European Commission report highlights need for investment in education

30 Oct 2013

The Education and Training Monitor for 2013, released today (30 October 2013), reveals some worrying trends for education and for the labour market. According to the report, sixteen EU Member States have decreased their spending on education between 2008 and 2011, with six showing further significant budget decreases in 2012.

European Commission report highlights need for investment in education

The annual Education and Training Monitor examines the evolution of Europe’s education and training systems. It takes into account various benchmarks and indicators but also recent studies and policy developments.

Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth describes the report as “invaluable” as it “allows Member States to compare themselves against others and encourages decision-makers to invest efficiently in modernising their education systems to improve quality and results. This is vital if we are to ensure that young people are equipped with the skills they need to succeed in life”.

However, the evidence points to a concerning reality that young people are not equipped. This year’s Monitor confirms a decrease in the employment rate of recent graduates with at least an upper secondary education qualification. The figures show that only 76% are now finding jobs compared with 82% in 2008.

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The outlook is not only bleak for young people. The Education and Training Monitor indicates that more needs to be done to increase and improve lifelong learning. The Commission notes that, “Adult participation in lifelong learning stands at less than 10% and is most prevalent among the young and highly educated, rather than those who need it most.”

What is of greatest concern to CESI, as a trade union representing the teaching profession in great numbers, is the impact of the decreased spending on the quality of education.  The results of the report highlight that “a rethink is needed on how to attract, recruit and educate the best candidates, in addition to ensuring they are supported in their professional development throughout their careers.”

This is an important topic to address not only in the education sector, but in the public sector at large, and is an issue which CESI has dealt with in great detail at its most recent symposium on the Public Sector in Europe: a first-rate employer acting in the general interest?

Commenting on the report, CESI President Romain Wolff said, “CESI will continue to campaign against reduced spending in education. The rhetoric needs to change. We need to see education as one of the most fundamental examples of investment, an investment not only at an individual level, but at societal level.”

The full report, as well as individual country reports, can be read here. Online visual tools are also available for Adult Lifelong Learning and Employment Rates.