Magazine article European Social Policy

Youth/education : Vassiliou Outlines Flagship Initiative

Magazine article European Social Policy

Youth/education : Vassiliou Outlines Flagship Initiative

Article excerpt

Speaking at the informal Education Council in Madrid, on 14 April, Education Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou gave a glimpse of her Youth on the Move' initiative. The new programme, planned for June 2010, is aimed at meeting the educational targets set in the Europe 2020' programme. There should be four lines of action for the initiative: attractiveness of higher education; high quality lifelong learning; transnational learning mobility; and young people's participation in society. The initiative should also have budgetary consequences as Vassiliou calls for increasing the number of participants in the various EU educational programmes from 370,000 to over one million. The commissioner thus talks of a new integrated programme for learning mobility under the next financial perspectives.

As for the attractiveness of higher education, Vassiliou repeats the bare facts. In the EU, less than one person in three (31.1%) aged 30-34 has a university degree. This compares to 40% in the US and over 50% in Japan. The EU must then increase the share of young people in higher or tertiary education. The Europe 2020' target on tertiary education attainment talks of at least 40% of the younger generation having a tertiary degree.

Vassiliou's second line of action focuses on building a strong basis for lifelong learning systems. The commissioner notes the need to reach out to a larger population than universities have traditionally been targeting. This must include students with a vocational education and training background as well as adult learners. …

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