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European Commission seeks public feedback on European Social Fund activities, deadline 24 February

15.2.2020 11:12
EU flags in front of the European Commission building in Brussels (PHOTO: Sébastien Bertrand, Wikimedia commons)
EU flags in front of the European Commission building in Brussels (PHOTO: Sébastien Bertrand, Wikimedia commons)

Since November 2019 the European Commission (EC) has had a call open for people to contribute to a public consultation to ascertain the experiences, observations and opinions of experts, the general public, and stakeholders involved in the activities supported by the European Social Fund (ESF) that focused on education, lifelong learning and professional training that were supported by the ESF from 2014-2018. The public consultation is taking place through an online questionnaire published on the website at the end of this article until 24 February 2020.

Any citizen or organization can participate in this initiative. The feedback will be part of evaluating the current setup of the support program and is a starting point for improving it in the upcoming period.

The assessment will focus on the success of EU initiatives concerning preventing and stopping school dropout, support for equal access to education and lifelong learning for all, support for professional training, and improving the effectiveness and quality of higher education and access to it. The assessment will also focus on what kind of support would be the most effective in the future.

The call is aimed at individuals and represents an opportunity to influence the process of how that support will be distributed and how the projects supported will be chosen. For that reason, it is very important to take advantage of this opportunity and to communicate your experiences and suggestions to the EC so the process of democratic participation in this area can also happen "from below".

This is especially an opportunity to raise the option of support for types of projects that have not yet been supported or support for successful projects for which it is not easy to arrange continuing financing because of administrative limitations. The current ESF support for the education and professional training of Romani children and youth is focused on improving their access to quality preschool care and education, on combating school dropout, on increasing the quality of education provided until the completion of compulsory school attendance, on supporting secondary and higher education, and especially on including Romani children into mainstream education, developing inclusive education, and eliminating the segregation of Romani children in education.

These aims, however, cannot be achieved without reforms to the education of the majority society, so project aims are conditioned on collaboration in both areas. As far as adult education is concerned, this has especially been about completing education and lifelong learning.

The aim of the ESF support has also been to include Romani educators and experts in the education system and as participants in the conceptualization of education. Unfortunately, as is frequently symptomatic of administrative, political institutions of the European type, the interface for completing the feedback questionnaire online is confusing and the process through which a potential respondent must pass in order to access the questionnaire is disproportionately complicated.

The procedure involves establishing a user account online, which is conditioned on providing a mobile phone number and verifying the user through a special EU mobile phone application. More detailed information about the purpose of the public consultation and the questionnaire is available in Czech and the other official EU languages.

Official information about the call for feedback is available in Czech here. Should you be unable to establish an account or access the questionnaire for technical reasons, please send a message to Amparo.ROCA-ZAMORA@ec.europa.eu.

lud, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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European Commission, grants, inclusive education, Internet



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