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European Commission reinforces policy focus on key competences

On 17 January the European Commission adopted a policy proposal that puts key competences at the heart of 21st century education.

Set against fast-changing economies and shifts in skills demands within the labour market, the European Commission has submitted a proposal to the EU’s member states for more considered attention to be given to key competence development in national education systems.

In a nutshell, competences are required for all jobs. Skills are required for specific jobs.

The EU key competence framework defines eight key competences including maths, science and technology as well as entrepreneurship and digital competences. Those individuals with good key competences are more flexible in the labour market and more likely to meet employers’ demands for creativity and innovation.

In its work with partner countries, ETF is giving particular attention to both entrepreneurship and digital key competences. With EU candidate countries, through the ‘Riga’ process, ETF tracks policy and practice developments in both competence areas. For each candidate country, a factsheet on progress on digital competence and skills for students and teachers are in the pipeline. The factsheets for Montenegro and Serbia are already online.

In 2018, specific actions in the two competence areas are being supported in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Tunisia and Ukraine. ‘Co-working developments of both competences will be important’, says ETF’s Anthony Gribben, ‘and should build on existing areas of the curriculum which already reflect the two EU competence areas’.

The EU key competence framework already has a head-start with support tools to guide curriculum reform. An entrepreneurship competence framework provide s examples of learning outcomes for each level of education. Likewise, an EU digital competence framework provides examples of learning outcomes with guidance for teachers.

The 2018 EU key competence framework builds on an earlier instrument agreed in 2006.