Education ministers promise closer cooperation

Education Ministers from the countries of the European Union and from five countries in Central Asia met briefly in Riga Friday.

After a few hours of talks, the officials emerged to promise closer cooperation in future and issued a joint declaration that was full of good intentions but light on actual commitments.

The meeting brought together representatives from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Poland, the United Kingdom, Estonia, Spain and Sweden, and the European Commission Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development and the European External Action Service. 

The development of qualification frameworks and standards, quality assurance and accreditation, and employment and labor market needs will be the main areas of cooperation between the EU and Central Asian countries in the field of higher education and vocational education during the next two years would all be "priorities" a release said following the meeting.

The Ministers and high-level officials endorsed a Joint Communique on cooperation in higher education and vocational education and training, and adopted the Indicative Roadmap of Activities for the next two years.

”A country is as competitive as each one of its citizens. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have all gone through major education reforms while sharpening their competitiveness and bringing the world of education closer to the world of work. The EU has been glad to assist in this transformation process, and the Presidency has given a new impetus to this cooperation,” said Ms Mārīte Seile, the Latvian Minister for Education and Science.

State Secretary at the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Andrejs Pildegovičs said the development of relations between the EU and Central Asia had been "among the core priorities of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the EU."

The full communique can be read here.

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