Rethinking education - Investing in skills for better socio-economic outcomes


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Presentation by Elin McCallum (DG Education & Culture, European Commission) on the occasion of the EESC hearing on 'Rethinking Education' (Brussels, 5 Feb 2013)

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  • It is all about Education for Growth • The Rethinking Education Communication package sets out the policy priorities for education and training systems for the next years . • It pushes Member States for a renewed focus on: o The right skills to be delivered for the workplace o What reforms will increase efficiency and inclusiveness of education o With which resources and with whom should reforms be achieved • These priorities form an important contribution to this year's Annual Growth Survey . They relate to actions necessary to unlock the potential of education and training systems as drivers for growth and youth employment. • The package – communication and supporting documents is about helping Member States to make informed and evidence-based policies .
  • Why do we need to RETHINK education SLIDE 1 – Europe is confronted with serious long and short term challenges • Long-term: By 2020 the proportion of higher skilled jobs will have risen a third since 2000 . With the proportion of lower skills jobs dropping by a third during the same period. • Europe is also facing global challenges in education and training systems. The quality of education and supply of skills has increased worldwide The three largest emerging economies (Brazil, China, India), together already produce more STEM talent than three of the world’s largest developed economies (US, Japan, UK), claiming a higher percentage every year. • Europe must respond • Short-term: The youth unemployment rate at record levels across Europe and at the same time we have over 2 million unfilled job vacancies. The knowledge economy continues to increase demand for higher skills while over 70 million Europeans have only low or no formal qualifications. • This testifies to a serious weakness in European education and training systems. Briefly, we are letting down our youth and our adult workforce. And matters have been made worse as the economic downturn has led many Member States to cut funding for education and training.
  • SLIDE 2– Let’s start by looking at the headline targets Early school leaving stands at an average of 13.5%, with three countries over 20%. Over half of Member States are still above the 10% target, while three countries have rates above 20%, which is simply unacceptable. Early school leaving can lead to many other difficulties in life. Member States must focus on early childhood education and care as early intervention is crucial, as well as target actions to at risk groups such as those from a migrant background.
  • SLIDE 3 – Sustained efforts needed to increase tertiary attainment Though significant progress has been seen – Europe is now at 34.6%, up from 22.4% in 2000, only half of European Member States have so far achieved the 40% headline target on tertiary attainment .
  • SLIDE 4 – But even the basics are not being achieved Progress is being made but low achievement must be tackled even more urgently. Only four countries have achieved the European benchmark of 15% This graph masks worrying gender inequalities, with low achieving boys now close to twice the number of low achieving girls. Member States are called on to improve the early detection of low achievers and provide individualised support.
  • What skills for the workplace? Basic skills are the foundation. Transversal skills are about creating job-ready young people. SLIDE 5 Europeans are lacking in entrepreneurial spirit Entrepreneurial spirit is vital for Europe to be both innovative and creative at work, as well as for new business creation. In the recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, out of the 20 countries covered, only in 4 countries do more than half of the adult population believe they have the required skills and knowledge to start a business . All Member States should ensure that every student has at least one practical entrepreneurial experience by the time they school, as part of embedded entrepreneurship education in all disciplines and at all levels. This will be supported at EU level by policy guidance on entrepreneurship education to be published in July 2013, and the development of tools to assess progress including a self-assessment framework to encourage the development of entrepreneurial education institutions.
  • SLIDE 6 Language skills vary hugely across member states The relatively weak foreign language skills among secondary school pupils in Europe indicate a waste of teaching resources and severely hamper both employability and mobility. In the new European Survey on Language Competence, only 42% of young people tested were independent users in one foreign language , with the UK and France under 15%. There are shocking results for second language with an average of 25% and the UK, Poland and Sweden dropping below 10%. Member States are called up to improve the effectiveness of language learning and to make it relevant to the needs of the labour market. The Commission will enhance monitoring through the introduction of a new benchmark on language competences . The language benchmark is presented in the Staff Working Document on language competences for employability, mobility and growth.
  • SLIDE 7 - ICT Skills must be addressed urgently The ICT-skills in Europe still have to be substantially improved. There are still nine European countries where more than half the adult population have only low computer skills or none at all. Which reforms can bring the highest impact? Member States must scale up use of ICT-supported learning and access to high quality Open Educational Resources. Technology offers unprecedented opportunities to improve quality, access and equity in education and training, particularly for disadvantaged groups. Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning or research materials that are in the public domain or released with an intellectual property license that allows for free use, adaptation, and distribution. They represent a strategic opportunity to improve the quality and equity of education and they are starting to significantly change markets of education. To illustrate this, take the new Edx platform started by Harvard and MIT. Suddenly top university courses are not only available to a select few but to students all over the world, increasing the access to education. This creates more competitive pressures on local suppliers of education to improve their offering, thereby improving the quality of education. AT EU level, we are rapidly paving the way for a new European initiative on "Opening up Education" . This means that we are currently analysing the impact of providing EU support to increasing access and use of OER and ICT. The result of this major project will be presented next year.
  • SLIDE 8 - Promoting excellence in vocational education and training. Europe needs also world-class VET systems – in all countries. It must be a valued and integral part of the education system. Particularly the dual system involving work based learning . Countries who have highly developed dual systems tend to perform better in terms of youth employment Yet over half of MS have less than 50% learner engaged in VET. Member States are called on to develop excellence in VET, aligning delivery to match local labour market need , with strong involvement from business Short cycle two year qualifications in areas of skills shortage can target skills mismatches and make a real impact on employment
  • SLIDE 9 – But more work-based learning is needed Involvement in work-based learning varies from zero to over 90% , showing there is much to be done in this area. The Commission supports and welcomes the initiative by a six Ministers of Education to boost cooperation to increase both the quantity and quality of work-based learning. The first steps will be taken at a meeting of these education ministers in Berlin next month, signing a Memorandum of Cooperation in Vocational Education and paving the way for an EU-level Alliance for Apprenticeships to accelerate improvements in work-based learning.
  • SLIDE 10 – Teachers are a vital resource to improve education Over a third of teachers are due to retire within the next ten years. A completely new generation of teachers is needed in some member states. Teachers hold the key to our future success, Member States must invest to recruit retain and develop high quality teachers at all levels with the skills needed to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes young people need to succeed. (no slide) – Recognition At EU level, support will be given to improving the transparency and recognition of qualifications, through a European Area for Skills and Qualifications . Qualifications will be expressed in learning outcomes, which can facilitate the transition of learners to the labour market.
  • With which resources? SLIDE 11 – Funding is needed for these reforms In 2011-12, thirteen countries either froze or reduced salaries for teachers . While fiscal constraints are recognised, education is clearly acknowledged as a growth-friendly expenditure . Investment in education should be part of smart fiscal consolidation and the level of funding should be maintained. But implementation of the reforms needed will not be successful without increasing efficiency . We need more value for money. Member States should open up national deb ates on sustainable funding for education, and ensure money is channelled on those who tend to participate less . The Commission will support this with dialogue at EU level with relevant stakeholders, and monitoring how effective MS actions are in improving efficiency. Strong partnerships between the public and private sectors are needed to ensure the best possible match between supply and the needs of the labour market.
  • What is in this package? SLIDE 12 – The supporting evidence In times of austerity resources must be used efficiently. Today's communication and accompanying working documents provide examples of where investments in education are likely to yield the highest returns. The SWDs provide in depth analysis of the issues, offering evidence based policy proposals and case studies. They include: Education and Training Monitor Country analysis Key Competences Partnerships and flexible pathways for LL skills development Supporting the teaching professions Language competences for employability, mobility and growth Vocational Education and Training for better skills, growth and jobs
  • Rethinking education - Investing in skills for better socio-economic outcomes

