Conception of a Long-term European Strategy beyond 2010
The Czech Presidency will focus on continuing the discussion on the future strategy following up the work programme “Education and Training 2010” in the field of education beyond 2010 – outlining priority directions and visions.
With regard to Communication from the Commission (to be published in December 2008) and the existing work programme “Education and Training 2010”, the new strategic framework should define main long-term objectives of the European cooperation in education and training for the next decade, including setting out the benchmarks which correspond to the objectives. In addition it should contribute to enhance the role of education and training within the future strategic development in Europe. This issue relates also to the preparation of Key Messages in the field of education for the Spring European Council which should give a mandate for approving the new strategic framework in May 2009.
Partnership between the Sphere of Education and Employers/Enterprises
The Czech Republic will primarily focus its attention on the enhancement of cooperation between the fields of education and training on one hand, and employers/enterprises and regions on the other hand. This partnership is perceived as a prerequisite for future development of Europe – especially with regard to interconnecting the social and economic aspects and needs, where ensuring and enhancing employability of all persons is a common denominator of the two.
To make a knowledge economy/knowledge society in the EU a reality it is necessary to concentrate on putting the knowledge triangle (education-research-innovation) at work, on supporting the transfer of knowledge and innovation between education institutions and enterprises and last but not least on promoting the openness of educational institutions towards all individuals and employers. The aim of such cooperation is to ensure that all citizens are equipped with the key competences and skills necessary for their professional and personal fulfilment and, also that the employers can cooperate with highly qualified and flexible employees. The prerequisite for reaching these objectives is the development of lifelong learning with all individuals being encouraged to increase their qualifications, improve their skills and thus the employability on the labour market. The recognition of learning outcomes and development of common principles in the field of quality and qualifications frameworks play a crucial role in this field too.
Progress in Higher Education
In the first half of 2009, the Czech Republic will chair the Bologna Board Meeting preceding the Ministerial Conference in Louvain – the last conference before the European Higher Education Area will be officially proclaimed in 2010. It will focus on achieving the priorities of the Bologna Process defined for the period 2007–2009, in addition to the evaluation of the overall development within the period of 1999-2009, and on the preparation of the materials defining the vision after 2010. One of the most important priorities for 2009 will be the issue of mobility or in other words particular steps to overcome barriers of students’ mobility, including for instance recognition of learning outcomes or in general terms overcoming economic and social barriers in higher education, implementation of the national qualifications frameworks, quality assurance systems or strategic cooperation with the countries outside the EU area.
Evaluation of the Framework of Cooperation in the Youth Field
The need to discuss the perspectives of the follow-up activities concerning cooperation in the youth field in the year 2009 was introduced in the Resolution of the Council and of the Representatives of Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council, on addressing concerns of young people in Europe - implementing the European Pact for Youth and promoting active citizenship, dated on November 24, 2005. The Czech Republic will focus on evaluation of the current Framework of cooperation in the youth field and during its presidency events in June (DG Meeting for youth and Youth Event) it will create a space for discussions on further development in this area.
European Youth Pact
The European Youth Pact, adopted in 2005, is being implemented within the National Lisbon Programme 2005-2008, and its objectives will be running within the Lisbon Partnership for Growth and Employment. An assessment of the achieved objectives will be carried out in 2009 together with the evaluation of cooperation in the youth field.
The Czech Presidency will elaborate on the Council Recommendation on the Mobility of Young Volunteers Across the European Union adopted during the French Presidency by beginning with its implementation during the European Conference on Youth.
Autonomy of Sport
The Czech Republic is aware of the fact that sport faces transnational threats and obstacles such as doping, violence, commercial pressures, exploitation of young players, etc. However, it is necessary to choose such a form of international cooperation, which will respect the principles of autonomy and specificity of sport as defined in the Declaration on the Specific Characteristics of Sport adopted by the European Council in Nice in 2000. The Czech Presidency will focus on identifying these forms of cooperation. The results of the Czech Presidency should be elaborated by the following Swedish Presidency, which also adopted the topic of the autonomy of sports as its priority.
With regard to the White Paper on Sport and Action Plan of Pierre de Coubertine, the Czech Republic will focus on indentifying the current state of affairs, time-tested good practice of voluntary work in the Member States and on supporting opportunities in the field of sport. Experience of national experts and synergies within the youth field will be made use of.