The ETF responds to COVID-19
A message from the ETF Director Cesare Onestini
The world is facing an unprecedented crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing country after country to enact stringent social distancing measures to interrupt the chain of contagion and save lives. This is disrupting social and economic life on an unparalleled scale. As governments struggle to deal with the medical emergency, communities, families and individuals strive to maintain a semblance of ordinary life amidst the threat of sickness and death. Sadly, far too many of us have had to deal with the reality of illness and bereavement, and my deepest sympathies go out to them.
From our base in Italy, I would like to send a message of solidarity to all the countries where we work in the EU neighbourhood, and beyond. We will do everything in our power within the scope of our mandate to support you through these difficult times. And I would also like to send a message of hope. We can get through this together. We need to start looking ahead at how we can support each other, at what we can learn for education and training systems and at how we can mobilise the power of our community of ideas and dedicated professionals.
Learning will keep connecting us
Social distancing measures to combat COVID-19 have had a massive impact on education and training in Italy and elsewhere. Schools and training centres have had to close from one day to the next. Students, apprentices and trainees have had to stay home. We are witnessing a universal, system-wide - and in many cases improvised - experiment in distance and online learning. It is happening now, and it is happening here all around us. Schools, teachers, students and their families are all struggling to adapt, and inventing and innovating as they go along.
To help all the countries where we work deal with this unprecedented challenge and ensure that learning continues to connect individuals and institutions, we are launching a new initiative focusing on how education and training systems, businesses, schools, teachers, students and their families can adapt to the challenges of teaching and learning at a distance, often using unfamiliar and untried technology and imperfect systems and infrastructure. Our campaign is mutually reinforcing with the UNESCO Global Education Coalition.
Over the coming weeks through our social media channels we will be collecting your stories in our partner countries and around the world with a view to understanding the challenges being faced, the successes and inspirational stories emerging, so that we can promote the exchange of practice, tools and materials, and provide targeted expertise to see us through this crisis.
So join us on our communication platform, Open Space, and share your personal stories on how you are coping in your country, in your town, in your school, your class, your family and even with yourself.
#LearningConnects all of us, beyond geographical limits and crisis.
Like other organisations around the world, the European Training Foundation has had to react to this extraordinary situation, first and foremost by safeguarding the health and well being of our staff, and secondly by rethinking our way of working to ensure continuity of our activities in a context where we can no longer engage face-to-face with our partners and stakeholders. The ETF has closed its headquarters and its entire staff is now working from home using online communication tools and teamworking technology. We are reviewing our work programme and accelerating plans already under way to digitalise our working methods and replace as far as possible physical interactions with virtual ones. In the meantime, we are refocusing our efforts on those activities we can continue from our desks.