Today, on 23 March 2009 the informal meeting was chaired by Czech Minister for Education, Youth and Sports Ondřej Liška.
During the morning part of their meeting the EU Education Ministers addressed the topic of financial and economic crisis and the measures that the sector of education and training could implement to help overcome this crisis and promote a sound and competitive environment.
The meeting was opened with a speech by President of the Education Council and Minister of Education, Youth and Sports Ondřej Liška. In response to the current economic situation he stated that “the Czech Presidency is convinced that the sector of education and training could significantly contribute toward overcoming the intensifying economic crisis. With a joint effort we can attempt to strengthen the role of education and training in the context of the global strategy of European cooperation, interconnection with other policies and a coordinated approach with respect to other measures. The role of education may also be highlighted in the context of the knowledge triangle which connects the areas of research, development and innovation - the important aspects of economic growth."
The opening speech was followed by an address by two guests of the Czech Presidency: Jan Švejnar (professor of economy, marketing and public policy at Michigan University) and Petr Fiala (President of the Masaryk University in Brno).
The speeches were followed by a discussion that was inspired by the opening questions:
- What can Education Ministers do in the current situation to help solve the economic crisis and at the same time orientate their policies towards being better equipped for possible future crisis situations? Do you have any comparable experience from your country’s past? What concrete measures at national level have you already implemented or what fundamental steps are you planning or considering to implement in this situation?
- How can European cooperation help solve the current situation? What role could the new strategic framework of European cooperation in education play and which priorities are the most important from your perspective?
Opening the afternoon part of the meeting, Minister Liška presented the EU Ministers for Education and heads of delegations with a gift from the Czech Presidency and explained its significance. The gift is a Czech brainteaser, the “hedgehog in the cage”. It is connected to a Czech literary classic for youth by a Czech writer Jaroslav Foglar but it was also selected with regard to the European Year of Creativity and Innovation.
The meeting then moved on to address one of the themes which the Czech Presidency regards as particularly important – i.e. the partnership and active cooperation between education and training institutions on the one hand and employers on the other.
“Among its priorities, the Czech Presidency has been paying particular attention to the issue of openness of education institutions towards the needs of employers and the labour market and to encouraging cooperation and communication. We consider this mutually important partnership, which focuses on individuals, their personal satisfaction and employability, as vital not only in order to reach the goals outlined in the Lisbon Agenda, but, even more importantly, to respond to the crisis that Europe is currently faced with”, said the Council President, Minister Ondřej Liška.
These words were taken up by the third guest speaker, Leif Johansson (AB Volvo President and Volvo Group CEO, Sweden), as a representative of employers. The Ministers then thoroughly discussed eight recommendation points and drafted a final results´ paper: CZ_PRES_Communique_Prague_22_23_3_2009.pdf (71.33 KB)
Speech by Tor Aasland, Norwegian minister for education and research: norway_position.pdf (122,96 KB)
The presentation of L. Johanssona: Johansson.ppt (5,51 MB)
Find out more about the discussion topics: Background_paper_Informal.pdf (953,14 KB)
Photos from the event:
More photos are to be found at the website of the Czech Presidency.
Mgr. Tomáš Bouška
Spokesperson of the MEYS for CZ PRES
tel.: +420 257 193 426
fax: +420 257 193 753