The Education Council has adopted a strongly-worded report calling the Spring European Council to recognise the importance of reforms in education and training systems to reach the objectives set out in the Lisbon strategy.
The Education Council adopted a joint progress report from the Commission and the Council on the implementation of the work programme on 26 February 2004. The report titled “Education & training 2010 – the success of the Lisbon strategy hinges on urgent reforms” mirrors to a great extent the recommendations the Commission had presented in a November 2003 Communication (see
The report identifies three main levers for action in the education sector in order to reach the agreed goal of making education and training systems in Europe a world wide benchmark of quality by 2010:
- focus reform and investment on the key areas;
- make lifelong learning a concrete reality;
- establish a Europe of education and training.
The report emphasises that to make the European Union the leading knowledge-based economy in the world, there is an urgent need to invest more, and more efficiently and effectively in human resources. “Community funding, including the structural funds and the education and training programmes, should have an increasing role to play in supporting the development of human capital”, specifies the report.
Ministers agree that the pace of reforms of education and training systems should be accelerated as there are still many danger signals:
- too high rates of early school leavers;
- too few women in scientific and technological fields;
- nearly 20 percent of young people failing to acquire key competences;
- too few adults participating in lifelong learning;
- looming shortage of qualified teachers and trainers.