Tag Archives: Education policy

A renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field

A renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Youth

A renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-18)

Document or Iniciative

Council Resolution of 27 November 2009 on a renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018) [Official Journal C 311 of 19.12.2009].

Summary

For Europe to attain the objectives regarding growth and jobs set by the Lisbon strategy, it is imperative that its young men and women are socially as well as professionally well integrated. Such integration also promotes young people’s personal fulfilment, social cohesion and active citizenship. However, young people still face challenges in terms of employment, education and training, poverty, health, and participation and democratic representation. Therefore, a renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field has been designed to provide better opportunities for Europe’s young people.

This renewed framework is based on the Commission’s communication of April 2009 on the new European Union (EU) Youth Strategy. It aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of European cooperation by establishing a strategy for the next decade that builds on the progress made and lessons learned under the previous framework.

European cooperation in the youth field during 2010-18

European cooperation in the youth field during 2010-18 is motivated by two interrelated objectives:

  • the creation of more and equal opportunities in education and the labour market;
  • the promotion of active citizenship, social inclusion and solidarity.

To this end, specific initiatives targeting young people and mainstreaming initiatives to incorporate youth issues into other policy areas are developed and promoted. The renewed framework outlines eight fields of action in which cross-sectoral initiatives to support young people should be taken:

  • education and training;
  • employment and entrepreneurship;
  • health and well-being;
  • participation;
  • voluntary activities;
  • social inclusion;
  • youth and the world;
  • creativity and culture.

European cooperation in the youth field must uphold a number of guiding principles, particularly:

  • promote gender equality;
  • combat all forms of discrimination;
  • consider differences between young people, especially in terms of disadvantage;
  • provide for the participation of young people in policy-making.

European cooperation should be evidence-based, relevant and concrete with clear and visible results that are regularly presented, reviewed and disseminated. It should be applied through a renewed framework of open method of coordination. This requires political commitment from EU countries and working methods based on:

  • a series of 3-year work cycles (the first cycle covers the years 2010-12);
  • an overall thematic priority for each trio presidency and specific priorities for each presidency country contributing to the overall thematic priority (the priorities for the period from 2010 to mid-2011 are set out in the annex to the resolution);
  • implementation instruments (knowledge building, mutual learning, progress reporting, dissemination of results, monitoring of the process, dialogue with young people, mobilisation of EU programmes and funds).

Within this renewed framework for European cooperation, the role of youth work must be strengthened. It should be supported and recognised for its social as well as economic contribution. The discussion should focus on the training, recognition of skills and mobility of youth workers and leaders, as well as on the promotion of innovative solutions in youth work.

Role of EU countries and the Commission

EU countries are called upon to work together on the basis of this resolution, with a view to improving European cooperation in the youth field. They should adopt national level measures that contribute to achieving the objectives set for this cooperation.

The Commission is invited to work with EU countries as well as to support their cooperation within the framework. The Commission should monitor the achievement of the objectives, in relation to which it should establish a working group to review data on the situation of young people and evaluate the need to develop new indicators for fields related to youth. The Commission should also propose peer-learning activities and initiate relevant studies.

Background

Established in June 2002, the framework for European cooperation in the youth field provided for the application of the open method of coordination in this context as well as for the mainstreaming of youth issues into other relevant policy areas. The European Youth Pact was adopted in March 2005 to contribute to reaching the objectives of growth and jobs of the Lisbon strategy. The renewed social agenda of July 2008 established children and youth as one of its main priority areas for action.

Promoting young people's initiative, enterprise and creativity

Promoting young people’s initiative, enterprise and creativity

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Promoting young people’s initiative, enterprise and creativity

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Youth

Promoting young people’s initiative, enterprise and creativity

Document or Iniciative

Resolution of the Council and of the representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council of 28 June 2001 on promoting young people’s initiative, enterprise and creativity: from exclusion to empowerment [Official Journal C 196 of 12 July 2001].

Summary

Involvement of the Commission and the Member States

This resolution invites the Commission:

  • to associate young people in the preparation of Community cooperation policy geared to youth, education and training;
  • to ensure that the “youth” dimension is taken into account in Community activities;
  • to take stock of the experience gained from the Youth programme;
  • to take the “youth” dimension into account in devising new strategies for lifelong learning.

