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Education Council - 26 June 1997

The EU's Education Ministers met in Luxembourg on 26 June 1997 in the Education Council. The meeting discussed a number of Community initiatives in the field of education, and adopted conclusions in two important areas.

The Council held an open debate on the Commission's Gree...
The EU's Education Ministers met in Luxembourg on 26 June 1997 in the Education Council. The meeting discussed a number of Community initiatives in the field of education, and adopted conclusions in two important areas.

The Council held an open debate on the Commission's Green Paper on obstacles to transnational mobility in education, training and research. Delegations stressed the need to take steps to improve transparency of national education systems; proceed further on mutual recognition of diplomas; remove obstacles to transferability of grants; develop a functioning structure for traineeships across borders; and develop learning of foreign languages. Some delegations also supported the idea of some harmonization of taxation of grants and trainees' allowances.

During the debate, Commissioner Cresson advised Ministers that she intended to put forward proposals in autumn 1997 for action on:

- Transferability of grants;
- Legal framework on the status of apprentices at Community level;
- Initiatives to develop a training network for apprentices.

The Council adopted conclusions on information and communications technology and teacher training. Ministers recognized that the ability of teachers to use new information and communications technologies, and their ability to incorporate them into their teaching, is an essential factor in the development of the Information Society in Europe. However, to ensure that teachers are able to pass on the full benefits of these new tools, teacher training must cover not only their use, but the influence of these technologies in the learning process. Furthermore, the Council suggests that, given all Member States face similar situations, there is a strong European dimension to the question.

The conclusions call on Member States:

- To add a European dimension to their strategies for teacher training in the field of new technologies and education;
- To stimulate and promote access to educational multimedia software and services;
- To stimulate the participation of teacher training institutes in European networks;
- To stimulate public-private partnerships in the field of information and communications technologies and education.

The Commission is called on to stimulate networking of teacher training institutes at European level, in order to encourage the exchange of information and experience in the use of information and communications technologies in education. In addition, the Commission should stimulate cooperation between Member States, publishers and institutions in the production of educational multimedia software, in which the linguistic and cultural diversity of Europe can be adequately expressed.

Ministers also reached agreement on a common position on the proposed additional funding of the SOCRATES Community action programme in the field of education. The Commission had proposed increasing the programme's budget for the final two years (1998 and 1999) of the programme by ECU 50 million, to reflect the programme's success and its opening up to participation by entities from the Central and Eastern European countries. The Parliament, in its first reading of the proposal had doubled the additional funding to ECU 100 million, however the Council agreed unanimously on an addition of only ECU 25 million. Both the Commission and Parliament have maintained since that this figure is insufficient. The proposal will now go back to the Parliament for its second reading, where MEPs are likely to confirm the figure of ECU 100 million.

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