On 23 June 2022, the European Commission organized the first Education and Innovation Summit, the event that brought together key actors from the world of Education and Innovation to share knowledge and inspiring experiences on innovative education practices and on building bridges between the education and higher education communities, and their surrounding innovation ecosystems. 4EU+ was represented by prof. Anna Wojtyś from the University of Warsaw, who participated in the session dedicated to the digital transformation of education through cross-sectoral cooperation.
The Education and Innovation Summit was, as the name suggests, much focused on the notion of "innovation" with the main questions concerning the ways it is to be achieved and the role of High Education Institutions in innovation. The idea of innovation is at the core of the New European Innovation Agenda, whose publication was announced at the summit. The event was also the occasion for the official launching of ENIHEI (the European Network of Innovative High Education Institutions), a group of 35 universities that are to work on the ideas how to implement the European Strategy - the 4EU+ Alliance is represented there by the University of Warsaw - and the European Digital Education Hub that is to ensure cross-sector collaboration and new models for the seamless exchange of digital learning content.
During both sessions, focused on inspiring innovation and responding to challenges, experts representing various institutions and countries underlined the importance of collaboration between HEI and external institutions. Such a collaboration is the key to ensuring that the graduates are prepared for the outside challenges and equipped with skills crucial for the job market, which is to be achieved a.o. via internships and the inclusion in the curricula classes developing soft skills. There is also a pressing need for adding a digital component to the process of education and in this way raising the level of students' digital skills. Yet another challenge is how to ensure interoperability between various institutions - interoperability which is understood not only as the cooperation between digital systems but also as the compatibility of educational and legal systems. The 4EU+ representative, Anna Wojtyś, participated in panel 2.2. Addressing the digital transformation of education through cross-sectoral cooperation. The discussion revolved around the role of HEIs in innovation. HEIs not only need to complement their curricula with courses developing key competencies and helping students realize innovative ideas but they should also provide lifelong learning activities. She presented the LLL activities organized by the Alliance and other HEIs and underlined the fact that universities are the only institutions prepared to offer education based on the results of interdisciplinary and multicultural research. In order for HEIs to be recognized as the main institutions providing flexible learning pathways for adults, the channels of communication between the universities and society must be improved and the idea of LLL promoted mostly via the introduction of a widely recognized system of micro-credentials with a quality seal.