Minister of Science and Education Radovan Fuchs participated in the meeting of the Council of the European Union for education, youth, culture and sport (EYCS) in Bruxelles, on Monday, 17 May

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The Council conclusions on equity and inclusion in education and training in order to promote educational success for all were adopted at the meeting, inviting the Member States to implement measures and reforms in their education and training systems to enhance equal opportunities and inclusion.

The document places emphasis on greater inclusion of children in the early childhood education and care system, inclusion of children from vulnerable groups, as well as on gifted children and reducing regional disparities, all of which has already been included in the 2030 National Development Strategy of the Republic of Croatia.

In addition, the ministers adopted the Council conclusions on the European Universities initiative - Bridging higher education, research, innovation and society: paving the way for a new dimension in European higher education. This document invites the Member States to remove obstacles to the implementation of innovative concepts that are piloted within the framework of the European Universities. A European University comprises higher education institutions from several EU Member States that develop inter-university campuses so that the students have the possibility to enrol courses at different higher education institutions, as well as develop research teams. Four Croatian universities are already participating in the European university alliances that are funded from the Erasmus+ Programme, while the Ministry of Science and Education provides national co-funding of these projects.

Within the policy debate the ministers exchanged views on the evolving scenarios of transforming the European higher education. Croatia supported the piloting of innovative concepts within the European university alliances since that will ensure a long-term framework for the transformation of higher education at the EU level. Minister Fuchs pointed out that intense collaboration among higher education institutions from different countries within the European Universities may contribute to enhancing the quality of teaching and research as well as reduce brain drain at the same time. The Minister also expressed his belief that the European university alliances, which already include four Croatian universities, will have a long-term positive impact on the whole higher education system in Croatia.

The ministers agreed that the European Universities initiative should result in closer linking of higher education with research and innovations. They also pointed out the need to ensure sustainable funding of European Universities, whereby co-funding from the European Social Fund should be taken into consideration together with the funds from the Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe Programmes, which was also highlighted by minister Fuchs in his speech.

At the end of the meeting the programme of the upcoming Slovenian presidency of the Council of the European Union was presented, including the following thematic priorities: synergies between higher education and research; digitalisation, artificial intelligence and ethics; the European Agenda for Adult Education and governance of the Strategic Framework for European cooperation in education and training (2021 - 2030).
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