EAPN has a long-standing interest around the issue of education and its many aspects of access, affordability, quality and equal opportunities, which are crucial in the empowerment of people experiencing poverty and their integration in society. The links between education, training, lifelong learning and poverty and social exclusion are manifold.
EAPN advocates for the right to universal, quality, affordable, accessible and inclusive public education throughout the life-course for all. For EAPN and its members, school and pre-school education, vocational education and training and lifelong learning are key public services and goods.
This EAPN Key Issues and Promising Practices Paper provides a grassroots assessment of the current state of play and new developments in the education field, from the perspective of people experiencing poverty and social exclusion and from NGOs providing support, guidance and services to them.
It proposes key messages and policy recommendations mainly to national policy makers, but also to European institutions in the context of EU policy initiatives relevant for education, vocational training and lifelong learning:
- Increase policy efforts towards ensuring universal, quality, inclusive, accessible and affordable education, vocational training and lifelong learning, going beyond the existing Europe 2020 targets.
- Promote inclusive and universal public education and lifelong learning across the life cycle, ending discrimination and segregation and ensuring nobody is left behind.
- Tackle the root causes of poor educational performance, including early school-leaving, by looking at education, vocational training and lifelong learning in a holistic approach, and by defining education through the life course as a social right
- Remove financial and other obstacles faced by vulnerable groups and people in poverty in accessing education, vocational training, and lifelong learning at all stages.
- Education, vocational training and lifelong learning have to be organised in a way to lead to quality jobs and decent employment conditions and to support ways out of poverty and social exclusion.
- Education is more than responding to labour market and employers’ needs.
- Support people’s right to access educational opportunities throughout the life cycle, by providing them with the necessary support and second-chance opportunities.
- Tackle the digital divide in access to education, to ensure that people in vulnerable situations can reap the full potential of the digital revolution.
- Support ownership and participation in educational systems which promote human dignity, active citizenship, and strong democracies.
- Reverse the cuts to education systems in the last decade and restore adequate funding for education and lifelong learning
The report also includes a compilation of promising practices: