The Irish Presidency (January - June 2013) came with a report that outlines what has been achieved in partnership with the Member States.
The Lithuanian Presidency (July - December 2013) presented its programme: 'For a Credible, Growing and Open Europe’.
The Council adopted conclusions on the social dimension of higher education. The Irish Presidency updated Ministers on the negotiations on Erasmus for All. Ministers debated 'Ensuring a teaching profession of the highest quality to underpin the achievement of better learning outcomes'
The study on educational support to NAMS has identified three main messages that policy makers should take into consideration while designing integration policies for NAMS through education.
Firstly, an integrated approach to inclusion is important. Targeted policy response to NAMS' needs will only work effectively in an inclusive and comprehensive education system. Secondly, identification of NAMS as a specific target group in education is not a prerequisite for having a good and comprehensive integration policy. Finally, a combination of discretion and national monitoring should be ensured for effective implementation of policies.
The council adopted conclusions on investing in education and training in response to the Commission Communication on 'Rethinking education'.
It also held a policy debate on 'Education and Skills for Jobs, Stability and Growth' in the context of the European Semester.
Europe needs a radical rethink on how education and training systems can deliver the skills needed by the labour market. The challenge could not be tougher in the context of widespread austerity measures and cuts in education budgets.
Today, the European Commission is launching a new strategy called Rethinking Education to encourage Member States to take immediate action to ensure that young people develop the skills and competences needed by the labour market and to achieve their targets for growth and jobs.
EU Education Ministers have set a common goal to reduce the percentage of 15 year olds with low reading skills from the current level of 20% to 15% by 2020. To achieve the above goal, the European Commission established an independent High Level Group which included 11 special experts, chaired by Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, in order to analyse the available data and evaluate the most effective policies, in order to identify ways to achieve the common goal of improving literacy levels.
During its Presidency, Cyprus will work towards a Better Europe, more relevant to its citizens and to the world; meaning a more effective Europe, contributing to growth and job creation. A European Union working on the basis of the underlying principle of solidarity, committing itself to a better future, promoting social cohesion and providing hope to its citizens; a European Union, with an enhanced role in the international scene. All efforts will be directed to bequeath a better Europe to the younger generations.