Phone:: +44 20 7240 9319
back to top

Education Summit Europe

The 5th European Education Summit – Brussels 2022

I was invited to speak at the European Education Summit in Brussels in December 2022.

The 5th European Education Summit, themed ‘Bright Young Minds,’ is a gathering for the education and training community to convene and discuss key issues. The event highlighted the European Commission’s commitment to enhancing education, including increased funding for the Erasmus+ program and efforts to bolster digital literacy and sustainable development initiatives. Post-pandemic challenges, equity in education, and the rise of deep-tech innovation were prominent topics. The summit also emphasized youth engagement in shaping the EU’s future and transitioned from the European Year of Youth to the upcoming European Year of Skills as a strategic investment in the continent’s progress.

Here are three insights and questions I took away from the summit:

💡 How to involve young people in system change?

Multiple voices mentioned young people’s agency as a key in changing education systems.

For example, the Czech education minister Vladimír Balas said that “decisions in education shouldn’t be done for young people but with young people,” and Panagiotis (Pete) Chatzimichail mentioned the importance of engaging all stakeholders.

While I love that the European Commission invited young people, the conference wasn’t designed for cross-stakeholder engagement. Over dinner, Alexandra Biris and Pete proposed an idea for more involvement, for example, by breaking up panels into more audience-inclusive world cafe setups. A conference setup is not enough to increase young people’s agency; it’s a first step away from tokenistic participation.

💡 How to prioritize long-term cooperation approaches in short-term policy-making environments?

The average tenure of education ministers is less than two years. Measuring the success of education reforms takes multiple years. There are not enough system incentives for decision-makers to invest in decisions that will prove successful only long after a term.

Luxemburg’s education minister Claude Meisch told me he’s been serving for nine years, which allowed him to propose and implement several evidence-based programs, such as free high-quality after-school activities and early childhood education programs. 

💡 A new education for climate coalition

Education is a critical tool for addressing climate change. Education helps people understand the root causes and impact of climate change, shifting their behaviour and attitudes towards more sustainable lifestyles. Education builds the knowledge, competencies, and skills necessary to adapt and innovate to save our planet, transform economies, and improve health and security.

I was thrilled to learn that the European Commission launched a participatory community for students, teachers and education stakeholders to collaborate on innovative education solutions for environmental sustainability. Priorities involve training teachers, bridging education with science, and developing green skills and competencies.

Thank you letter

More information:

Insights from the 5th European Education Summit

Final report of the Fifth European Education Summit

Panel discussion (minutes 24:00-29:00 and 58:00-62:00)