Education International
Education International

Quality education threatened by new European Commission structure

published 15 September 2014 updated 18 September 2014

Education and training policy has been seriously undermined in the new European Commission, according to the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE), Education International’s (EI) European region.

In a statement issued on 11 September, the ETUCE Bureau strongly criticises the removal of the portfolio ‘Vocational Education and Training [VET], Erasmus+ and multilingualism’ from the Directorate-General Education, Culture, Youth and Citizenship of the European Commission, as presented to Commissioner-designate Tibor Navracsics by President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker.

This decision may jeopardise the achievement of the targets of the European Union 2020 Strategy, the Education and Training 2020 Strategic Framework on education and training, and the Bruges Communiqué on enhanced European Cooperation in Vocational Education and Training for the period 2011-2020, according to ETUCE.

Dividing portfolio in two a bad idea

The Bureau argues that Juncker’s plan does not view Education and Training holistically. The Directorate-General Education, Culture, Youth and Citizenship will lose some of its potential influence by the shifting of the key sectors of ‘VET, Erasmus+ and multilingualism’ from Directorate-General Education to the Directorate-General Employment, Social affairs, Skills and Labour mobility.

“Teachers’ professional development has been the focus of the ET2020 Strategic Framework, the Commission’s Communication on Rethinking Education and numerous Council conclusions,” notes ETUCE Director, Martin Romer, in the statement. “Therefore, the division of education and training in between two Directorates will raise considerable problems around the responsibility for teacher education and professional development.”

The ETUCE Bureau also highlighted the fact that Juncker’s mission letter to Commissioner-designate Navracsics does not mention the key role of social partners in education and training and the cooperation of the Directorate-General Education with the social partners.