Children to discuss future of education at international ministerial conference

Young people from around the world have been selected to take part in a two-day workshop to prepare themselves as junior advisors to European Ministers.

More than 15 children aged 13-15, from countries including Brazil, Egypt, India, Kenya, Austria, UK and Poland, will come together to discuss higher education in their country and how their ideas could be used to shape the future of education policy and practice.

The 2012 Ministerial Conference will be held in Bucharest from 26-27th April at the Romanian Palace of the Parliament. Ministers representing 47 countries will set out key policy issues for the future.

The delegation of children will be on hand both days, to offer advice to the ministers from their experiences of education. As one of the first officials to listen to their ideas, Austrian Federal Minister for Science and Research, Karlheinz Töchterle - supporter of Children’s Universities in Austria - will meet the “We are the future” delegation. at eye level.

The ‘We are the Future’ event, organized by the Vienna University Children’s Office, is part of SiS Catalyst, a £3.5 million European Mobilisation and Mutual Learning Initiative, coordinated by the University of Liverpool, to develop children’s ideas on new science and technology activities at schools, universities, and cultural organizations.

Tricia Jenkins, from the University of Liverpool and coordinator of the initiative, said “This is a very important conference where ministers are deciding how education will look in the future. We believe that it is crucial that young people are included in these deliberations. SiS Catalyst is providing an opportunity for a group of young people from around the world to have their voices heard. They are the future.”

Karoline Iber, from Vienna University Children’s Office, said: “We have been bringing together children, scientists and policy makers in Austria for over 10 years. Bucharest is a wonderful opportunity to invite European ministers to follow this example.”

The European Children's Universities Network is going to be very active at this unique possibility to listen to young people. 13 member organisations are going to send their delegates to the event.

SiS Catalyst is a consortium of more than 30 partners and advisors from across 23 countries working with universities, as well as education departments at country and regional level, to create new delivery and governance guidelines in science communication and outreach that will support institutions in developing projects for children with a strong focus on families with ‘non-traditional’ higher education backgrounds.

More information about the "We are the Future" event here.


The strategic objective of EUCU.NET is to consolidate the existing Children's Universities and enhance their further growth throughout Europe. Hereby it is intended to cement already existing procedures in order to successfully achieve the above aims. Furthermore, it is intended to increase interaction among member states and to extent existing practices in a professional and concerted manner.

EUCU.NET contributes to a substantial increase in scientific awareness among children and young people. It overcomes stereotypes and outdated notions about science in general and it changes the perceptions young people have about scientific careers in general possibly even creating new academic role models. All of which are inevitable prerequisites to fostering participation from children in all social sectors of society.


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More than 15 young people (including 13 from EUCU.NET member organisations) aged 13-15 are came together to express their thoughts on higher education. They will form an official delegation to the 2012 Ministerial Conference and Third Bologna Policy Forum in Bucharest, April 23rd - 27th 2012

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