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On 18 May 2020, the Croatian Presidency organised the third informal videoconference of Ministers of Education on the implication of the current pandemic for education and training. The discussion takes place as gradual lifting of containment measures is happening across the EU.
The meeting was chaired by Blaženka Divjak, Croatian Minister of Science and Education, with the participation of Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission and Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.
The discussion focused mainly on questions regarding the reopening of education and training institutions, including stages and timing of re-opening; the state of play for school leaving examinations and admissions to higher education, and the cooperation between member states to facilitate cross-border learning mobility.
Following the evolution of the current health crisis, most EU member states have decided to gradually start re-opening education and training institutions, returning to face-to-face learning and teaching for some levels, grades, activities and target groups. On the topic of admission of students to higher education institutions, many have already postponed the entrance exams as well as registration deadlines. Given that the approaches and timings vary and may affect cross-border learning mobility, ministers encouraged flexibility and cooperation.
One of the key topics addressed the measures concerning hygiene and sanitation. As reported, most measures taken include social distancing, strict hygienic and sanitary standards and work in smaller groups. However, it was also noted that those measures were challenged by the space available and the fact that education institutions are not equipped or adapted to respond to such a situation. The discussion also allowed for an opportunity to contribute to the work on the draft Council conclusions on countering the COVID-19 crisis on education and training. On that note, the Croatian presidency informed member states of the state of play for the adoption of the draft council conclusions on European teachers and trainers for the future.
The presidency summary can be found here.