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Overcoming the crisis: the fundamental role of education

Access, diversity and culture, Citizenship & civil dialogue, Positions -

lllplatform_statement

Brussels,  24 September 2015

Europe is experiencing what has been called an unprecedented “refugee crisis”. On 23 September 2015, Member States adopted the Decision to relocate 120,000 refugees in clear need of international protection, in provenance  from Italy, Greece and other Member States directly affected by the refugee crisis. It has also announced immediate operational, budgetary and legal measures under the European Agenda on Migration. The Lifelong Learning Platform (EUCIS-LLL) and its members have been calling for an open approach to the crisis and to ensure access to basic public services including education. This is the statement emitted by the LLLPlatform on 24 September 2015.

Many of the Lifelong Learning Platform’s members and partners have taken open positions in the humanitarian crisis that has reached Europe, all calling institutions and public opinion to an open approach that reflects the values enshrined in EU Treaties, namely solidarity, tolerance, and respect for human dignity. Although Member States have come to an agreement, they have to be prepared to welcome more and more refugees in the coming months.

One of the first steps in ensuring that Europe lives up to its agreements, is that it allows access to education, such as provided in article 27 of Directive 2004/83/EC on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as refugees or as persons who otherwise need international protection and the content of the protection granted. This provision concerns both children and adults.  For children, the rights to play and have an education are as basic as the need to shelter, food and medical care. We all know boredom is as devastating as hunger. Regarding adults, many are qualified, and what’s more, skilled in ways Europeans are not. The competences and qualifications of these adults should be acknowledged and recognised with proper validation mechanisms; were they to lack skills, they should benefit from adult education programmes, as provided for in the Directive.

The Lifelong Learning Platform and its partners are ready to take action and support authorities and field actors in developing the necessary schemes to help young and older enter education, validate their competences and skills, and assimilate basic knowledge, such as linguistic, of their host countries. They call on the EU Member States and on the European Commission to ensure access to education for refugees.

Links:
SOLIDAR statement
Civil Society Europe call
EAEA statement
Social Platform #WeApologise open letter
European Commission Press Release, 9 September 2015
Directive 2004/83/EC on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals or stateless persons as refugees or as persons who otherwise need international protection and the content of the protection granted.


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