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Points on learning – for G8 Summit in April


Brussels, 14/03/2000 (Agence Europe) - In preparation for the special G8 Education Summit to be held on 1 and 2 April in Tokyo, delegations representing the Japanese government and the Cabinet of European Commissioner Viviane Reding recently met in Tokyo.

The Japanese delegation presented at that meeting a document that will be used as the basis for debate at the Summit. After explaining the evolution and growing importance of education, the text makes the following points.


1. Importance of international exchanges of teachers, administrators and students. Every country implementing such a strategy draws considerable advantages from it. These exchanges make possible the creation of a sphere for stable and peaceful international relations, the promotion of reciprocal intellectual contributions and investment in human resources to deal with the consequences of globalisation of the economy and of the environment.

G8 Education Ministers are accordingly invited to debate the following questions:
a) What are the main obstacles to such international exchangs? (difficulties creating frameworks for credit transfers and others needed for student exchanges, language obstacles);
b) specific measures for addressing these problems: - national measures: extension of programmes for supporting exchanges, enrichment of foreign language teaching, development of an environment favourabe for accepting foreign students, teachers and administrators; - measures to be taken jointly by the G8 countries: establishment of a framework for the promotion of exchanges and the collection and dissemination of the necessary information.

2. Education required in an affluent society. In the advanced industrialised nations, eduction is facing new problems (children who reject school, juvenile delinquents, etc.). The big task ahead is to address the major social changes resulting from the development of science and technology, the information released by the media, internationalisation in different areas of society and the predominance of industries based on knowledge.
Ministers will debate the following points:
a) the teaching of morals as a means of making young people realise that they must participate in society;
b) career guidance to help students choose the right profession.

3. Educational innovation and information and communication technologies (ICT). Ministers are invited to express their views on the following questions:
a) What form of ICT literacy is necessary in the 21st century?;
b) How should people be enabled to acquire ICT literacy through lifelong learning, including formal education?;
c) How can ICT be used to promote educational innovation?
d) What type of cooperative projects can be developed internationally?

4. Lifelong learning and distance learning. The objective is to allow people to learn at home or at their workplace and at their convenience. Ministers will discuss:
a) the creation of a mechanism for international co-operation on lifelong learning through distance education;
b) the creation of a mechanism for providing assistance to developing countries in the development of human resources through distance education.


1. Concerning the challenges ahead, the document mentions the necessity of a high level of competence (knowledge, skills, etc.) in the new economy and changes in the nature of work (with changing patterns of working time).

Ministers will be asked to provide answers to the following questions:
a) How strong is the evidence that the skills demanded of the workforce are changing and how are educational systems responding to perceived changes? What strategies are being used to ensure that the high-level demands of "knowledge economies" will not create entrenched problems of exclusion?;
b) In many parts of the developed world, affluence often co-exists with violence and weak civic and democratic values. How can education foster these values?

2. Directions for policy and investment in learning. All those involved - from governments to the private sector to individuals - must make a commitment to invest in lifelong learning. Particular attention must be given to the less advantaged and those who lack the key competences for participating in today's demanding world. High quality in education requires focusing on inclusion, which means major investments in human resources.

ICT is also a very important element in education and learning, mainly allowing development and progress in the 21st century, in a world that is increasingly interconnected.

Ministers will discuss the following issues:
a) What strategies at national and international levels are needed to make the "Cologne Charter on Lifelong Learning" a reality for all? How should such strategies be assessed?
b) How can the use and the development of ICT, distance learning, and innovation in teaching contribute to making the education sector a leading sector of the future?


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