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EU announces €25 million for education in crisis contexts and €140 million to support research in sustainable food systems

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Speaking at the Global Citizen Live event, President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced that the European Union is pledging €140 million to support research in sustainable food systems and tackle food hunger via CGIAR, and a further €25m for Education Cannot Wait.  

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “We must join forces to beat the coronavirus and rebuild the world better. Europe is doing its share. From the beginning, Europeans have shipped 800 million doses of vaccines with the world, even when we did not have enough for ourselves. Now, we need to step up, to help end this pandemic globally, end hunger, give children all over the world equal chances. Team Europe has already committed to donate 500 million doses of vaccines to vulnerable countries by next summer. On top, the European Commission today commits €140m to improve global food security and reduce extreme poverty, and €25m to Education Cannot Wait, supporting education for children around the world living through conflict and crisis.”

International Partnerships Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen said: "We must unite to put the SDGs back on track. As we continue to witness, we can never take access to education for granted. Team Europe has to date contributed to more than 40% of the funding of Education Cannot Wait, and the new €25m contribution from the EU will further support it to reach the most vulnerable children and bring them back to education. Additionally, thanks to our substantial support of €140m to CGIAR, we will be creating opportunities for youth and women, while tackling a key challenge of today, to promote sustainable food systems. Coordinated global actions will be decisive for achieving an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable transformation of food systems.” 

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Read the full press release, the statement by President von der Leyen and the factsheet on the Team Europe COVID-19 global response.

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Education

2021 university ranking show that European universities have a strong degree of co-operation

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U-Multirank, initiated by the Commission and co-funded by Erasmus+, has published its 8th university ranking, scoring almost 2,000 universities from 96 countries across the world. Among other results, it shows that European universities cooperate more intensively in comparison to other regions, especially in the performance areas of teaching & learning, research, knowledge exchange and internationalisation (staff & student mobility, joint diplomas & publications, etc.). Generally, universities working together with other institutions, businesses and industries, governments, regional bodies or across borders generally perform better than those that are less focused on cooperation. Seven aspects were taken into consideration for the ranking: strategic partnerships, international joint degrees, internships, international co-publications, co-publications with industrial partners, regional co-publications and co-patents with industry.

Every year, U-Multirank compares higher education institutions' performance in areas that matter most to students, providing the world's largest customisable online rankings. Universities can use U-Multirank data to assess their strengths and weaknesses and find ways to create or strengthen their strategic plans, including aspects on cooperation. The European Universities initiative is one of the flagship action led by the Commission towards the European Education Area. The objective is to create transnational alliances where students, staff and researchers can enjoy seamless mobility – physically as well as virtually, to study, train, teach, do research, work, or share services in any of the cooperating partner institutions. So far, there are 41 such alliances bringing together more than 280 institutions of higher education across Europe. In total, a budget of up to €287 million from Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe is available for these 41 European Universities. More information is available online.

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Statement by Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič on the International Day to Protect Education from Attack

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On the occasion of the International Day to Protect Education from Attack (9 September), the EU reaffirms its commitment to promote and protect the right of every child to grow in a safe environment, have access to quality education, and build a better and more peaceful future, says Janez Lenarčič (pictured).

Attacks on schools, students and teachers have a devastating impact on access to education, education systems and on societal development. Sadly, their incidence is increasing at an alarming rate. This is all too clear from the recent developments in Afghanistan, and the crises in Ethiopia, Chad, Africa's Sahel region, in Syria, Yemen or Myanmar, amongst many others. The Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack has identified more than 2,400 attacks on education facilities, students, and educators in 2020, a 33 percent increase since 2019.

Attacks on education constitute also violations of International Humanitarian Law, the set of rules seeking to limit the effects of armed conflict. Such violations are multiplying, while their perpetrators are seldom called to account. In this view, we are putting compliance with International Humanitarian Law consistently at the heart of the EU's external action. As one of the largest humanitarian donors, the EU will hence continue to promote and advocate for global respect for International Humanitarian Law, both by states and non-state armed groups during an armed conflict.

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Beyond destruction of facilities, attacks on education result in long-term suspension of learning and teaching, increase the risk of school dropouts, lead to forced labour and recruitment by armed groups and forces. School closures reinforce exposure to all forms of violence, including sexual and gender-based violence or early and forced marriage, levels of which have increased drastically during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed and exacerbated the vulnerability of education worldwide. Now, more than ever, we need to minimise disruption to education disruption, and ensure that children can learn in safety and protection.

Safety of education, including further engagement on the Safe Schools Declaration, is an integral part of our efforts to protect and promote the right to education for every girl and boy.

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Responding to and preventing attacks on schools, supporting protective aspects of education and protecting students and teachers requires a coordinated and inter-sectoral approach.

Through EU-funded projects in Education in Emergencies, we help reduce and mitigate the risks posed by armed conflict.

The EU remains at the forefront of supporting education in emergencies, dedicating 10% of its humanitarian aid budget to support access, quality and protection of education.

More information

Factsheet - Education in Emergencies

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European Commission report on adult education and training in Europe

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The European Commission's Eurydice network has published a report on ‘Adult Education and Training in Europe: Building inclusive pathways to skills and qualifications'. The report examines current approaches to promoting lifelong learning, with a particular focus on policies and measures supporting the access of adults with low levels of skills and qualifications, to learning opportunities. It looks at 42 education and training systems across 37 European countries.

Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Commissioner Mariya Gabriel said: “This pandemic has shown that many adults do not have adequate basic skills. In particular, it has revealed the large digital divide among the adult population. It is essential to create systematic learning opportunities allowing people to improve their basic skills at any stage of life. We also need to address the fragmentation of the adult learning sector, so that adults can make straightforward transitions between different types and forms of education.”

Jobs and Social Rights Commissioner Nicolas Schmit said: “To adapt to the rapidly-changing world of work, we must focus our attention and resources on lifelong learning. By 2030, we want at least 60% of adults in the EU to participate in training every year. EU leaders welcomed this ambition and their national recovery and resilience plans include large investments in upskilling and reskilling of adults. Together with Social Partners and all stakeholders, we need to ensure access to learning opportunities especially for people who would benefit from upskilling and reskilling the most. This aspect is central to the Upskilling Pathways initiative which pays particular attention to the most vulnerable.”

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In addition to looking into how adult education and training initiatives are coordinated at national level, this report also presents a unique mapping of publicly-funded and co-funded adult education and training programmes, and the existing guidance and support measures for the least qualified. The Eurydice Network consists of national units in European countries, and is co-ordinated by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency.

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