The European Union's Belgian Presidency will strive to make the most of the first semester of 2024 to promote the creation of the learning society that is more important than ever in today’s constantly changing world, which requires adaptability.

This is the highlight of the education section of the Presidency's programme, which bears the motto 'Protect, strengthen, prepare'.

The document, a set of policy guidelines for the six months ahead, the Belgian Presidency vows to strengthen the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training, promote evidence-informed policy-making, to ensure policies remain grounded in reality, and promote lifelong learning, while adding that:

  • it will invest in skills and lifelong learning and, as part of this effort, host the OECD Skills Summit and build upon the momentum generated during the European Year of Skills.
  • It will aim to ease mobility for learners and educators;
  • digital education and teacher shortages will be addressed;
  • youth participation, empowerment and inclusion will be emphasised;
  • it will promote practice and partnerships in the European Education Area (EEA);
  • it will prepare Council conclusions on that topic with a view to enhancing the quality and equity of education and training systems;
  • it will work towards a reinforced quality framework for traineeships.

Furthermore, the programme notes that it is crucial for citizens to feel empowered and motivated to participate in lifelong learning so that they can support their personal and professional development.

'Therefore, the Presidency will encourage lifelong learning and work towards improving its quality, visibility and accessibility for all.'

A fresh EU learning mobility framework

As part of its efforts to remove obstacles and barriers to all types of learning and teaching mobility, including issues relating to access, guidance, student services and recognition, the Belgian Presidency will work on the adoption of a Council recommendation aimed at updating the current EU learning mobility framework.

'This will promote learning mobility as an opportunity for learners and education staff in all sectors and at all levels of formal, non-formal and informal learning.

To ensure qualitative, inclusive and accessible digital education, the Presidency will facilitate an exchange on Member States’ needs for the successful implementation of a digital education policy and initiate a reflection on the digital education action plan’s (DEAP) progress report and priorities for 2024-2027.

The work of the Belgian Presidency also ties in with the horizontal topic of teacher careers, including shortages, an EU-wide challenge that is connected to all the actions mentioned above.