Europe, do not forget Education and Culture

2020 Diplomacy Festival – Rome, Italy

Chair: Vito Borrelli, Deputy Head, European Commission Representation in Italy

Dr. Charles Asher Small, Executive Director, ISGAP; Research Scholar, St. Antony’s College, Oxford
Massimiliano Smeriglio, MEP, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Stefania Giannini, Deputy Director-General, UNESCO
Federica Olivares, Director, International Program in Cultural Diplomacy, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
Cesare Onestini, Director, European Training Foundation (ETF)

Date: Thursday, October 29th, 2020
01:30 AM Los Angeles Time – 04:30 AM New York Time
8:30 AM London Time – 9:30 AM Rome Time – 10:30 AM Israel Time

Click HERE to learn more and watch the event on DIPLOCHANNEL FOUR.

The European Pillar of Social Rights also includes access to quality and inclusive education and lifelong learning, which are considered fundamental human rights and essential for the acquisition and maintenance of skills, for full and active participation in society and effective access to an evolving labor market. According to UNESCO, nearly 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries – 94% of the world’s learner population – were affected by the closure of education and training institutions at the height of the COVID-19 crisis; while there are still serious discrepancies at EU level, with a percentage of up to 32% of pupils who have not had access to education for several months in some Member States. This lack of access resulted mainly from the absence of digital equipment, inadequate digital skills or a pre-existing disadvantage. It is undeniable that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused perhaps the most serious disruption in the history of the world’s education and training systems, threatening a learning loss for an entire generation of students, and could wipe out decades of progress, with a potentially negative impact also on the growth of labor productivity and on the competitiveness of the Union. It should also be said that educational institutions have a much broader social and educational role and contribute to the physical and mental health of learners by leading to the lack of direct interaction between teacher and student and accelerating the transition to digital learning. but this sudden shift has exposed huge gaps in the design and implementation of digital education policy within the European Union and in all Member States. The pandemic represents an opportunity to rethink the future of education through a European Education Area by 2025; However, the political agreement reached by the European Council on the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) entails severe cuts in flagship education programs such as Erasmus +; while Parliament has repeatedly called for an ambitious budget for education programs without cuts in public spending on education. Otherwise, there is a risk of aggravating existing inequalities, both between Member States and within them, especially as regards people with learning difficulties and disabilities and those belonging to vulnerable groups or minorities. Social and educational inequalities that often consolidate in early childhood and tend to widen during adulthood, as lower levels of education generally lead to worse employment prospects, which in turn tend to reduce access to training and development opportunities for workers.

Click HERE to learn more and watch the event on DIPLOCHANNEL FOUR.