility which is hindered by the lack of recognition among different school systems.
In addition, Davide Capecchi from the youth partnership between the EU and the Council of Europe presented the work on the Quality Charter for learning mobility in the youth field, which is undergoing a public consultation. Quality is a key factor for ensuring increased learning mobility.
Finally, we had the pleasure to hear from Olivier Joris from Office national de garantie des séjours linguistiques et educatifs, about his efforts at national level in France towards ensuring recognition of study periods abroad.
It was an extremely fruitful debate which showed how, by joining forces, great outcomes can be achieved: recognition of the study period abroad is not an internal matter of educational exchange organisation, it is a matter than concerns mobile families and many more stakeholders than we can think, it is a basic right of EU citizens.
As MEP Bresso said, “Member states managed to agree on very complicated matters related to the common labour market, it is absurd that they cannot agree on matters such as school education.” We want to be positive as MEP Negrescu suggested “the EP just voted for abolishing the need of an apostle to certify, at EU level, the legal value of documents issued by a national authority, there is then hope that we can have, also, recognition among different school systems.”
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