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Minister Quinn outlines Ireland’s Education priorities for EU Presidency

02.01.2013, 15:37 GMT

The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D. today outlined Ireland’s Education priorities for the EU Presidency.

Welcoming the beginning of the Presidency of the Council of the EU, which Ireland will hold until 30th June, Minister Quinn said,

"Ensuring sustainable growth and jobs is the main theme of Ireland’s EU Presidency, and Education and training have a key role to play in this and in tackling the unemployment crisis.

Improving training, skills and access to education will play a critical role in equipping citizens, particularly young people, to ‌find work and in attracting investment into the EU.

I am determined to work towards preventing the development of a lost generation with the negative long-term personal and social consequences that would have for all Europeans,” he said.

A number of legislative priorities in education have been identified for the course of the Presidency. These are: 

Other priority topics to be addressed by the Irish Presidency in the area of education and training are:

  • Schools/Teachers: There will be a focus on improving policy support for the teacher educator profession, with a linked Presidency conference on the role of teacher educator will be held. A Presidency conference will also be held on the theme of better assessment and evaluation for better learning and better school systems.
  • Higher Education: In line with the EU2020 agenda to step up the modernisation of higher education and achieve the target that 40% of 30-34 year olds should have completed tertiary or equivalent education by 2020, there will be a focus on the social dimension of higher education. Effective strategies to ensure access to higher education for non-traditional learners and students from disadvantaged backgrounds will form an important part of Member States’ efforts in working towards the headline target.
  • National Qualification Frameworks and the European Qualifications Framework (EQF): A Presidency conference will be held on the theme of quality assurance in qualifications frameworks. There will be a focus on how employment sector actors are engaged in quality assurance and on quality assuring learning outcomes in relation to the needs of the labour market.

 Improving training, skills and access to education will play a critical role in equipping citizens, particularly young people, to ‌find work and in attracting investment into the EU.

“As with its previous Presidencies, Ireland will work to drive the EU legislative process forward during its six months in office and to serve as a fair and impartial office-holder.  

I am committed to seizing the opportunities that the Presidency presents in delivering real and long-lasting deliverables for all the citizens of the EU,” concluded Minister Quinn.  
Notes for editors:

  • Regulation establishing "Erasmus for All': Erasmus for All will bring together all the current EU and international schemes for education, training, youth and sport, replacing seven existing programmes with one. This will increase efficiency, make it easier to apply for grants, and should reduce duplication and fragmentation. It is due to start in 2014.
  • New Directive to amend Directive 2005/36 on the recognition of professional qualifications: This Directive sets out the procedures which must be adhered to by competent authorities (i.e. regulatory bodies) when recognising the qualifications of professionals migrating from other EU Member States, and related matters. The main aim of the proposal is to make it easier for qualified and skilled professionals to work in other Member States through the simplification of processes and better provision of information, and to reinforce protection for consumers and patients, particularly relating to the language skills of health professionals
  • Regulation on the ESF and the EGF: The European Social Fund (ESF) provides some €375m in funding to Ireland for the period 2007-2013.  This is invested in programmes aimed at activation of the unemployed and equality and social inclusion, with a strong emphasis on youth. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (the EGF) was established in December 2006 to support workers made redundant as a result of major changes in global trade patterns. Its purpose is to provide relevant supports to redundant workers to assist them back into employment. It is anticipated that the task of finalising negotiations on the regulations for the operation of the next round of both ESF and EGF funding will fall to the Irish Presidency.
  • Decision on the Strategic Innovation Agenda of the EIT & Regulation amending 2008 Regulation which established the EIT: The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) was set up in order to address Europe's innovation gap and is the EU's flagship education institute designed to assist innovation, research and growth in the European Union. The Commission published its legislative proposals for the EIT for 2014-2020 in November 2011. It is likely that the task of finalising negotiations on the two legislative proposals involved will fall to the Irish Presidency.

Further information on the Ireland's Presidency of the Council of the EU can be found on the Department’s website.

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