This opinion not only responds to the Commission communications on a renewed EU agenda for higher education and school development and excellent teaching for a great start in life, but also the proposal for a Council Recommendation on tracking graduates.

The rapporteur believes that education systems should be based on the principle of effectiveness, equality and equity represent the basis of an open, democratic and competitive society. In order to achieve Europe’s common goals, local and regional authorities should be more involved into the planning and development of education policies and when it comes to the development of education strategies, the differences between regions should also be a factor. In this regard, he calls for a greater focus on the development of educational infrastructure in less developed regions and the important role of small universities for the economic and social development of regions. Turning to the European Commission proposal for a Citizens’ University, this CoR opinion stresses that it can only become a reality if the Union and the Member States genuinely and appropriately consult the local and regional authorities when drawing up their higher education policies.

Another proposal is for people to be encouraged to use the knowledge that they have gained through mobility programmes when they return home because this will enhance the competitiveness of the region. In addition, the rapporteur proposes to facilitate the return of young people to their home country in order to reduce the high rate of migration and reduce the phenomena of brain drain. An effective education system has to provide the access to quality education, the acquisition of key competencies, regardless of young people’s economic and social status, religion or ethnicity, according to the President of Harghita County Council. In the case of educational, training and higher education institutions operating in the language of national and ethnic minorities, efforts should be made to avoid limiting the access of minority students to education, he adds.

Calendar of adoption:

  • first discussion and adoption on 28 September 2017
  • final adoption at the plenary session on 30 November – 1 December 2017

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