EU countries have improved their education systems in key areas over the past decade, but they have achieved only one out of five benchmarks set for 2010, the European Commission’s new progress report on education and training reveals.
The EU has succeeded in its target to increase the number of maths, science and technology graduates, with a 37% rise since 2000.
Significant, but insufficient, progress was made on reducing the school drop-out rate, increasing the number of pupils completing upper secondary education, improving reading literacy skills and increasing the share of adults participating in education or training.
The Europe 2020 jobs and growth strategy retains the target of reducing the school drop-out rate to under 10%, as well as increasing the share of graduates to at least 40%. In this context, Androulla Vassiliou, the Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said:
“The good news is that education levels in Europe have risen considerably. More young people complete secondary education and graduate from higher education compared to ten years ago.”
In addition, The Commissioner strongly urges Member States not to make cuts in education budgets despite the constraints they face due to the economic crisis. She mentioned that:
“Spending on education is a good investment for jobs and economic growth and in the long term pays for itself.”
The EU has already taken action to help member countries make the grade. In 2010 it launched Youth on the Move, an initiative to modernise education systems, promote student mobility and tackle youth unemployment. Early this year it launched separate plans to combat early school leaving and promote pre-primary education.
In the coming weeks, Member States will submit their national reform programmes to the Commission, in which they will set national targets on early school leaving and higher education graduates, spelling out how they want to achieve their goals. The Commission will soon present proposed new benchmarks on employability and learning mobility.
The full version of the Commission report: “Progress towards the Lisbon objectives in education and training – Indicators and benchmarks, 2010/11” is avialble on:
The progress reports webpage:http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/doc2881_en.htm
EU education report press release: