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Estonia to steer cooperation between European Schools over the following year

14. June 2017 - 12:30
Delegations after the meeting for handing over the presidency.

Estonia is taking over the presidency of the European Schools’ Board of Governors from Germany. The priorities of Estonia during the one-year presidency include the use of digital tools in learning, pedagogical development and modernisation of the system of European Schools.

The meeting for handing over the presidency was held today at the Tallinn office of the Ministry of Education and Research. It was be attended by delegations from Germany as the former presidency, Estonia as the current presidency, and Greece as the future presidency, plus Secretary-General of European Schools Giancarlo Marcheggiano, and Deputy Secretary-General Andreas Beckmann.

At the meeting, the Deputy Secretary General for General and Vocational Education Mart Laidmets talked about Estonia’s priorities and activities during the presidency of the European Schools’ Board of Governors. “Our primary goal as the presidency is to maintain the good reputation of schools and the high quality of teaching,” said Laidmets. “We will steer exchanges of ideas and hear the opinions of all Member States and stakeholders to make balanced and unanimous decisions in developing the system of European Schools.”

One of Estonia’s priorities is the use of digital tools in routine teaching. Adviser of the General Education Department Katre Mehine noted that Estonia will focus on the quality of digital education tools and their availability to teachers and students as well as on developing digital competence as a general competence across all subjects. “The purposeful and sensible use of smartphones, tablet computers and other digital devices will certainly enrich the learning process. This way, the needs and possibilities of students can be better taken into account to achieve improved learning outcomes,” said Mehine.

Reorganisation of the management structure and accreditation of schools are the keywords in modernising the system of European Schools. Third priority - pedagogical development - means continuing the activities of previous presidencies and considering proposals from working groups with focus on integrating key competencies of lifelong learning into curricula.

Unlike Estonia’s presidency in the EU Council, the presidency in the system of European Schools lasts for one year and rotates according to the alphabetical order of Member States. Partial overlapping with the period of presidency in the EU Council is merely a coincidence.

Background information

  • The European Schools provide uniform education within the European Union. The schools are managed in accordance with an intergovernmental agreement between the Member States - Convention defining the Statute of the European Schools.
  • The fundamental principle of European Schools is to provide education in native language to the children of officials of EU institutions and of the diplomats of permanent representations of Member States from the preprimary level through to the end of secondary level.
  • The system includes 14 so-called Type 1 schools located across 7 Member States: Belgium (5), Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, Luxembourg (2), Germany and the UK. In addition to Type 1 schools, there system includes accredited European Schools since 2005 - their number is currently 14.
  • In the 2016/17 academic year, Type 1 European Schools provide education to approx. 25,000 students, incl. 256 Estonians. European Schools employ 15 Estonian teachers and/or management members.
  • In autumn 2016, the European School of Brussels IV opened the Estonian section allowing, for the first time, the children of Estonian families living in Brussels to acquire basic education in Estonian. Previously, students of Estonian origin studied either in English, French or German, and had only one native language lesson per day.
  • Overview of European Schools http://www.eursc.eu/en.

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