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Premières réactions après la manifestation du 12 avril 2011

From: Isabel
Sent: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 3:49 PM
To: SEFCOVIC Maros (CAB-SEFCOVIC)
Subject: FW: EUROPEAN SCHOOLS: MESSAGE FROM VICE-PRESIDENT ŠEFCOVIC

Dear Commissioner

We've just got this email from you and allow me to express my disappointment - you repeat what your services have been trying to tell parents without considering that we and our children know much better the EE system and its insufficiencies; that we are the ones who suffer with these insufficiencies and therefore… it's useless to explain to us that the Commission is not able to deal with them - we know this already.

We've seen for the last years, year after year, cuts in the EE budget without considering the objectives and the pedagogical needs of the system. This is not just a crisis issue - it was lack of commitment, interest and political will even before the international economic crisis.

EEs were presented, by leaders with a vision, as a unique model of European Education. And they were a unique model of education. The present Commission will stay for ever as responsible for the destruction of this model.

The system deteriorated year after year, but may be you are not aware of this: no books or any decent pedagogical material in a lot of sections, teachers working with no co-ordination under Directors with no powers and Inspectors with no budget or power; programmes that have not been revised for more then 20 years, incapacity to put together a common project or a consensus on content or material or methods; a Baccalauréat considered to be "unreliable" by external studies allowing therefore some Member States to decide not to recognize it; 27% of students kicked out of the system in the middle of the secondary, some of them obliged to go away from their parents, to boarding schools in their country of origin… in order to get 98% of success at the Bac as if this would proudly measure the systems' success (this seems to be the only figure you're Cabinet was aware of in recent discussions); one of the highest rates of failure and discriminatory situations between sections, creating discrimination in the access to universities… But do you really know what we are talking about? Do you think emails such as the one you've just send reassure parents who know the system?

We are now talking about budgetary cuts in a system where precedent cuts managed to get these schools to a level that you don't see any more in a lot of Member States ! It's a shame that you, as Commissioner responsible for the Schools and your services, go on talking as if you could still cut the budget or justify budget cuts proposed by Member states and manage to have an education system - you don't have an education system anymore.

What we, parents, had expected you to do is to show to Member states the importance of this unique model of education and that you would be able to show what the needs to achieve our education goals are. But of course, and despite several requests of parents representatives, you never did an independent study and you simply don't know the needs as you do not seem to even understand the existing problems. The Commission pays 59% of the total cost of the EEs but never checked the systems' performances and the services it gets. So how could you defend our unique education system or the families and students' interests and confront the Member states?

You should not send such emails to parents concerned with their children's future. Our priorities are obviously not the same.

Isabel, a disappointed colleague and parent

Chers collègues,

While I agree entirely with the objective of the demonstration, I am not convinced that a street protest will have any effect. Lobbying needs to take place of each Member State, not of the Council or of the Commission. The Council does not care; it has no citizens, and no children. Member States have both.

Might I suggest that it would be more useful for a delegation from APEEE and the Unions (all of them) to meet individually with each Permanent Representative, to be accompanied by his or her Finance Counsellor and Education attaché, where there is one? On the basis of an agreed speaking note?

And that it would make most sense to write to each Minister of Education at his office in the national capital, in his own language, making the same points?

"Manifestations" make participants feel good. Nothing more.

N.

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