On 5 July 2018, the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF) contributed to the EaP Panel on Education, Youth and Culture that took place in Brussels under the Platform 4 “Mobility and People to People Contacts” of the Eastern Partnership. The Forum was represented by Liliana Postan, from Labor Institute (Moldova), and Hovsep Khurshudyan, from Free Citizen Civic Initiatives Support Center (Armenia). Furthermore, EaP CSF members Grigori Yeritsyan, from Progressive Youth Armenia, Mariia Symonova, from MITLA (Ukraine), and Oleg Zhyvotovskyy, from European Choice (Ukraine), attended the meeting.

At the meeting, the EaP CSF presented a position paper on quality assurance in education which provides civil society recommendations regarding the implementation of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) reforms in the EaP countries. These are some of the issues addressed by the paper:

  1. Accreditation of diplomas of non-formal education (such as trainings, workshops, etc.)
  2. Equal conditions of work and access to the education market for all education and learning providers
  3. Access to quality education in rural areas, including better conditions for teachers willing to work in rural areas
  4. Professional development opportunities and increasing salaries of academics, teachers and support staff
  5. Enabling civil society role as a watchdog of promoting quality education
  6. Assurances of autonomy and self-governance of higher education establishments
  7. Lowering the EU projects co-funding threshold for NGOs working in the sphere of learning and skills
  8. Inclusive education with focus on seniors (especially fighting against “ageism”), persons with disabilities and minorities
  9. Perspective of instruments on monitoring/analysis/recommendations of quality assurances in education for non-AA countries
  10. E-learning + digitalization as a tool in improving access to quality education, including lifelong learning
  11. Active participation of students in quality assurance procedures

Furthermore, the EaP CSF position paper also recommends the EU to contribute to this process by providing qualitative indicators; facilitating access of lifelong learning programmes; contributing to make EaP education systems more attractive; and supporting an increase on the budget for the education sector, especially in rural areas and conflict zones.

During the Annual Working Group 4 Meeting, our members developed messages to deliver at the Panel on Education, Youth and Culture, as well to the EU stakeholders who attended the meeting. They elaborated on youth employability and entrepreneurship, culture, peace building and contacts between seniors.