Public consultation on the European Citizens’ Initiative

European Citizens’ InitiativeThe European citizens’ initiative, foreseen in the Treaty on European Union, allows EU citizens to participate directly in the development of EU policies by calling on the European Commission to make a legislative proposal.

To be considered by the Commission, an initiative must gather the support of at least one million EU citizens from at least seven member states. The Commission is holding an open public consultation on whether or not to make a legislative proposal, and explain the reasons for that choice.

This consultation intends to gather the views of citizens and stakeholders on the current Regulation. It focusses on the shortcomings that have been identified and on options for improving this Regulation.
Target groups are citizens and stakeholders, in particular: organisations such as civil society organisations promoting participatory democracy instruments and public authorities working around the European citizens’ initiative and/or having similar participatory democracy instruments in place.

Deadline is August 16th.

EU Skills Profile Tool for Third Country Nationals

EU Skills Profile Tool for Third Country NationalsAs part of the New Skills Agenda for Europe, the European Commission has developed a Skills Profile Tool to support early profiling of the skills of refugees, migrants and other third country nationals.

The EU Skills Profile Tool for Third Country Nationals is intended for use by any services that may be offering assistance to third country nationals and should be used in an interview situation to get to know the individual, their skills, qualifications and experiences.
The focus of the tool is to help individuals produce a profile of their skills and to help an adviser identify any recommendations or next steps.

Further Information

Call for participants: 7th Global Education and Youth Training Course for Youth Multipliers

North-South CentreAre you a young key multiplier playing an active role in a youth organisation, willing to gain skills to promote and disseminate principles of Global Development Education (GDE) to other young people?

Do you want to develop intercultural competences to facilitate peer-learning processes with other young people?

The North-South Centre (NSC) of the Council of Europe is organising the 7th Global Education and Youth Training Course for Youth Multipliers from 18th until 23rd September 2017, in the framework of the 18th University on Youth and Development, in Mollina, Spain.

The training course aims to empower representatives of youth organisations to further support the practice of GDE based on the NSC’s Global Education methodology, contributing to develop a better understanding of intercultural education, intercultural learning and intercultural competences.

Applications for the course are open until 28th July 2017, through the submission of the online application form and a recommendation letter from the sending organisation to youth and globalisation.

For more information, please read carefully the call for participants.

Over €340 million proposed for the European Solidarity Corps

European Solidarity CorpsDuring a first phase launched in December 2016, eight different programmes were mobilised to offer volunteering, traineeship or job opportunities under the European Solidarity Corps. More than 30,000 young people have already signed up and the first participants have now started their placements.

The Commission is now proposing to equip the European Solidarity Corps with one single legal base, its own financing mechanism and a broader set of solidarity activities. This will help further increase its coherence, impact and cost-effectiveness. The Commission proposes to allocate €341.5 million to the European Solidarity Corps over the period 2018-2020, to enable 100,000 young Europeans to take part by the end of 2020.

Four kinds of activities are proposed to be supported by the European Solidarity Corps:

  • solidarity placements, including volunteering opportunities, traineeships and job placements
  • volunteering teams bringing together volunteers from different countries
  • solidarity projects – local initiatives involving at least 5 participants
  • networking activities to promote and develop the European Solidarity Corps.

The Council of the EU and the European Parliament need to agree to the proposal before it can enter into force. Until then, the current first phase of the European Solidarity Corps is running.

You can read more details in the press release, the accompanying questions and answers and our new factsheet.

Free digital learning opportunities for migrants and refugees

Digital Learning for Migrants and RefugeesThe European Commission’s Joint Research Centre has released a report on Free Digital Learning Opportunities for Migrants and Refugees: An Analysis of Current Initiatives and Recommendations for their Further Use

The increasing number of migrants and refugees places demands on European education systems. According to the UN, only 50% of refugees have access to primary education, compared with a global level of more than 90%. Furthermore, only 1% of refugees are participating in higher education. Education, however, is regarded as the key to helping migrants improve their language skills and knowledge about their host country, and also to finding employment. This goes beyond formal education programmes.

Technological opportunities are seen as cost-effective, scalable and flexible ways to skills development for migrants and refugees. However, although free digital learning (FDL) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) were initially conceived as means of democratising access to education, the use of MOOCs by vulnerable groups (including migrants and refugees) and less educated individuals is much lower than expected.

In order to assess the extent to which MOOCs and other free digital learning offers, such as mobile learning, are effective and efficient ways of developing the skills needed by migrants and refugees, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre was asked in 2016 to research projects and experiences on the ground. The study was conducted in collaboration with external experts. It included a literature review, a mapping of relevant initiatives (see online catalogue), and the 25 interviews with experts engaged in ten different FDL initiatives as well as four focus groups with thirty-nine migrants and refugees, in different situations and with different profiles.

The main results of the newly released study are below:

  • Awareness: There is a lack of awareness of FDL among migrants and refugees. The use of adequate communication channels such as social media or FDL “ambassadors” may increase awareness.
  • Flexibility: FDL allows migrants and refugees to start acquiring the skills they need for asking for asylum, a resident’s permit, housing or to find employment, even before they arrive in the host country. The use of FDL in refugees’ countries of origin and refugee camps has been identified as an opportunity.
  • Complement vs substitute: Migrant/refugee learners perceive FDL as a complement to face-to-face formal, non-formal, and informal learning rather than a substitute.  Targeted, blended (a mix of online and face-to-face learning) and facilitated (as opposed to self-learning) approaches are considered the most effective means of engaging migrant/refugee learners. Face-to-face education is valued because it establishes a social network.
  • Adaptation: Initiatives should adapt to learners’ characteristics. The developers of FDL initiatives should take into account the fragility and diversity of migrant/refugee target groups. Co-development with learners and cooperation with other initiatives and sharing of good practices can be helpful. Technology should also be adapted to the restrictions of the target groups (e.g. in some camps, internet connexion can be difficult).
  • Language learning:  This is a first priority for the general migrant and refugee community. Mobile apps could provide easily accessible first steps towards language learning and integration. Blending language training with other content acquisition enhances the efficacy of FDL initiatives.
  • Recognition, quality assurance and accreditation: FDL Higher Education initiatives should consider using Bologna tools (ECTS credits)  and pursue recognition by European quality assurance agencies. Efforts should also be made to encourage employers to recognise FDL oriented to labour market skills.
  • Sustainability: FDL should not rely only on foundational funding, such as crowd-funding or grants. Diversification of funding, cooperation between initiatives, alternative income mechanisms and good communication channels to reach target group is needed.

Read the full report: Free Digital Learning Opportunities for Migrants and Refugees: An Analysis of Current Initiatives and Recommendations for their Further Use