On Friday, the ministers of education, Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, and higher education, Manuel Heitor, are to chair the informal Council of Education Ministers of the European Union on the role of education and training in the European social model.
The meeting, which was scheduled to take place in Braga for two days, Thursday and Friday, has been reduced to one day and will be held by videoconference, because of the worsening epidemiological situation in Europe, marked by a sharp increase in infections from the new coronavirus.
Rodrigues, who is responsible for education, and Manuel Heitor, minister for science, technology and higher education, will direct the work from the Centro Cultural de Belém in Lisbon, with remote links to counterparts in the other member states.
Also participating in this informal Education Council are the commissioners for innovation, research, culture, education and youth, Mariya Gabriel, and for employment and social rights, Nicolas Schmit, and the European commission’s advisor on social rights during the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the EU, the former minister for labour, José António Vieira da Silva.
The meeting’s agenda focuses on the importance of education and training in the European social model, the “focus” of the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the EU, which will have as a high point the Social Summit scheduled for 7 and 8 May in Porto, where the government hopes to see a declaration that makes employment, skills and social protection as central elements of the EU’s economic recovery.
Under discussion will be issues such as the path taken in education, training and retraining since the proclamation of the Social Rights Pillar (2017) or what measures can be taken to ensure that all citizens, from children to adults, have opportunities for qualification in a context of economic recovery and climate and digital transition.
At the end of the meeting, ministers will hold a press conference.
Portugal holds the six-monthly rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) from 1 January to 30 June.