Youth conclusions on informal education will be discussed by representatives of Eastern Partnership countries

25 October 2013, Last updated at, 17:43 EEST
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Conclusions regarding the recognition of informal education were prepared during the EU Eastern Partnership Youth Forum, which ended today in Kaunas. The conclusions will be presented to representatives of the EU and Eastern Partnership countries at a meeting in Brussels in the middle of November. The conclusions stress that the labour market currently requires competences that formal education programmes lack. Employers increasingly favour workers with practical experience and participation in informal education activities – international exchange programmes, NGO activities, volunteering, etc.

About two-hundred youth leaders, employees of youth organizations, and representatives of youth policy from the Youth in Action EU programme and six Eastern Partnership countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine – participated in the Eastern Partnership Youth Forum. During the Forum, the importance of informal education for the labour market was discussed,  and examples of successful project implementation were shared.

According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Linas Linkevičius, Lithuania, presiding over the Council of the EU, promotes cooperation between the EU and Eastern Partners in the field of youth and informal education.

“The EU and Eastern Partners youth projects’ results have been significant so far, thus, they have to continue. The Youth Forum’s conclusions show that the event was important both to the Eastern Partners and EU Member States. We think that those young people who participated in the Forum will continue to cooperate and influence EU decisions determining their future. We hope that the event, which took place in Lithuania and was organized for the first time, will become regular,” Mr Linkevičius said.

During the Forum, representatives of the European Commission presented the new EU youth programme, Erasmus +, which will fund youth cooperation projects between the EU and Eastern Partnership countries.

During the Forum, Minister of Education and Science, Dainius Pavalkis, said that formal education and informal education were in constant competition. “Currently, the Government is allocating a lot of funds to formal education, and informal education is left behind. The question we need to ask is how to find the balance between university knowledge and the skills and competences that employers require,” Mr Pavalkis said.

“The improvement of competences acquired through informal education is hardly imaginable without international exchange and volunteering programmes. The experience gained from such programmes gives an advantage in the labour market. That’s why Erasmus+ will help to deal with youth unemployment in Lithuania and other EU countries,” says confidently Lilija Gerasimienė, Head of the Agency of International Youth Co-operation, the Forum's organizer.

The Eastern Partnership Youth Forum was organized for the first time and was one of the most important events dedicated to youth of the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU Council, accompanying the Eastern Partnership Summit.

 

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