At their meeting on 14 February, Education Ministers adopted conclusions indicating how education and training can contribute to making Europe’s economy competitive and innovative.
The conclusions focus on two headline targets:
– reducing the proportion of early school leavers to less than 10%; and
– increasing the proportion of 30 to 34 year olds with a higher education diploma to at least 40%.
Various measures should be considered to tackle school drop-out rates, including ‘second chance’ education, more innovative teaching methods and individualised support, particularly for disadvantaged groups such as migrants and Roma.
Boosting the number of university graduates will require improved education systems, updated curricula and better governance. Higher education institutions should also be encouraged to establish partnerships with the business and research world and to open up to non-traditional learners.
The EU still faces considerable challenges in the field of education. A quarter of all pupils in the European Union have poor reading skills, while one in seven young people leave the school system too early. Fewer than one in three persons aged 25 to 34 have a university degree, compared to 40% in the US and over 50% in Japan.
Furthermore, about 80 million people only have low or basic skills. Yet by 2020, 16 million more jobs within the EU will require high qualifications, whereas there will be 12 million fewer low-skilled jobs. Also, the fact that people are now working longer is increasing the need for them to continue acquiring and developing new skills throughout their lives.
Conclusions are available here