In a public session, ministers exchanged views on the best policy practices and shared exemplary achievements towards achieving equity in access, inclusion for all in education at EU, national, regional and local levels. Several ministers reiterated the heavy impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education, stressed the importance of face-to-face learning and focused on the need to promote further pre-school education. Ministers also highlighted the need to ease the access to education for children and adults with special educational needs, for immigrants and refugees, and for those in risk of social exclusion. Following this policy debate, the presidency will work with the member states to adopt Council conclusion on this topic during the next meeting of education ministers in May 2021.
The Council approved the resolution on the European Education Area on 18 February 2021 through a written procedure. The presidency highlighted the five strategic priorities of the resolution together:
• improving quality, equity, inclusion and success for all in education and training.
• making lifelong learning and mobility a reality for all.
• enhancing competences and motivation in the education profession.
• reinforcing European higher education.
• supporting the green and digital transitions in and through education and training.
The resolution includes concrete suggested actions for all five priorities as well as some indicative EU level targets such as: reducing low achieving students in basic and digital skills, early leavers from education (less than 9% in 2030) and increase the share of tertiary level attainment.