This resolution invites the Member States:

  • to encourage young people’s initiative, enterprise and creativity in all fields;
  • to provide young people with better information about the opportunities and support available;
  • to promote pupil participation, initiative and creativity for active citizenship;
  • to promote student participation in higher education, in vocational training and in research;
  • to take note of young people’s initiative, enterprise and creativity in devising innovative methods of teaching and learning;
  • to integrate young people’s initiative, enterprise and creativity into practical employment-oriented measures;
  • to promote the sharing of good practice.

This resolution invites the Commission and Member States:

  • to integrate young people’s initiative, enterprise and creativity in combating social exclusion;
  • to encourage young people’s initiative and creativity in combating racism, xenophobia and intolerance;
  • to promote dissemination of best practice;
  • to encourage young people’s initiative, enterprise and creativity as a driving force for employment policy;
  • to take stock of the experience gained from the Socrates and Leonardo programmes in order to make the most of young people’s initiative and creativity;
  • to promote research and sharing of experience;
  • to develop young people’s initiative, enterprise and creativity through non-formal learning;
  • to promote cooperation between the Member States, the Commission and international organisations;
  • to clarify how young people’s initiative, enterprise and creativity are put to use as a resource;
  • to educate young people as critical consumers and practitioners in sectors such as music, film and other creative industries.

Context

Many Community initiatives have been launched to encourage young people’s initiative, enterprise and creativity, most of them stemming from education and training policy (e.g. the Youth and Youth for Europe programmes, the resolution on the social inclusion of young people, the resolution on youth participation, the memorandum on lifelong learning) and employment policy (e.g. the multiannual programme for enterprise and entrepreneurship, and the guidelines for employment).

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social committee and the Committee of the Regions – Implementing the Community Lisbon Programme: Fostering entrepreneurial mindsets through education and learning

Council Decision 2001/63/ECof 19 January 2001 on guidelines for Member States’ employment policies for the year 2001 [Official Journal L 022 of 24.01.2001].

Council Decision 2000/819/EC of 20 December 2000 on a multiannual programme for enterprise and entrepreneurship, and in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) (2001-2005) [Official Journal L 333 of 29.12.2000].

 

Framework of European cooperation in the youth field

Framework of European cooperation in the youth field

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Framework of European cooperation in the youth field

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Youth

Framework of European cooperation in the youth field

Document or Iniciative

Resolution of the Council and of the representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council of 27 June 2002 regarding the framework of European cooperation in the youth field [Official Journal C 168 of 13.7.2002].

Summary

Adopting the White Paper “A new impetus for European youth”, the Commission suggested a new framework of European cooperation in the youth field, comprising two strands: firstly, the application of the open method of coordination and, secondly, taking greater account of the “youth” dimension in other policies. This resolution follows on from this White Paper by setting the priorities and the timetable for the European Union’s (EU) work up until 2004 in the field of “youth”.

For cooperation based on the open method of coordination

In the updated cooperation framework, based in particular on the open method of coordination, the Council is proposing four priority themes:

  • encouraging young people’s participation in the exercise of active citizenship and civil society. This means supporting the work of youth associations and other forms of active participation in order to improve young people’s participation and social cohesion. The exchange of good practices is essential here;
  • enhancing the information addressed to young people and existing information services for young people (successive reports deal with participation and information together);
  • promoting voluntary activities among young people. Making it easier for young people to find voluntary work so as to develop their sense of responsibility and citizenship and their active participation in society. Public authorities, businesses and civil society are called on to recognise the value of voluntary work so as to improve young people’s opportunities on the labour market;
  • encouraging greater understanding and knowledge of youth. This comprises, in particular, the compilation of studies on youth matters and the networking of research structures.

On the basis of these four priorities, the Commission will be sending targeted questionnaires to EU countries from July 2002 onwards. EU countries’ answers should be based on consultation with young people, youth associations and, where applicable, national youth councils or similar organisations. The Commission will then draw up reports in order to identify good practices of common interest for EU countries and proposals for common objectives to be adopted by the Council.

For their part, EU countries are called on to implement the measures they judge appropriate in order to achieve the common objectives set by the Council.

Taking greater account of the “youth” dimension in other policies

The Council calls on the Commission and EU countries to give the “youth” dimension greater priority in other policies and programmes. The Council, in cooperation with the Commission, reserves the right to add to the priority areas stated in the White Paper (education and lifelong learning, mobility, employment and social integration, combating racism and xenophobia and other priorities).

