European Priorities for Youth and Adult Education – why do we need to support the youth and empower their development?
Initial strategy and background
Education is critical in a democracy, forming the foundation of social, cultural and political citizenship, critical decision-making and an informed populace. To support a vision of empowering young people by mobilizing EU level policy instruments as well as actions at national, regional and local level by all stakeholders, in November 2018 the EU has announced the EU Youth Strategy 2019 – 2027. The 6th cycle of the EU Youth Dialogue intended to gather young people from different European countries and hear their voices in order to create a list of goals which would eliminate the challenges they deal with as well as contribute to their personal and professional development.
This cooperation was based on Council Resolution of 26 November 2018 and more precisely aims to make the most of youth policy’s potential. Furthermore, it fosters youth participation in democratic life, supports social and civic engagement and aims to ensure that all young people have the necessary resources to take part in society.
The EU Youth Strategy highlights 3 key words: Engage, Connect, Empower. Each of them should serve a specific purpose, as follows:
- Engage – aims towards a meaningful civic, economic, social, cultural and political participation of young people.
- Connect – relays mostly on different forms of mobility. Connections, relations and exchange of experience are a pivotal asset for solidarity and the future development of the European Union.
- Empower – since young people across Europe are facing diverse challenges, they need to be encouraged to take charge of their own lives.
In order to ensure a great fulfilment of these goals, the dialogue resulted into the 11 European Youth Goals 2019-2027.
- Connecting EU with Youth
- Equality of All Genders
- Inclusive Societies
- Information & Constructive Dialogue
- Mental Health & Wellbeing
- Moving Rural Youth Forward
- Quality Employment for All
- Quality Learning
- Space and Participation for All
- Sustainable Green Europe
- Youth Organizations & European Programmes.
Why do we need to support the youth and empower their development?
The call for engaging young people and underlining their importance is everywhere.
In the middle of the coronavirus crisis we can see clearly that young people can play a crucial role in the healing of our societies. So, why is it so important to continue activating young people especially during hard times like now and what it has to do with their future position on the labor market?
A study done by the European Youth Forum shows that participation in youth organizations can have a positive impact on young people’s personal development. Young people can foster skills and dispositions such as: empathy, creativity, problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Youth engagement in non-governmental organizations can also improve their position on the labor market. Moreover, youth engagement may have an impact on young people’s well being by extending and deepening social bonds. Through civic and political activism young people get the sense of purpose and achievement and sense of community and belonging.
Another research done by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency within the European Commission on European youth (aged 15-30) shows that 53% of respondents have been involved in the activities of at least one organization in the last 12 months. The study also shows that youth participation has increased by four percentage points since December 2014. Additionally, “participation in voluntary activities has increased to almost one third of respondents, with most voluntary activities focused on local communities” (69%). It is necessary to foster and encourage the youth’s development because a loss of learning especially during the current crisis is likely to decrease future income levels for that generation and it involves the Union as a whole which potentially will be negatively impacted in terms of labor productivity growth and competitiveness.
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