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“The education system should enable children and young people to become agents of change” – Gabrielle Franck – QUEST

Gabrielle Franck is a Policy Officer for Quality Education in Europe for Sustainable Social Transformation (QUEST) , a European network that brings together civil society organisations, schools, universities and public bodies advocating for change in education and lifelong learning. Gabrielle focuses on representing the voice of these stakeholders to promote a sustainable, inclusive and democratic education system in Europe.

What does the change you are trying to achieve look like? Why is the EU important?

We want to see high-quality education in which children and young people become involved in what they want to learn. We are actively involved in their learning experiences and evaluation processes. Education should enable them to be agents of change, to participate and engage with their wider communities and to find solutions to societal problems. 

The EU is important because it makes recommendations on education to Member States even though each country remains in charge of its education system. We advocate across the EU to promote new ways of seeing children and young people as actors. Education is a long-term investment. Participation of learners can multiply social, environmental and digital transformations in the long run, by giving them the skills and the motivation to engage in their communities.

Which challenges are you facing?

Changing attitudes is our biggest challenge. Children and young people are still perceived as not mature enough to make decisions and influence their own lives. Most education systems rely on passive learning and don’t include courses on how to be a citizen, develop your own ideas, lead projects and express oneself.

In the field of education, experts and decision-makers are very accessible. However, visions on education at national level and at EU level are still very different.

One tip you want to share with other public interest advocates?

Networking brings visibility and opportunities at EU level, especially if you are a small organisation. Do not be afraid to ask questions and be part of new advocacy initiatives. Promoting your research and projects is important. It shows the legitimacy of your work.


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