UPDATED FRAMEWORK FOR COOPERATION

The new framework for cooperation is updated by the resolution adopted by the Council on 24 November 2005. This framework for cooperation comprises three strands:

Promoting active citizenship among young people

The open method of coordination in the field of youth allows EU countries to cooperate with a view to sharing best practice on participation by young people, information for young people, voluntary activities and a greater knowledge of the field of youth, while respecting the areas of responsibility set out in the Treaties.

The European Pact for Youth

The European Pact highlights youth issues in key areas of the Lisbon partnership for growth and jobs, particularly in relation to young people’s access to the labour market, development of their creativity and the acquisition of entrepreneurial skills. The European Pact also highlights skills acquired through high-quality, relevant education, training and mobility experiences in the formal as well as the non-formal sector, and reconciliation of working life and family life.

Incorporating a youth dimension

Incorporating a youth dimension in other European policies will concern in particular anti-discrimination, healthy lifestyles, including sport, and research on youth issues.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission to the Council of 25 October 2004 – Follow-up to the White Paper on a New Impetus for European Youth: evaluation of activities conducted in the framework of European cooperation in the youth field [COM(2004) 694 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Youth in Action

Youth in Action

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Youth in Action

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Youth

Youth in Action (2007-13)

Document or Iniciative

Decision No 1719/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2006 establishing the Youth in Action programme for the period 2007 to 2013 [See amending act(s)].

Summary

The Youth in Action programme for the period 2007 to 2013 aims to pursue and strengthen European Union (EU) action and cooperation under the Youth action programme (2000-06) and the programme to promote bodies active in the youth field (2004-06). With a view to involving young people in society as active citizens, the programme is intended to strengthen their sense of belonging to Europe. It also aims to contribute to quality education and training in the broader sense and help young people develop a sense of solidarity and mutual understanding.

Objectives

The programme has five general objectives that complement EU activities (training, culture, sport or employment) and contribute to the development of EU policies (cultural diversity, social cohesion, sustainable development and anti-discrimination). Each of these general objectives is subdivided into specific objectives.

The general objective to promote young people’s active citizenship, which also involves promoting their European citizenship, is made up of ten specific objectives:

  • giving young people and the organisations that represent them the opportunity to take part in the development of society and of the EU;
  • developing a sense of belonging to the EU;
  • encouraging the participation of young people in the democratic life of Europe;
  • fostering young people’s mobility in Europe;
  • developing intercultural learning;
  • promoting the fundamental values of the EU;
  • encouraging initiative, enterprise and creativity;
  • facilitating participation in the programme by young people with fewer opportunities, including young people with disabilities;
  • ensuring that the principle of equality between men and women is respected in selecting the participants for the programme and that gender equality is fostered in the actions;
  • providing non-formal and informal learning opportunities with a European dimension and opening up innovative opportunities in connection with active citizenship.

The general objective to develop solidarity among young people aims to promote tolerance and thus reinforce social cohesion by means of two specific objectives:

  • giving young people the opportunity to express their personal commitment through voluntary activities at European and international level;
  • involving young people in EU solidarity actions.

The general objective to foster mutual understanding between young people in different countries includes three specific objectives:

  • developing exchanges and intercultural dialogue between young people in the EU and in neighbouring countries;
  • promoting the quality of national support structures for young people and the role of persons and organisations active in youth work;
  • developing transnational thematic cooperation projects involving young people and those active in youth work.

The general objective to develop the quality of support systems for youth activities and the capabilities of civil society organisations in the youth field aims to:

  • contribute to the networking of organisations;
  • develop the training of, and collaboration between, those active in youth work;
  • promote innovation in the development of activities for young people;
  • improve information for young people, including the access of young people with disabilities to this information;
  • support long-term youth projects and initiatives of regional and local bodies;
  • facilitate the recognition of young people’s acquired skills;
  • promote the exchange of good practices.

The general objective to promote European cooperation in the youth field takes due account of local and regional aspects and is made up of four specific objectives:

  • encouraging the exchange of good practices and cooperation between administrations and policymakers;
  • encouraging structured dialogue between policymakers and young people;
  • improving knowledge and understanding of youth;
  • contributing to the cooperation between various national and international youth voluntary activities.

Actions

The five actions contained in the programme aim to implement its general and specific objectives. These actions support small-scale projects promoting the active participation of young people, while ensuring the European visibility and impact of projects. These projects are local, regional, national or international, including the networking of similar projects in different participating countries.

