The Eastern Partnership European School: New perspectives for youth in the EaP region

Published in Education
Thursday, 06 September 2018 17:32

This week families prepare for the new school year. Bright, motivated students across Europe are full of determination to acquire new skills to support their employability in the future. Today’s students will be tomorrow’s citizens, leaders, professionals and entrepreneurs. Providing them with a good education and the right skills is an investment in the future.
At the start of this school year, I am proud to inaugurate, together with Georgia’s Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, the brand new Eastern Partnership European School. It is a major achievement for the European Union and documents its support to young people across the Eastern Partnership region (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine). The school will open its doors today in Tbilisi to its first 30 students aged 16-17 who succeeded a rigorous, merit-based selection process to obtain the scholarships. With the support of the European Union’s 28 Member States and its six Eastern partner countries, the students will be offered a high quality education with the opportunity to engage in the study of Europe, in a multilingual, multicultural environment, through academic courses and extra-curricular activities.

Investing in young people is my priority. In my role as European Commissioner, I have actively worked together with the six partner countries to bring more opportunities to young people across the region. I believe everyone has the right to quality and inclusive education. The Eastern Partnership Summit in November 2017 endorsed a new support package for youth, worth €340 million, as one of the "20 Deliverables for 2020". This will help create the necessary conditions for young people from the entire region to study, work, engage with their societies and to fully develop their potential.

As part of this package, the European Union will reinforce one of its most successful initiatives, Erasmus+. By 2020, we estimate that over 80,000 young people, youth workers, students and academic staff from the Eastern Partnership region will have taken part in exchange opportunities

I have always regarded education as the most important driver of change. However, changes in technology and labour market patterns all require constant adjustments. Young people increasingly need to develop skills and approaches that can make them more flexible and innovative to deal with a constantly evolving environment. Basic and transversal skills taught from pre-primary up to secondary and tertiary education are crucial.
We also know from experience that a better matching of skills with labour market demand is key to enhance competitiveness and economic development in the long term. Therefore, continued support is being provided to Vocational Education and Training (VET) across the six countries. A budget of over €80 million will aim at modernising qualification systems and VET attractiveness.

The EU also strongly shares the six countries’ aspirations to support the development of entrepreneurial skills and bring its education system to the next level. In this context, the EU4Youth programme aims to improve youth employment perspectives – notably, but not only for vulnerable and disadvantaged young people - by fostering their entrepreneurial potential and helping them develop indispensable skills for the labour market. This is done through the establishment of business incubators and innovation clusters, mentoring schemes focused on entrepreneurship and non-formal catch-up programmes for early school leavers.
Supporting young people has always been and will continue to be at the heart of the agenda of the European Union. The Eastern Partnership European School focuses precisely on the goal: to provide young people with the right set of knowledge, skills and opportunities based on European values. I am convinced that this will contribute to a better exchange and understanding in the region.

Johannes Hahn,

Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations

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  • First Eastern Partnership European School opens its doors in Tbilisi

    The first Eastern Partnership European School opened today in Tbilisi, Georgia. One of the Eastern Partnership's 20 deliverables for 2020, it will provide students from the EU’s six Eastern partner countries with an innovative academic programme while fostering multicultural exchanges and cooperation.

    Today, the first Eastern Partnership European School opened its doors to 30 students from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. The start of the academic year was marked with a special event in the presence of EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn and Mamuka Bakhtadze, Prime Minister of Georgia.

    Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, said: “I’m very proud to be in Tbilisi today to open the first Eastern Partnership European School. It is a project close to my heart and marks a new milestone in the EU’s cooperation with its Eastern partners. Offering high quality education to youth is an investment in the future of the students, of their countries, and of our strong and enduring partnership. The school's opening is also proof of our determination to implement the 20 deliverables for 2020, which are at the heart of the Eastern Partnership and bringing tangible benefits to citizens."

    At the Eastern Partnership Summit in November 2017, all EU Member States and the six Eastern partner countries endorsed the Eastern Partnership European School as a top priority and as part of the commitment to strengthen support to youth and education in the region. The school is one of the 20 deliverables for 2020, endorsed by leaders at the last Summit, and also constitutes part of the wider €340 million support package for youth.

    The unique diploma programme offered at the Eastern Partnership European School combines academic excellence with specialised teaching inspired by the European school system. Students aged 16 and 17 will attend classes in a multilingual and multicultural environment to extend and deepen their knowledge about Europe and the European Union. Furthermore, they will have access to a rich extra-curricular programme and have the chance to participate in high-level conferences on EU subjects. The students will graduate with an International Baccalaureate Diploma on European Studies.

    Background
     

    The Eastern Partnership (EaP) is a joint policy initiative that aims to deepen and strengthen relations between the European Union (EU), its Member States and its six Eastern neighbours: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. It is a specific dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy. The Eastern Partnership aims at building a common area of shared democracy, prosperity, stability and increased cooperation.

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