Partnerships with Central European Neighbors in the Field of Education

PoliticsInternational ♦ Published: March 7, 2023; 23:55 ♦ (Vindobona)

The Central European Cooperation in Education and Training (CECE) Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Hungary.

Austria Has Signed A New CECE Memorandum with the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and Hungary / Picture: © Bundeskanzleramt (BKA) / Florian Schrötter

On Austria's original initiative, the five neighboring countries have been cooperating in the field of education since 1997. Cooperation has been regulated at the organizational and substantive level by three Joint Memoranda of Understanding to date, in 2004, 2007, and 2012. To continue the cooperation, the fourth memorandum was signed between the ministries of education on March 7, 2023.

Federal Education Minister Martin Polaschek said, "It is an important concern of mine to continue the cooperation in partnership also during the coming years. Education is the best investment in the future of the region. We want to enable young people to participate in social and economic life and to help shape the future of Europe and the region. Regional cooperation also plays an important role in moving forward together against the backdrop of current challenges and crises."

According to the new memorandum, the regional exchange should focus in the future on the EU area (work programs of the presidencies, strategic framework of European educational cooperation, Erasmus+, etc.) and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Possible cooperation topics thus concern core aspects of the European Education Area such as digital education and competencies for the green transition, making the teaching profession more attractive, and equal opportunities in access to education. The Austrian Ministry of Education will take over the informal chairmanship of the regional initiative in 2023 and will invite the partner countries to a meeting at the Director General level in Vienna in the fall.

CECE promotes regional cooperation and the exchange of best practices between the participating education systems, thereby also providing additional impetus for national reforms.