The objective of the seminar was to summarise and discuss the outcomes of about 80 visits that were related to measures aimed at improving quality and efficiency of education and training in the academic year 2008/09. More specifically, the seminar focused on:
- the development of key competences, namely, communication in foreign languages, social and civic competences;
- ensuring high quality of teaching and training;
- educational leadership and management.
The seminar brought together 70 organisers and participants of the study visits, representatives of initiatives identified as examples of good practice during the visits, experts on the themes and representatives of the national agencies.
During the seminar, the participants discussed the importance of the themes for lifelong learning and their relevance to the European education and training agenda. More than 30 examples of good practice were presented and discussed in three workshops. The participants also worked together to develop a better understanding and creative solutions to the challenges for learners in learning foreign languages and acquiring social and civic competence, for teachers and trainers in ensuring the development of such competences and for school leaders in creating communities of learning.
The findings of study visits on the quality and efficiency of education and training as presented in the group reports and further discussed during the seminar show that the study visits programme gives a substantial contribution to the cooperation and common learning in the field of education and training in Europe; there are strong links of the outcomes of study visits to the issues of the European cooperation in education and training. The discussions of last two days strongly resonate with the Conclusions of the Education, Youth Affairs and Culture Council (November, 2009) on the professional development of teachers and school leaders that recognised ‘the motivation, skills and competences of teachers as well as the quality of school leadership’ as key factors in achieving high quality learning outcomes. Teachers, trainers and school leaders and decision makers should benefit more from the multiple opportunities for sharing good practice and cooperation that the Lifelong learning programme presents.
The outcomes of the seminar will be part of a publication that will be disseminated in the second half of 2010.