Magazine article European Social Policy

Education : Ministers Discuss Dropouts and Youth on the Move'

Magazine article European Social Policy

Education : Ministers Discuss Dropouts and Youth on the Move'

Article excerpt

The Union's education ministers, meeting in Madrid on 13 and 14 April, debated how to reduce school dropout rates and increase participation in tertiary education. The ministers' agenda revolved around the role of education in the Europe 2020' strategy. Education Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou also detailed the new generation of EU educational programmes, notably the Youth on the Move' initiative that should be presented in June.

Vassiliou also urged ministers to meet two challenges in the run-up to the June European Council. These are ensuring that the EU fixes targets in the field of education as well as further pursuing a dialogue with member states on how they will achieve these goals. Officials point out that reaching the proposed target of 40% obtaining tertiary education by 2020 would mean an additional three million students over and above today's 11 million. Vassiliou reminded ministers that European education systems are still failing as one in seven leave school early and one in four have poor reading skills at the age of 15. In concrete terms, pushing the dropout rate down to under 10% would set an annual target, by 2020, of less than 6.6 million young people leaving school early, some two million less than today.

According to one source, though, failure to agree on targets has been difficult to understand. "It is very interesting that at European Council level it is not possible to agree to what has already been written down by education ministers," said the diplomat. …

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