Dear Friends,

I am writing this in the middle of this year's first proper heat wave, so we can be sure, summer is here. In some European countries summer holidays are already about to start. While we know it is impossible to do anything meaningful in a classroom where the temperature is around or over 30 degrees, this is also the time to highlight the needs of parents and children during these weeks. In most European countries children are out of school for 11-14 weeks in the summer, and they badly need this time to rest, recuperate from school stress and have different kinds of learning experiences, often much more relevant ones than they have at school. Working parents are unable to take so much time off work, for most of us these are weeks of financial and organisational efforts to offer the best to our children. Summer holidays are worst for children of families who cannot rely on grandparents, afford to travel or pay for summer activities. While some school systems still fail to provide equitable enough education, for these children summer holidays are weeks are deemed to increase inequalities. While some children have a wide variety of learning experiences travelling with their parents, going to camps, participating in non-formal education or simply sitting in front of their computer, less advantaged children are often not offered enough leisure or learning activities. When we talk about the Europe we want, this is an important issue to be taken into consideration as a reconciliation topic, but us, luckier and more active parents also need to be aware of this problem and make an effort to help our less advantaged peers and their children. Peer support is an important element in organising the summer, and if you take your peers' children, you can also think about taking one more, less lucky one.

Being conscious doesn't mean that we cannot enjoy our own well-deserved holidays. While we in EPA will be busy with our ongoing projects, we will still all spend time with our family and children, like all of you, I hope. Our next newsletter is only planned to be published in the end of August, but you can find us by e-mail, social media or telephone all through the summer. Before you go, read about our input on two major consulations by the European Commission as well as reports of some important events in May.

Enjoy the summer and come back refreshed for a busy Autumn and Winter ahead of us.

Eszter Salamon

Ensure you receive all important information from EPA

Newsletters always contain important and official information from EPA. As you already know, according to the new EU GDPR regulations we will have to delete e-mail addresses that are not included in the member's form from our mailing list. If you haven't done so, please send your form as soon as posssible. 

Invite us, share with us

As always, I am inviting you to share news or hot topics that you are dealing with in your own countries. Send us a short, one paragraph newsflash in English that we can publish on the EPA blog to share your projects, success, good practices or concerns with other members.
As you know we have allocated a somewhat larger budget for representation for 2017. Some of you have invited members of the Board to your national events and they seems to become more and more popular. One or two members of the Board are happy to join you if you invite us, sharing costs, EPA covering travel and you covering accommodation and subsistence. This may help you in national advocacy or showing your national members the importance of your EPA membership.
In both the Social Platform and the Lifelong Learning Platform (EPA being a member of both) we are working on supporting the national cooperation of social and education NGOs that share at least their being Europeans, belonging to a European family like EPA. Inviting a Board member or two may offer opportunities for this, too.

ALCUIN Award 2017

You can already submit your suggestions for the 2017 ALCUIN Award using this form. Submission deadline is 15 September, as usual.

Key Competences revision
The European Commission is revising the Key Competences for Lifelong Learning and EPA has contributed to the public consultation on it. The most important changes we would suggest are structural ones, going beyond renaming or reorganising current chapters, to show the cross-sectoral complexity of key competences and to underline the need to have a holistic approach to education.

Mid-term review of Erasmus+
As you all know, we have conducted a survey among parents to contribute to this public consultation. Thank you for being active and sharing your experiences. Your answers formed the basis for our contribution on the content and the future of this funding scheme as well as your views on the processes applied. 

The World celebrated Parents as Educators on 15 May
This year the United Nations has decided to focus on parents as the primary educators of their children on the International Day of Families. The message of the year does not only acknowledge parents as educators and emphasise the crucial role parents play in the education of their children, but also calls the attention of policy makers to the importance of empowering parents as well as offering them conditions for balancing work and family life.

Global Day of Parents sees a huge step back by the EC
1 June, the Global Day of Parents was 'greeted' by the European Commission by the publication of a new Communication on School Education. After their promising policy messages last Spring, this document completely fails to acknowledge the rights and educator's role of parents, pushing (backwards) for a teacher-driven education system.  

Soft Skills highlighted
The Regional Meeting of the New Education Forum focused on promoting vocational pathways, raising awareness of the importance of soft skills in education and for employability and the need to develop quick learning pathways.

Education in a Digital World
The Annual Confernece of Lifelong Learning Platform focused on educational needs and challenges in today's world mostly characterised by the digital revolution affecting education and life even when we don't use technology.

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