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Equity and inclusion decisive for well-performing education systems

The main topic under discussion at the informal video conference of Education Ministers

19 Feb · 13h20

Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, the Portuguese Minister of Education, chaired the informal video conference of Education Ministers on 19 February 2021 © Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2021 / António Pedro Santos/Lusa

This Friday the Portuguese Presidency placed at the heart of the European Union discussions, its thoughts on equity of access, inclusion and success for all in education and training, which are considered fundamental principles that underly the primary mission of education systems and a proper public education and training service.

At the informal video conference of the Ministers of Education, which was chaired from Lisbon, Minister Tiago Brandão Rodrigues stressed that “education and training play an important role in reducing inequalities, particularly those associated with socio-economic status, and there is evidence that the better-performing education and training systems are those that place greater emphasis on equity and inclusion”.

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Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, Portuguese Minister of Education © Presidência Portuguesa do Conselho da União Europeia 2021 / Pedro Sá da Bandeira

This debate has very much to do with one of the priorities of the Portuguese Presidency, which is to guide the European Union towards recovery and growth and wanting it to be a leader in digital and ecological transition, with the aim of achieving a knowledge-based Europe, and a stronger, fairer, more socially minded and more resilient Europe.

“ It has become clear that the EU Member States are united in wanting to use the Recovery and Resilience Plan to drive progress in these areas over the coming decade. The negotiation and cooperation efforts begun more than half a year ago are also confirmation of the importance of the European Education Area for progress. ”

Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, Portuguese Minister of Education

The European Education Area and beyond

The Portuguese Minister of Education remotely informed the meeting of the adoption of a resolution for the coming Strategic Framework for European Cooperation in Education and Training up until 2030, which will take Europe into the European Education Area and beyond. It is a document of great importance for the European Union and the Member States, as it will guide and support EU-wide cooperation in matters of education and training up to 2030, in addition to supporting the achievement of the European Education Area by the year 2025.

This resolution defines five strategic priorities for European cooperation for the next 10 years.

These are:

  • to improve quality, equity and the inclusion and success of all in education and training
  • to make lifelong learning and mobility a reality for all
  • to improve the skills and strengthen the motivation of education professionals
  • to strengthen European higher education
  • to support ecological and digital transition in and through education and training


Seven European Union-wide targets were defined for the next five and 10-year periods and the monitoring, supervision and reporting processes for the new strategic framework were also agreed upon.

Online platform

The Portuguese Presidency announced the launch of an online platform as an internal tool available to the EU Member States so that they can share information on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the areas of education, youth and sports. The platform will feature the possibility of online responses and the extraction of statistical and qualitative data for use by the Member States and the European Commission. This constitutes an important contribution of and advancement by the Portuguese Presidency.

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© Presidência Portuguesa do Conselho da União Europeia 2021 / António Pedro Santos/Lusa