8th Ministerial Meeting of the Western Balkans Platform on Education and Training
Monday, 3 June, 2019 - 15:30 to 04 Jun 2019 - Belgrade, Serbia

Summary

Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, opened the 8th Ministerial Meeting of the Western Balkans Platform on Education and Training in Belgrade, Serbia.

The Ministers of Education from the region were invited to review the state of their educational systems, learn about the latest EU initiatives, identify priorities and agree on follow-up actions to deepen regional cooperation.

Background

The 8th Ministerial Meeting of the Western Balkans Platform on Education and Training gathered the Ministers of Education as well as key representatives from the governments of:

  • Albania
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Kosovo*
  • Montenegro
  • Serbia
  • North Macedonia

This year’s event was attended by the Ministers of Education, representatives from the European Commission, relevant regional stakeholders such as the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), the European Reform Initiative for South Eastern Europe (ERI-SEE), the European Training Foundation (ETF), the OECD, the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO), the Western Balkan Alumni Association (WBAA), representatives from Member States, as well as National Agencies and Erasmus+ Offices.

The chosen topic for discussion was Early Childhood Education and Care, with speakers from the International Step by Step Association and UNICEF. Ministers were invited to share experiences and exchange views on progress made and challenges remaining in that area.

Following the roundtable discussions, a series of presentations were given to update the audience on different regional activities. The European Training Foundation (ETF) presented the results of the Torino Process and encouraged the Ministers to work more closely in the field of Vocational Education and Training (VET). This was followed by an update from the European Commission on the ongoing selection of proposals received for the first pilot project for VET mobility between the EU and enlargement countries.

Representatives of the Western Balkans Alumni Association (WBAA) gave an update on the development of their organisation, which celebrated its first General Assembly in Tirana in March 2019. The International Association for the Evaluation of Education Achievement (IEA) presented the progress made in implementing assessments like TIMSS and PIRLS in the Western Balkans, followed by a presentation by the OECD on a forthcoming comparative PISA study for the region. The session finished with an introduction to SELFIE, a tool designed to help schools embed digital technologies into teaching, learning and student assessment, as well as other opportunities in the field of digital skills (e.g. digital traineeship opportunities funded under the Erasmus+ programme).

As an important benchmark in regional cooperation, the issue of recognition of academic qualifications was discussed. Following the meetings of the Working Group facilitated by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) and the Education Reform Initiative of South Eastern Europe (ERISEE) under the Regional Economic Area (REA), the Ministers were invited to give their opinions on the Draft Declaration on Recognition of Academic Qualifications in the Western Balkans. All the ministerial delegations showed support for this initiative and reiterated their commitment to improving the process of recognition of qualifications in the region.

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.

Meeting report

A full meeting report with conclusions will soon be made available.

Day 1 - 03/06/2019

14:3015:30
Welcome coffee & registration
15:3016:00
Opening
  • Mladen ŠARČEVIĆ, Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development, Serbia
  • Tibor NAVRACSICS, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport
16:0016:30
What's new: Update on recent EU developments
  • Antoaneta ANGELOVA-KRASTEVA, Director, Directorate-General for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, European Commission
16:3016:45
Early childhood education and care: Strengthening social inclusion
16:4518:00
Roundtable discussion with ministers
18:0018:15
Family picture
20:0022:00
Official dinner @ Restaurant Epigenia

Day 2 - 04/06/2019

09:0009:45
Breakfast talk with alumni

6 breakout rooms next to the plenary

09:5510:00
Opening
  • Sem FABRIZI, Head of EU Delegation to Serbia
10:0010:10
Early childhood education and care: Supporting professionalisation of staf
  • Philippe CORI, Deputy Regional Director, Europe and Central Asia, UNICEF
10:1011:15
Roundtable discussion with ministers
11:1511:30
Coffee break
11:3011:50
Parallel session

Presentation of the results of the Torino process

VET Mobility for enlargment countries

  • Albert SESÉ BALLART, Policy Officer, DG for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport - Presentation details
11:5012:30
Update on regional activities
  • Western Balkans Alumni Association (WBAA), by their regional Board members - Presentation details
  • Participation in TIMSS & PIRLS, Paula KORSNAKOVA, International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) - Presentation details
  • Western Balkans regional PISA study, Elizabeth FORDHAM, OECD - Presentation details
  • Digital skills: SELFIE & digital opportunities traineeships, Danijela SCEPANOVIC, Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development in Serbia and Albert SESÉ BALLART - Presentation details (Digital skills), Presentation details (Digital opportunities traineeships)
12:3013:00
Recognition of academic qualifications
  • Majlinda BREGU, Secretary General, Regional Cooperation Council (RCC)
  • Tina SARIC, Director, Education Reform Initiative of South Eastern Europe (ERI-SEE) - Presentation details
13:0013:15
Closing remarks
  • Antoaneta ANGELOVA-KRASTEVA, Director, Directorate-General for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, European Commission
13:1515:00
Lunch & departure of participants

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