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Skills, competences and European values: European Commission’s three recent measures

Just several days ahead of the European Education Summit on 25 January, the European Commission (EC) put forward three measures drawing from a number of broader initiatives for skills and competence development, digital in particular, as well as for a stronger European dimension of education

As one among the ten actions of the New Skills Agenda for Europe, the revision of the 2006 Recommendation on key competences for lifelong learning has gone through a public consultation process and the EC has now put forward the proposal for a Council Recommendation on key competences for lifelong learning. Compared to the 2006 Recommendation, the proposal for the revised 8 key competences places a stronger focus on literacy, STEM and scientific understanding, and on entrepreneurship as a tool for innovation, creativity and personal accomplishment. 
Following on the Gothenburg Summit and the targets set in the resulting Communication ‘Strengthening European Identity through Education and Culture’, the EC released a Communication on the Digital Education Action Plan, which contains proposed actions to best use digital technology for teaching, learning, and developing adequate skills and competences for the digital age. The plan outlines three priorities and proposes a number of actions for each to be met. As digital skills are increasingly necessary for most jobs and 44% Europeans do not possess such skills, the aim of the Digital Education Action Plan is “to promote innovative, personalised and digital teaching methods and technologies that will help improve learning outcomes”, as announced in the “Gothenburg communication”. 

The third measure represents a proposal for a Council Recommendation on promoting common values, inclusive education, and the European dimension of teaching. A continuation of the more recent Paris Declaration, Reflection Paper on the Social Dimension of Europe and certainly the leaders’ meeting in Gothenburg’s, this proposal - which is based on a consultation that took place from May to August 2017 - relates to a wide range of EU’s initiatives aiming for a more social and inclusive Europe.
Proposals and messages from these documents featured in the programme of the European Education Summit, which was visibly marked by some of them, namely, a strong focus on school education and teacher training, basic and digital skills, and the need for ‘Europeanness’ of education and training.