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How can the #NextGeneration EU Recovery Fund really impact Europe’s youth?

18 December 2020

EU leaders endorsed last Thursday the Next Generation EU (NGEU) recovery instrument in order to put Europe on the track of economic recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. But is the € 750 billion budget allocation really going toward the next generation of Europeans as its name indicates?

In the words of the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, the aim of the NGEU recovery instrument is to "pave a strong path for our people and for the next generation [...] We are investing together in Europe's future". At Junior Achievement (JA) we believe that education of young people should be the priority in rebuilding our continent.

The JA network in Europe recently asked selected teachers1 across the continent about the situation at grass-roots level in schools. What resources are the teachers asking for? Are they hopeful about their students overcoming the challenges? Do they feel supported by their governments?

Here is what we found out:

Unsurprisingly, a huge majority of teachers are experiencing stress in their schools during 2020, and many are feeling isolated. Interestingly, more than 1/3 of teachers also see an opportunity to be engaged with change by doing things differently in schools. Compared to a similar survey by School Education Gateway titled “Survey on the start of the school year after school closures”, it seems that the teachers involved in the JA network implementing entrepreneurial learning methods have a more positive attitude towards the change and disruption in the school system than the average.

Almost all teachers in our survey saw a negative impact on the students’ performance as a consequence of school closures in 2020. More than 50 % of the European teachers surveyed find that there is not enough government support for education in the current context.

Where should money be allocated according to teachers? In our poll, teachers flagged the following priority improvement areas linked to digital learning in Europe: Internet availability, lack of IT hardware and teacher training. The educators of the next generation deserve to be heard!

Commenting on the teacher poll results, JA Europe Chairman Adam Warby said that "Junior Achievement calls for investment in education from both the public and private sectors in order to empower teachers across Europe", and added that "we cannot miss this historic opportunity to equip the next generation with the right skills for their future jobs".

To many, youth are the Covid Generation, to JA Europe they are #TomorrowsHeroes.

1. Teachers from 13 European countries took part in the survey in November 2020.

For more details about Junior Achievement teachers' poll, and the work of our network across Europe, please contact Minna MELLERI minna@jaeurope.org

About JA Europe

JA Europe is the largest non-profit in Europe dedicated to preparing young people for employment and entrepreneurship. JA Europe is a member of JA Worldwide® which for 100 years has delivered hands on, experiential learning in entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy. JA creates pathways for employability, job creation and financial success. Last school year, the JA network in Europe reached almost 4 million young people across 40 countries with the support of nearly 100,000 business volunteers and over 140,000 teachers/educators.

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