The High Level Group (HLG) on Education and Training (28th and 29th November 2016) is the first event of the Ministry for Education and Employment marking the start of the incoming Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first six months of 2017. The meeting will be chaired by Mr Joseph Caruana, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for Education and Employment with Deputy Chair, Dr Jean Micallef Grimaud, from the Permanent Representation of Malta to the EU. Several high ranking officials from the 28 EU Member States have gathered together to discuss and share their views on the future priorities of European cooperation in education and training. The High Level Group meeting will mainly focus on Malta’s priorities for the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. It will also include input by the Commission on its work programme in education and training for 2017.
‘Inclusion in Diversity’ is the predominant theme which the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union will focus on in the field of education and training. During this meeting, Malta shall highlight the importance of achieving a high quality education for all through the equitable provision of learning programmes, with parity of esteem between academic, vocational and applied education. This ties up neatly with the reform “My Journey” announced by the Ministry last week, whereby the learning experience will move from a “one size fits all” to one customised to the learning style of the individual learner. The Ministry is committed to ensure parity of esteem of the three educational routes of this reform and preparing each individual for employability.
Malta aims to work towards Council Conclusions on its theme, in order to promote inclusion in diversity in formal, informal and non-formal education through the provision of equitable and diverse learning routes. Malta also intends to maintain its commitment to continue to work on the trio programme in terms of modernising education systems and facilitating transitions between educational levels and between education and the world of work.
The HLG meeting will also discuss the New Skills Agenda for Europe , which was adopted by the Commission on 10 June 2016. During its Presidency, Malta will continue the work that has been carried out during the Slovak Presidency. The New Skills Agenda for Europe is an important milestone in further facilitating the mobility of workers and students in Europe. Although each EU Member State is responsible for its own education and training systems, the HLG meeting provides an opportunity for education experts from all the Member States to exchange and share their views on this topic.
In January 2017, the Ministry for Education and Employment will be organising an ‘Education Week’ to launch its Presidency of the Council of the European Council semester. During this week, starting on the 16th January, there will be a forum with the theme “Leadership Policy for Equity and Learning: Take it to the students” (16th and 17th January 2017). This conference will provide the opportunity to promote the exchange of good practices and development of innovative approaches to effective educational leadership to further promote equity and inclusivity in schools.
On the 18th January there will be a joint Peer Learning Activity of two ET 2020 Working Groups (WG); the Modernisation of Higher Education WG and the Digital and Online Learning WG. The Education Week will conclude with a conference bearing the theme: “The State of Digital Education:
Engaging with connected, blended and open learning” (19th and 20th January 2017). This conference aims to take stock and stimulate debate on current thinking and best practices on connected, blended and open learning; and to define the way forward for further discussions on digital education throughout the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Both conferences will aim to promote equity, inclusivity and digital education and contribute to the meetings in the field of education and training which will take place during the first six months of 2017 and beyond.