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Priorities for EU in education and training


The President of the Education Council, Guilherme Oliveira Martins presented the priorities of the Portuguese Presidency in the field of education and training to the European Parliament's Committee on Education and Youth, meeting in Brussels recently.

These priorities are to:

- develop schools and training centres so that they become centres of learning;

- put into practice the mutual recognition of diplomas and allow for interim training courses abroad for teachers to enhance their professionalism;

- provide schools and other institutions with computer technology (for example, connection to the Internet);

- develop a school and professional evolution process for all;

- create flexible assessment systems for assessing knowledge gained in one school or another;

- create new forms of financing and time management to facilitate access to lifelong learning.

The minister also referred to the great interest shown in the European Year of Languages in 2001, which must "be seen as a decisive moment to consider the importance of all languages, multilingualism being an enriching factor in a person's life, for living in society and European citizenship".

In addition, he spoke of the Presidency's commitment to moving forward rapidly with issues relating to the mobility of students and young people undergoing training, European cooperation regarding quality evaluation of education, lifelong learning and the learning society.

Mr Oliveira Martins explained, in connection with European cooperation in evaluating the quality of education, that there is a need for evaluation instruments that will make it possible to understand clearly the real education situation in the Member States. Dynamic mechanisms for showing progress need to be developed.

He noted that the special summit in Lisbon "will be important because, for the first time, we will be making a complete assessment of the education-training-employment situation in the Member States. The situation in Europe must be evaluated and compared with that of the rest of the world. We must make a commitment in the direction of competitiveness, social cohesion and the creation of more jobs."

In conclusion, the Minister said the Presidency would like to "culminate with a European charter of basic skills, which would make it possible to speak the same language in the area of education".

Responding to the comments of Members of the EP (who, in general, welcomed the Presidency's programme), Mr Oliveira Martins insisted that the top priority at present was to "train young people for the world of work", that "the right to education must be the same for all, while foreseeing specific accompanying measures depending on the level of each".


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