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Brussels, 19 May 2014
Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council (20-21 May)
What can be done to make the teaching profession more attractive? Which city will be officially designated as European Capital of Culture in 2018? How can the European Union encourage entrepreneurship among young people? What are the EU's priorities for sport? These and many more topics will be discussed at the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council on 20-21 May.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said: "This Council meeting will focus on the vital roles of our teachers, the importance of youth entrepreneurship and our future work plan for youth. As always, our aim is to help our young people do better - be it better in school or better in the job market."
Education and Training
On 20 May, Education Ministers are expected to adopt conclusions on teacher education as part of broader efforts to raise the attractiveness and performance of the teaching profession. The conclusions highlight the importance of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and the need, firstly, to define what qualities and competences teachers require and, secondly, to encourage universities to work more closely with schools, teacher educators and businesses to ensure their programmes equip teachers with these skills.
Ministers are also set to adopt conclusions on quality assurance in education and training which underline the importance of continuously enhancing the quality of education and training. These conclusions build on recent reports published by the European Commission (28 January 2014) highlighting that further reforms are needed to ensure that teaching is more closely aligned with labour market realities and societal needs.
Also, the Council will adopt conclusions on multilingualism and the development of language competences. They will confirm the importance of assessing language competences at EU level and encourage Member States to support more effective teaching and learning of languages. Progress in this field is particularly important at a time when youth unemployment and the effects of the crisis mean it is more necessary than ever to equip young people with the skills required for cross-border learning and mobility for work.
Lastly, Ministers will discuss the opportunities and challenges of cross-border higher education and the need to ensure that the quality of programmes and courses is equal to that offered in domestic institutions.
The Council meeting will focus on how to encourage entrepreneurship among young people and promote entrepreneurial mind-sets at a time when jobs are scarce.
The Ministers are also expected to adopt a resolution which will conclude the current cycle of the 'structured dialogue' with youth representatives on social inclusion and propose a new set-up for the future dialogue. It will also confirm 'youth empowerment' as the thematic priority for the next 'Trio Presidency' (starting in July, Italy, Latvia and Luxembourg will chair the Council for six months each).
The Council is also set to adopt a work plan for youth to improve implementation of the EU Youth Strategy (which runs until 2018) and to better align objectives in this area with the targets of the Europe 2020 jobs and growth strategy. It will notably address how non-formal learning can support young people affected by the crisis and explore how to improve cross-sectoral cooperation across policies relevant to youth. It will also look at empowering young people through access to rights, participation and citizenship.
On 21 May, Leeuwarden in the Netherlands will be officially designated as a European Capital of Culture 2018. Valletta (Malta), the other 2018 European Capital of Culture, was designated in May last year.
Ministers are expected to adopt the practical arrangements for the Council to appoint three members of the selection and monitoring panel for the European Capitals of Culture for 2020-2033.
Culture Ministers are also expected to approve conclusions highlighting the strategic role of cultural heritage and inviting Member States to take measures to ensure its sustainable management. The Ministers will debate the policy challenges to be addressed in the next Council work plan for culture.
Also meeting on 21 May, Sport Ministers are expected to adopt a resolution on the new European Union work plan for sport (2014-2017). This includes measures to strengthen cooperation at EU level, in particular in relation to the fight against doping and match fixing, and to enhance good governance, health, economic value, skills, qualifications and employability. The work plan is based on Commissioner Vassiliou's report on the first work plan for sport (2011-2014) which was published in January 2014.
Ministers will also adopt conclusions on gender equality in sport and discuss the economic, social and environmental sustainability of organising and hosting major sports events.