Education Minister discusses blended learning and youth involvement in civil society EU Council meeting

EU Education and Culture Ministers discussed blended learning, the need for civic spaces for young people, the protection and promotion of cultural heritage in Europe and issues regarding sports, during Monday’s and Tuesday’s Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council in Brussels.

Cyprus was represented by Minister for Education, Culture, Sport and Youth, Prodromos Prodromou.

The Council adopted a recommendation on blended learning approaches. During the pandemic, home schooling and distance learning became a new reality for many pupils, teachers and parents.

While the teaching community has shown remarkable innovative skills in the adoption of new approaches, a number of challenges, such as insufficient connectivity and digital infrastructure, have also become apparent. The recommendation puts forward both short-term measures as a direct response to the crisis as well as long-term actions to advance blended learning approaches.

Prodromou briefed his counterparts on the inclusion of digital skills in the Cypriot educational system as well as the government’s efforts to strengthen STEM education on all levels of the educational system. A pilot version of the programme, he added, is currently ongoing in seven primary schools and one gymnasium.

During Monday’s working lunch, the ministers exchanged views on investments for education after the pandemic. Prodromou referred to projects included in the country’s Resilience and Recovery National Plan that amount to 96.9 million euros in investments towards the digital and green transition in education.

Cyprus also cosigned a joint statement, submitted by Greece and supported by all member states, supporting the right of education for girls in Afghanistan.

On Monday afternoon, the Ministers discussed the pressures faced by civic spaces for young people – environments such as youth centres, associations and youth assemblies that allow for young people’s meaningful participation in society.

Youth ministers discussed measures to defend and support civic spaces for young people. Ministers also voiced concerns about the role of digital tools and fora which – although allowing young people to mobilise, raise awareness and share information – also entail risks such as intimidation, online censorship and digital surveillance.

During this discussion Prodromou laid out the opportunities in Cyprus for youth to participate in actions such as the Youth Parliament as well as the government’s support for youth-run spaces. He also pointed out the need to promote digital literacy, in order to help the young better communicate through social media while also avoiding possible dangers.

On Tuesday morning, during the discussion on culture, Prodromou referred to the state of affairs that will come with the establishment of the deputy ministry for culture and the integrated management of cultural heritage.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Minister touched on issues regarding sports and discussed the latest developments on the issue of athletes’ dual careers.

Prodromou also met Italian Culture Minister Patrizio Bianchi on the margins of the Council. They discussed ways to deepen and upgrade the cooperation between the two countries in the field of education.

Source: Cyprus News Agency