The Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) releases its contribution to the European Education Area on Thursday 1 September 2022, calling on the EU and its Member States to implement integral education in their policies. Fr. Barrios: “We must ensure that learners are respected in their dignity and find their vocation in life”. Read the contribution
Drafted by the COMECE Working Group on Culture and Education, the document addresses the six dimensions of the European Education Area – proposed by the European Commission in 2020 and to be achieved by 2025 – highlighting the perspective of the EU Bishops’ Conferences in the area of education and training.
In order to tackle the challenges that educators and learners of all ages are facing today, the contribution delves into the anthropology of the human person and focuses on the need for integral education, as stressed by Pope Francis in His Global Compact on Education.
As stated by the Pope, we should “make human persons in their value and dignity the centre of every educational programme, both formal and informal, in order to foster their distinctiveness, beauty and uniqueness, and their capacity for relationship with others and with the world around them”.
The COMECE contribution addresses the situation of education in the EU, mentioning the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the learning paths of pupils and students, as well as the socio-economic and psychological implications of the health crisis.
The document elaborates on the main challenges in the domains of quality education, inclusion, the green and digital transition, teaching and universities, as well as the role of education in external relations.
Among the recommendations to EU policymakers, the COMECE document includes: reinforcing cooperation between the EU and third countries’ universities in order to foster meaningful dialogue and fraternity; enhancing support for teachers in their mission to accompany learners; promoting innovation in teaching practices with a balanced approach between digital and in-person teaching methods.
COMECE also suggests involving families and communities in educational efforts and supporting Vocational Education and Training (VET) providers in their initiatives to ensure better social inclusion of disadvantaged people.
In this sense, Fr. Manuel Barrios Prieto, General Secretary of COMECE, explains that “only by including entire communities in the educational process will learners be respected in their dignity and find their vocation in life, introducing creative and transformative processes for the Common Good and the future of humanity”.
The COMECE Working Group on Cultural and Education was created in December 2020 and is composed of experts delegated by the EU Bishops’ Conferences.