Committee on Culture and Education – Study requested by CULT Committee, commissioned and managed by the Policy Department – ‘Education and Youth in post-COVID-19 Europe: Crisis effects and policy recommendations’ – Presentation by Loes van der Graaf and Hanna Siarova, PPMI Group

Brussels, 10 May 2021,

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The COVID-19 pandemic posed unprecedented and multidimensional challenges to the education systems and youth sector, revealing the lack of preparedness in terms of crisis management and digital education responses, as well as reinforcing structural weaknesses of education delivery. Given that various sectors of education and the youth sector faced distinct challenges, there are valuable lessons to be learnt from policy responses and best practices across Europe. The common goal should be to build more resilient education systems, which are responsive and adaptive to future crises.

A presentation of the study, organized by the EP’s Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies was held on 10 May 2021 and focused on the following issues:

  • Challenges related to education and youth on the Member State level: collaborative decision-making during crises; quality and accessibility of education; support for students and their families; funding and training;
  • Challenges related to EU education and youth programmes: framework for ad hoc actions and crises management; the EU and youth sector.

The debate that followed the expert’s presentation referred to, among others:

  • Positive aspects of distance learning (easier access to education, acquisition of new skills and competences);
  • Inequalities in access to digital facilities and need for defining quality standards in online education;
  • Effects of the pandemic on students’ well-being and mental health (loneliness, anxiety); increased risks of dropping out of school and role of cultural or sport associations to mitigate these risks;
  • Situation of young people having mental or physical disabilities in the context of the pandemic;
  • Negative effects of the pandemic on youth employment and need for putting forward good practices;
  • Insufficient consultation of youth organisations during the COVID-19 crisis and need to involve them further in the implementation of the recovery plan ‘Next Generation EU’ as well as in the ‘Conference on the Future of Europe’;


Watch video of the event (with multilingual interpretation):

Further reading: Education and Youth in post-COVID-19 Europe: Crisis effects and policy recommendations


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