Europe needs a radical rethink on how education and training systems can deliver the skills needed by the labour market. The challenge could not be tougher in the context of widespread austerity measures and cuts in education budgets.
Today, the European Commission is launching a new strategy called Rethinking Education to encourage Member States to take immediate action to ensure that young people develop the skills and competences needed by the labour market and to achieve their targets for growth and jobs.
This annual report provides data from 34 countries including 21 EU Member States on performance in education. It provides information on the state of play in education, including the financial and human resources invested, student-teacher ratios, teaching hours, graduate numbers and results, access, participation and progression in education as well as data on the learning environment and organisation of schools. New indicators focus on the effect of the global economic crisis on education expenditure and the impact of education on macroenonomic outcomes such as GDP.
EU Education Ministers have set a common goal to reduce the percentage of 15 year olds with low reading skills from the current level of 20% to 15% by 2020. To achieve the above goal, the European Commission established an independent High Level Group which included 11 special experts, chaired by Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, in order to analyse the available data and evaluate the most effective policies, in order to identify ways to achieve the common goal of improving literacy levels.
The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) is one of the seven education institutes of UNESCO. It has played an important role in 2011 in assisting Member States in the promotion of lifelong learning policies and practices, with a special focus on adult and continuing education. UIL made significant strides in advancing literacy as a foundation for lifelong learning and in monitoring the implementation of the Belem Framework for Action, which provides concrete guidelines for strategic action in harnessing the potential of adult learning and education in building a viable future for all.