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Education Ministers (Meeting)

Volume 173: debated on Wednesday 6 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the outcome of the meeting of Education Ministers in Brussels on 31 May.

My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and I attended the meeting on 31 May of the Council and the Ministers of Education meeting within the Council. The Ministers adopted conclusions on meetings of senior officials in the education sector, on the treatment of equality of educational opportunity in the training of teachers, and on the preparation of a new convention for the European schools. The Ministers also adopted a resolution on the integration of children and young people with disabilities into ordinary systems of education. There were also discussions on education for enterprise and distance education and training.The conclusions relating to the European schools invite the commission to draft a new convention which would codify the existing statute and its amending instruments. The conclusions envisage that the draft convention should be finalised with a view to its adoption by the intergovernmental conference to be held before the end of 1991. Unanimity would be required for the adoption of a new convention, which would be subject to ratification by all of the member states. All the member states noted the possibility that the draft convention could incoporate a change in the voting arrangements on the board of governors of the European schools from unanimity to a qualified majority of two thirds, subject to the safeguarding of the specific interests of member states on whose territory European schools are situated. All the member states except the United Kingdom noted the possibility that the Community could become a contracting party to the agreement establishing the European schools alongside the member states. The Government favour the adoption of majority voting in the board of governors, but is not convinced that contracting party status for the Community is necessary or would bring any practical benefit to the management of the European schools.