Estonian minister attends meeting of council of EU education ministers in Brussels

  • 2020-02-21
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Estonian Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps on Thursday participated in a meeting of the education ministers of the European Union and met with Estonian translators and teachers in Brussels.

She also discussed the topics of modernization of skills with the European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit, spokespeople for the Ministry of Education and Research said.

The education ministers exchanged thoughts on the circulation of brains and highlighted both the positive and negative aspects of it.

"The current opportunities for learning and labor mobility in the European Union are very good and contribute to the development of different competences and skills. On the other hand, it has created a situation where highly skilled labor tends to move to certain areas," Reps said.

The minister stressed the need to find out why people want to leave their home countries and what brings them back. She noted that a high-quality and inclusive education as well as various support and scholarship schemes are essential for facilitating returns. It was concluded that promoting balanced movement of highly qualified people is a challenge for the whole European Union.

During a working lunch of the ministers, the discussion on climate change and environmental issues in curricula was carried out. The ministers shared experiences of their countries during the debate and agreed that it is important to raise awareness on environmental issues among general public as well as promote education that supports systemic development of environment as well as sustainable development.

The modernization of skills was discussed with the new European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicholas Schmit.

Reps acknowledged Nicolas Schmit's plans in modernizing skills. "The most necessary skill in today's labor market is the skill of learning," the minister said, adding that Estonia stands out with its significant increase in adult learners. Schmit highlighted that Estonia's effort on developing digital skills and competences and adult education, and was interested in the kind of steps that have been taken to achieve such progress. The topics related to youth guarantee as well as the cooperation in vocational education and pan-European vision was discussed as a proposal is expected from the European Commission in March.

In the afternoon, Reps met Estonian teachers working in Brussels' European Schools. During the meeting, ideas were exchanged on learning and teaching Estonian language in the European Schools system and current educational topics were discussed as well. The European Schools system is an official system of educational institutions that allow education in the mother tongue. Today, 226 Estonian students are studying in European Schools across Europe, of whom 160 are studying in Brussels. In Estonia, the Tallinn European School has been operating since 2013 and has some 300 students enrolled.

At the meeting with the translators and interpreters working in Brussels, Reps expressed her gratitude for translating the official documents and speeches into Estonian, thus making them available for more Estonians, and for maintaining a high level of the Estonian language. During the meeting, the use of different digital solutions in translation as well as in studies were discussed.