    1. Rethinking EducationInvesting in skills for better socio-economic outcomes Elin McCallum DG Education & Culture Date: in 12 pts
    2. What qualifications will Europe need by 2020?
    3. Rates of Early School Leaving (ESL) mustimprove significantly to reach the 2020 targetSource: Eurostat (LFS 2011)
    4. Tertiary attainment targets can be reached, but will require a sustained effort EU 2020 target = 40%Source: Eurostat (LFS 2011)
    5. Basic skills levels are still lacking in many countries Percentage of low achievers in reading (15 year-olds, %), 2009 Source: OECD (PISA)
    6. Europe needs to be more entrepreneurial Percentage of individuals aged 18-64 who believe they have the required knowledge to start a business (2011)% of all individuals 18- 64 years oldSource: Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2011 Note: Italian result is from 2010
    7. Language skills must be improvedFirst foreign language: percentage of pupils who have reached the level of independent user (B1 or higher) Source: European Commission, 2012. First European Survey on Language Competences
    8. ICT skills levels vary greatly between countries % of individuals with low, medium and high computer skills (2011) Source: Eurostat, Information society Statistics, 2011
    9. Great diversity in Vocational Education and Training (VET)Distribution of upper secondary (ISCED 3) students by programme orientation (general or vocational). %, 2010 Source: Eurostat Database, UOE data collection, 2010
    10. Work-Based Learning is still an exceptionProportion of VET students enrolled in combined work- and school-based VET, as a % of all students in upper secondary VET (2010) Source: Cedefop, based on data from Eurostat, UOE
    11. Teachers are an ageing profession in most countries Age distribution of teachers in lower and upper secondary, 2010 Source: Eurostat, UOE; in Eurydice Key Data on Education, 2012
    12. There are financial constraints in the sector Evolution of teacher salaries compared with the previous year
    13. One Commission Communication, with seven accompanying Staff Working Documents:• Education and Training Monitor• Country analysis• Key Competences• Partnerships and flexible pathways for LL skills development• Supporting the teaching professions• Language competences for employability, mobility and growth• Vocational Education and Training for better skills, growth and jobs
    14. New Commission initiatives• Enhanced support to Member States – Monitoring of progress, OMC, ORCD collaboration…• European area of skills and qualifications• EU-level Alliance for Apprenticeships• Funding Education for Growth• Opening up Education – ICT and OER• A new language benchmark• Entrepreneurship education actions• Partnerships between Education, enterprises and research, promoted through new programme Erasmus 4 All
    15. For more information: