Commission: urgent reforms of education systems needed to meet Lisbon goals

On 11 November, the Commission adopted a Communication highlighting shortcomings in the reform of European training and education systems in the context of the Lisbon strategy.

On 11 November, the Commission adopted a Communication entitled “Education & training 2010: the success of the Lisbon strategy hinges on urgent reforms”. This Communication is a draft of the joint report on the implementation of the “Education and Training 2010” programme which will be presented to the Spring European Council in March 2004.

The Commission warns that if Member States do not introduce in-depth reforms of their education and training systems, the whole Lisbon strategy could be a failure. To avoid lagging behind the US and Japan, the Commission urges Member States to:

  • increase investment in human resources, both from the private and the public sector;
  • turn the concept of lifelong learning into a reality;
  • take measures against looming teacher shortages and make the teaching profession a more attractive career option.

The Commission asserts that the “Education and Training 2010” work programme agreed in 2001 must be given a higher priority by Member States and recommends that a mechanism for regular progress reporting be put in place by 2004.

In addition, the Commission calls on Member States to truly create a Europe of education and training, in particular by quickly putting in place a European reference framework for higher education and vocational training qualifications. The Commission considers that it is an essential step towards creating a genuine European labour market, facilitating mobility and raising Europe’s profile in the world.

 

Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Education and Culture, said: "So far, the reforms of education and training systems in the Member States are still falling short and are being implemented too slowly to enable the Union to attain the objectives which it has set itself. [...] It is time to move up a gear and translate political commitments into concrete action, for without education, Lisbon will fail”.

ESIB - The National Unions of Students in Europe considers that progress on the issue of investment into education and training systems is urgently needed.

 

As part of the Lisbon strategy adopted in March 2000, the European Union set itself the objective of making its education and training systems "a world reference for quality by 2010" and of making Europe "the first choice of students and researchers from the rest of the world".

In 2001, the European Council set three targets for EU education systems by 2010: quality, access and openness to the world. In 2002-2003, Education Ministers adopted a detailed work programme - “Education and Training 2010” - as well as benchmarks to attain the Lisbon objectives. (See

EURACTIV, 6 May 2003)

 

On 24-25 November, the Education Council will discuss its input for the joint report on the implementation of the “Education and Training 2010” programme which will be presented to the Spring European Council in March 2004.

 

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