Fighting funding cuts and working for investment in education across the EU will be the focus of tomorrow’s conference ‘Quality Education for All’, organised by the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) group in the European Parliament.
The event will hear from experts including teachers, professors and local government officials from across Europe on their own experiences and long-term effects of cuts – as highlighted in a parliamentary committee opinion on EU action for sustainability earlier this summer.
Speaking ahead of the conference, Italian MEP Curzio Maltese says a proper discussion on this subject is now more important than ever:
“Education is a common good that is becoming a privilege for the elite. Ensuring access to quality education must be a priority for the European institutions since the subject is never discussed or, when they are, it is merely reduced to a discussion based on economic values.”
Greek MEP Nikolaos Chountis, who will be moderating part of the debate, agrees:
“The neo-liberal perception of education policies in Europe has degraded the very nature of education and has put the emphasis only on simple skills and training – based on market imperatives alone. And let’s not forget the additional challenges faced by the education systems posed by the economic crisis and austerity policies alongside the current refugee crisis.”
For co-host Liadh Ní Riada MEP, issues such as the cost of education and assisting students with special needs are both of great concern:
“In some weeks, students are faced with the decision of buying food for themselves or buying pricey course material to enable them to progress.
“What we do not need is to make a commodity of our education sector or customers out of our students,” says the Irish MEP.
German MEP Martina Michels, who will deliver the closing remarks, sums up thus:
“Good education ensures democratic participation and interest in the unknown future. Education feeds abilities and motivation for independent learning. Education is a human right. It must be provided by public services for all children, minors and adults, for migrants and refugees, regardless of gender. We must demand this from the political leaders and to accompany it in the European context.”
“We therefore need more comparison of quality of education and more exchanges about the best practices for teachers and politicians,” she concluded.
You can see the full programme for the event here.
To register for the event, please contact [email protected]
You can also watch a live stream of the conference via this link.