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Education and youth in post-Covid-19 Europe – crisis effects and policy recommendations

Van der Graaf, L., Dunajeva, J., Siarova, H., Bankauskaite, R. (2021) Education and Youth in post-Covid-19 Europe – Crisis Effects and Policy Recommendations. European Parliament, Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies, Brussels.

The COVID-19 mitigation measures in Europe caused the closure of education institutions, as well as interrupted activities of youth organisations, and  halted face-to-face programmes. In many countries and for most programmes, online learning alternatives were put into place. However, the lack of comprehensive strategies, tools, and infrastructure for online education affected the quality of education provision, access and participation in education,  youth activities, and reinforced existing inequalities in education.

The impact of the COVID-19 on education and on the youth sector strongly differs by education level and background of learners. For example, the university level is perceived as least affected by the lockdowns due to the level of independence of students,the existing integration of ICT tools, and virtual classes. However, student mobility was hindered significantly by travel restrictions and national lockdowns.

In light of this, the report proposes a number of recommendations for a robust action at the EU level to foster more resilient education and youth sector in Europe, focusing on the following key dimensions:

  • Supporting collaborative decision-making and crisis management at the EU level in synergy with national measures.
  • Supporting the improvement of quality and accessibility of education regardless of the context it is provided in.
  • Developing strategies for a comprehensive support system to students and young people in different formats of learning and re-imagining home-school partnerships.
  • Encouraging smart funding and digitalisation in education and youth sectors.
  • Improving the inclusiveness and flexibility of the EU funding programmes in the field of education and youth and their responsiveness to future crises.

Link to the full study.