Helsinki, 19 September 2006
The Ministry of Education and the National Board of Education will host an EU Presidency Conference entitled Lifelong learning, equity and efficiency in education 28th and 29th of September 2006. The conference will discuss the common challenges for education policies faced by EU Member States, resulting from diminishing age groups and economic pressures to provide education and training as efficiently as possible.
The conference will be opened by Antti Kalliomäki, Minister of Education. The plenary speakers are Odile Quintin, Director General, European Commission, Professor Andy Hargreaves, Boston College, Slavko Gaber, Member of the National Assembly of Slovenia and former Minister of Education, Barbara Ischinger, Director for Education, OECD, and Professor Pekka Himanen, University of Art and Design Helsinki. After the plenary sessions, the conference themes will be discussed in four parallel forums. Gaby Hostens, Director General for the Flemish Community Department of Education, Belgium, will present the results of the forums on the first day.
The conference will introduce the European Commission Communication Efficiency and Equity in European Education and Training Systems. Improving the quality and efficiency of education and education systems and the optimal use of resources are amongst the key objectives of the education and training contribution to the Lisbon Strategy, or Education and Training 2010 programme. The conference discussions will deal with the possibilities for European co-operation in order to attain the set objectives.
The venue of the two-day conference is Finlandia Hall. The conference is expected to be attended by 150 participants, representing EU ministries of education, the European Commission, relevant European organisations, EU Member States, application and accession countries, as well as EEA countries. The conference participants also include experts and scholars. The conference will be organised in collaboration with the European Commission.
Further information: Riitta Lampola, Head of International Relations, Finnish National Board of Education, tel. +358 9 774 77379, GSM +358 50 432 4739. Johanna Haahtela, EU Assistant, Ministry of Education, tel. +358 9 16077304, GSM +358 400 874135.