The “Youth for Europe” action mainly seeks to strengthen exchanges between young people with a view to fostering their mobility, whilst reinforcing their feeling of being European citizens. The emphasis is placed on participation by young people, whether this is in projects to develop awareness of social and cultural diversity and mutual understanding or to reinforce participation at a linguistic and intercultural level. These exchanges are based on transnational partnerships.

This action also aims to encourage young people to come up with their own projects, thus supporting their initiative, enterprise and creativity.

The participative democracy projects promoting citizenship and mutual understanding also fall within the scope of this action. They support the involvement of young people at local, regional, national or international level, as well as projects and activities based on international partnerships for the exchange of ideas, experiences and good practices at European level on projects at local and regional level.

The “European Voluntary Service” action aims to strengthen young people’s participation in various forms of voluntary activities, both within and outside the EU, with a view to developing solidarity and promoting active citizenship and mutual understanding among young people.

This action supports:

  • young volunteers who take part in a non-profit, unpaid activity to the benefit of the general public in any country other than their country of residence for a period of two to twelve months;
  • volunteer projects involving groups of young people who take part in activities at local, regional, national, European or international level, in fields such as culture, sport, civil protection, the environment and development aid;
  • activities for the training and tutoring of young volunteers and coordination activities for the various partners, as well as initiatives that aim to build on experience gained by young people during European Voluntary Service.

The action covers the volunteers’ expenses, insurance, subsistence and travel, as well as an additional allowance for young people with fewer opportunities where appropriate.

EU countries and the Commission ensure compliance with quality standards, including a non-formal education dimension (activities to prepare young people at a personal, intercultural and technical level and ongoing personal support), the substance of the partnerships and risk prevention.

The “Youth of the world” action contributes to the development of young people’s mutual understanding and active engagement through an open-minded approach to the world. The aim of this action is to support projects conducted with non-EU countries that have signed agreements with the EU relevant to the youth field, such as exchanges of young people and persons and organisations active in youth work. It also supports initiatives that reinforce young people’s mutual understanding, sense of solidarity and tolerance, as well as cooperation in the field of youth and civil society in these countries.

The programme distinguishes projects conducted with the neighbouring countries (European neighbourhood policy (ENP) partner countries, Russia and western Balkan countries) from those conducted with other non-EU countries. Preference is given to the exchange of ideas and good practices, the development of partnerships and networks and the development of civil society.

The “Youth support systems” action supports:

  • bodies active at European level: non-governmental organisations (NGOs) pursuing a goal of general European interest and involved in the active participation of young people in public life and society and in the implementation of European cooperation activities in this field;
  • the European Youth Forum and its activities in representing youth organisations vis-à-vis the EU, its function as an information relay to young people or its contribution to the new cooperation framework in the youth field. The annual resources allocated to the Forum shall not be less than EUR 2 million even though at least 20 % of its budget must be covered by non-EU sources;
  • training and networking of those active in youth work, such as project leaders and youth advisers. The support may cover, for example, the exchange of experiences and good practices or the activities of long-lasting, high quality partnerships and networks;
  • projects encouraging innovation and quality, as well as innovative approaches in this field;
  • information activities for young people and persons and organisations active in youth work, such as those improving their access to relevant information and communication services. These may be European, national, regional and local youth portals or measures that promote the involvement of young people in the preparation and dissemination of understandable, user-friendly and targeted information products and advice;
  • partnerships with regional or local bodies whose funding focuses on projects and coordination activities;
  • support for the structures implementing the programme: the national agencies or assimilated bodies (national coordinators, Eurodesk network, Euro-Mediterranean Youth Platform, associations of young European volunteers, etc.);
  • adding value to the programme and its implementation by the Commission through the organisation of events (seminars, colloquia, etc.) or information actions.

The “Support for European cooperation in the youth field” action aims to organise structured dialogue between the various actors in the field of youth, i.e. young people themselves, persons and organisations active in this sector and policymakers. The activities may cover:

  • the promotion of cooperation and exchanges of ideas and good practices and the development of the networks necessary to a better understanding and knowledge of youth;
  • the organisation of conferences by the EU Presidencies and of the European Youth Week and support for objectives in the field of youth through the open method of coordination (OMC) and the European Youth Pact;
  • cooperation between national and international youth voluntary activities;
  • seminars on social, cultural and political issues for young people;
  • the development of political cooperation and cooperation by the EU with other international organisations (the Council of Europe, the United Nations, etc.).

