Higher education must open to make the bes use of Europe's talent

“Europe urgently needs to address the social dimension of higher education more forcefully and coherently, particularly in view of the economic downturn”. This is the conclusion of a new Commission report looking at national policies on access to higher education, funding and student support. The report, covering EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Turkey, provides input for the Commission’s new strategy for the modernisation of higher education, to be launched on 20 September.

According to today’s report, countries need to adapt their higher education systems to meet the challenges resulting from rapid societal change. In particular, they need to open up opportunities for more people to benefit from higher education, matching this objective with coherent measures, funding and monitoring to evaluate their impact.

Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said: “We are failing to make the most of the talent available to us in Europe. Unless we change path, we will fall behind our global competitors. We need to widen access to higher education to the largest proportion of citizens possible, and it is vital that this objective is at the heart of our education goals.”

European leaders have set a target for 40% of 30-34 year olds to have a higher education qualification by 2020 – an increase from just over 33% today. The study, produced for the Commission by the Eurydice network, focuses on three key topics: policies to widen participation in higher education; funding trends; and the impact of student fee and support systems.

The study provides important information for the agenda on the modernisation of higher education which is being launched by the European Commission today, 20 September 2011.
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Find out more, including some of the results on: http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/11/1037&format=PDF&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

Find the report in full on: http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/documents/thematic_reports/131EN.pdf