Report on early school leaving and graduate education adopted by Commission (10 February)
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The joint EU Council-Commission report entitled 'Education and Training in a smart, sustainable and inclusive Europe' was adopted by the European Commission and EU Education Ministers on 10 February.
According to the report the European Union is at risk of missing its 2020 targets to reduce the number of early-school leavers and increase the share of students completing tertiary education.
Read the news item and access the complete report on the European Commission home page via the link above.
The report shows that quality education is a key factor in preventing unemployment, by providing young people with the skills and qualifications needed to find a job. Higher education and academic excellence have a vital role to play in increasing Europe's competitiveness and enabling it to emerge stronger from the crisis.
The joint report finds that Member States are making slow progress towards achieving their Europe 2020 target of reducing school drop-out rates below 10%. In 2010, the early school leaving rate averaged 14.1% across the EU compared to 14.4% the year before. There are considerable differences between the Member States, with Malta (virtually unchanged at 36.9%), Portugal (28.7%) and Spain (28.4%) having the highest rates, although both Portugal and Spain have improved on their 2009 figures (31.2% in both cases). The best performers continue to be Slovakia (4.7%), the Czech Republic (4.9%) and Slovenia (5%).
If current trends continue, the report states that the 2020 target will not be met.
The report also shows that achieving the EU's tertiary attainment target - raising the share of 30-34-year-olds who have graduated from the current EU average of 33.6 % to at least 40% - cannot be taken for granted. Seven Member States score below 25% (Romania, Malta, Italy, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria and Portugal). The best performers are Ireland (49.9%), Denmark (47%) and Luxembourg (46.1%).
On the positive side, the share of low-achievers in basic skills in reading, maths and science, 20% in 2009 compared to 24.1% in 2006, is on track for meeting the EU target of less than 15% by the end of the decade.