Education and Youth Council : Improving Professional Training and Basic Skills

Article excerpt

In this period of economic crisis, the need to improve education and professional training was underlined by EU ministers, in the education and youth' section of the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council, on 19 November. Another important point highlighted was the need to increase the level of basic skills at school.


Priorities regarding EU cooperation in vocational education and training (VET) in the period 2011-2020, adopted by the Council, aim to create a more attractive, relevant, career-oriented, innovative, accessible and flexible European VET system than in 2010. They also establish the following strategic objectives: improving the quality and efficiency of VET; enhancing its attractiveness and relevance to the labour market; making lifelong learning and mobility a reality; enhancing creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship; and promoting social cohesion and active citizenship. An informal ministerial meeting devoted to VET will be held in Bruges, on 7 December.

In their conclusions, ministers welcome the Youth on the Move initiative, one of the seven flagship initiatives proposed in the framework of the Europe 2020' strategy. The Council specifies the principles for its implementation, such as close collaboration between the relevant policy areas and Council formations and full use of EU programmes and budgets. It notes that some of the measures proposed will have to be discussed using the relevant legislative procedures.

The Council adopted conclusions on increasing the level of basic skills in the context of EU cooperation on schools for the 21st century, which anticipates reducing the number of people with an inadequate level of basic skills (in reading, mathematics and science) to below 15% by 2020. Faced with deterioration in these levels, the Council affirms that more effective measures must be taken and highlights several areas where attention should be paid, including curriculum design, motivation for reading literacy and the impact of new technologies. …