Report of the Secretary-General to the Board of Governors of the European Schools for the year 2015
The objective of the report is to provide the members of the Board of Governors and all our other stakeholders with consolidated facts and figures on the European School system as a whole and to inform it about the main developments which occurred in the different areas of activity of the General Secretariat and about the situation of the schools. All suggestions as to how to improve the quality or the content of the report are welcome.
The year 2015 was a very special one for the European Schools in many respects.
In the pedagogical field the secondary school curricula reform was discussed in all the forums. On the basis of the recommendations in the External Evaluation report produced by the Institute of Education, UCL (http://www.eursc.eu/getfile/2030/2), the Board of Governors endorsed the proposal to set up a ‘Pedagogical Reform’ Task Force in order to reflect on possible reform of the entire school system.
At its April meeting, the Board of Governors decided to approve the new marking scale for the secondary cycle with a view to its gradual entry into force as from the 2020 Baccalaureate session.
The Board of Governors decided to open new language sections in Brussels. In September 2016 an Estonian language section will open at Brussels IV and Latvian and Slovakian language sections will open at the Berkendael site.
From the administrative and financial perspective, the year 2015 marked a turning point. The new Financial Regulation entered into force on 1 January 2015 at the same time as the ‘GO LIVE’ of the new SAP accountancy software.
The Board of Governors gave a mandate to the Secretary-General to sign a Contribution Agreement on the financing of the Luxembourg I and Luxembourg II European Schools with the European Investment Bank, the European Investment Fund and the European Stability Mechanism. The Secretary-General is in the process of negotiating with other major stakeholders in order to set up similar types of contribution agreements in 2016.
Finally, the 2015-2016 school year will be remembered for the tragic attacks in Paris and in Brussels. Following those events, the Secretary-General requested Directors in all the European Schools to pay special attention to security measures and to raise the alert level in their schools. Thanks to the close and very professional support and guidance of the Commission’s Security Directorate, the Directors have been able to heighten security on their premises.
The mission of our Schools has always been to provide a broad education of high quality, from nursery level to university entrance, and to offer an opportunity for pupils to stay connected with their mother tongue, whilst being educated in a multilingual and multicultural environment, to become open-minded European citizens. I am convinced that with the pedagogical reform in progress, with implementation of a competence-based assessment system and with the newly approved teaching and learning standards we can carry out our mission and meet our ambitious objectives.
The European School family is growing every year. Next September the Berkendael School will open as an annexe to Brussels I. There is also great interest amongst many Member States in providing multilingual and multicultural education. I have been in contact with several Ministries of Education which firmly intend to open an Accredited European School in their territory in the near future. Two very different, but conceptually interesting new Accredited Schools will open next September, one in Luxembourg, the other in the Brussels Region. Both schools are still in the process of accreditation. The future of European schooling appears to be guaranteed.