A New Impetus for Vocational Education and Training in Europe

Informal Meeting of Education Ministers in Osnabrück on 16-17 September 2020

On 16 and 17 September, Federal Minister for Education Anja Karliczek will meet with her colleagues for an Informal Meeting of Education Ministers in Osnabrück and discuss the following issues:

1. The effects of COVID-19 on education and training – mutual learning and lessons for the future 

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed major challenges for the education systems of the EU member states. At the beginning of the new school, training and academic year, Education Ministers will therefore exchange experience on different measures taken by the member states to address the pandemic and take stock of the impact the pandemic has had on education. They will focus in particular on the issues of digital participation, educational mobility and the digital transformation of VET.

2. Learning like a local – good practices from the region

Vocational education and training is an important pillar of the European Education Area. Looking at two local examples of dual training in the region of Osnabrück, Education Ministers will learn about how digital and hybrid learning in VET can be shaped and how to ensure a good dialogue between schools and businesses. An exchange of experience will enable member states to learn more about the strengths of their respective VET systems.

3. A skills agenda for Europe. What can it change? What should change?

On behalf of the European Commission, Commissioner Nicolas Schmit will present the European Skills Agenda, an ambitious umbrella initiative in the field of VET. The perspectives of businesses and employees will be included in the debate through the direct exchange with European social partners.

4. Joining forces in vocational education – kick-starting the Osnabrück Declaration

Vocational education and training plays a key role in an age of digital technology, changing requirements in the world of work, demographic change and climate change. Skills requirements have become more demanding in many areas. Vocational education and training is to open up career opportunities for young people and adults and prepare them for the jobs of the future by offering appropriate initial and continuing education as well as lifelong learning. Together with European social partners and the European Commission, ministers will set the course for the Osnabrück Declaration to modernise European VET and deepen cross-border cooperation within a European Education Area. The declaration is aimed at, for example, enhancing employability, developing excellent VET at university level, thus ensuring equivalence between vocational and academic education and easing the transfer between academic and vocational education. Citizens should experience Europe as a place of cross-border learning and working. Governments, the European Commission and European social partners want to strengthen the Copenhagen Process as a joint platform to make VET fit for the new decade and strengthen European competitiveness.

Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek will chair the meeting. Stefanie Hubig, the President of the Standing Conference of Länder Ministers of Education (KMK) and Education Minister of Rhineland-Palatinate, the Education Ministers of the EU member states and the four EFTA states as well as Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Mariya Gabriel and Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit have been invited to participate. Representatives of European social partners will join the meeting on the second day.