Implementation

The programme is intended for non-profit projects for young people, groups of young people and persons and organisations active in youth work. In principle, it is aimed at young people aged from 15 to 28 (under certain conditions from 13 to 30).

The programme is open to EU countries, European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries that are members of the European Economic Area (EEA), EU candidate countries, countries of the western Balkans, Switzerland (subject to the conclusion of a bilateral agreement) and non-EU countries (or partner countries) that have signed cooperation agreements with the EU relevant to the youth field. It is also open to cooperation with international organisations operating in this field, such as the Council of Europe.

The programme’s budget for the period 2007-13 is € 885 million.

The Commission and the participating countries implementing the programme shall make provision for the necessary structures at European, national and, if required, regional or local level. In this respect, the Commission shall be assisted by a management committee made up of representatives of EU countries and chaired by a Commission representative. Most of the implementation measures must be adopted in accordance to the management procedure. Only decisions regarding the awarding of small grants, which do not involve sensitive decision-making, shall not be adopted in comitology. The programme is mainly managed on a decentralised basis by independent national agencies that must comply with the rules of sound financial management and be subject to audits and financial inspections. However, the centralised projects are managed by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency.

In addition, the Commission and the participating countries shall take appropriate measures to encourage the recognition of non-formal and informal learning of young people (documents, certificates, etc.) and of the experience gained through the programme.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision No 1719/2006/EC

14.12.2006 – 31.12.2013

OJ L 327, 24.11.2006

Amending act(s) Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision No 1349/2008/EC

25.12.2008 – 31.12.2013

OJ L 348, 24.12.2008

Successive amendments and corrections to Decision No 1719/2006/EC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated versionis for reference purposes only.

Related Acts

Commission Report to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 20 April 2011 – Interim evaluation of the ‘Youth in Action’ Programme [COM(2011) 220 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Council Decision 2011/82/EU of 31 January 2011 on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Union and the Swiss Confederation establishing the terms and conditions for the participation of the Swiss Confederation in the ‘Youth in Action’ programme and in the action programme in the field of lifelong learning (2007 to 2013) [Official Journal L 32 of 8.2.2011].

Resolution of the Council and of the Representative of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council, on youth work [Official Journal C 327 of 4.12.2010].

European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET

European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Vocational training

European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET

Document or Iniciative

Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2009 on the establishment of a European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for Vocational Education and Training [Official Journal C 155 of 8.7.2009].

Summary

The European Quality Assurance Reference Framework is a new reference instrument to help authorities of Member States promote and monitor the improvement of their systems of vocational education and training (VET).

Quality assurance can be used as a systematic approach to modernising education systems, especially by improving the effectiveness of training. Therefore, it should underpin every policy initiative in VET.

Member States are invited to develop and use this instrument on a voluntary basis. The main users of the reference framework will be national and regional authorities as well as public and private bodies responsible for ensuring and improving the quality of VET.

Implementation

As a reference instrument, the framework makes methodological suggestions that will help Member States to assess clearly and consistently whether the measures necessary for improving the quality of their VET systems have been implemented and whether they need to be reviewed.

The methodology proposed by the framework is based on:

  • a cycle consisting of four phases (planning, implementation, assessment and review) described for VET providers/systems;
  • quality criteria and indicative descriptors for each phase of the cycle (Annex I);
  • common indicators for assessing targets, methods, procedures and training results – some indicators are to be based on statistical data, others are of a qualitative nature (Annex II).

The recommendation stresses a culture of quality improvement and responsibility at all levels, i.e. at the VET-system, VET-provider and qualification-awarding levels. The European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET attaches importance to systematic self-assessment. It includes internal and external assessment mechanisms that are to be defined by Member States. This will allow feedback on the progress achieved.

Drawing on the framework, Member States should develop approaches for improving their national quality assurance systems by 18 June 2011 at the latest. All relevant stakeholders should be involved in this development work.

European network for quality assurance

The recommendation encourages Member States to participate actively in the European network for quality assurance in VET, using it as a basis for further development of common principles and tools for quality improvement in VET at national, regional and local levels.

The recommendation also encourages Member States to designate Quality Assurance National Reference Points for VET, to bring together competent bodies and involve all relevant players at national and regional levels. These reference points will promote the active and practical development of the framework at the national level, support Member States’ self-evaluation as well as the Network’s work, and disseminate the related information to all relevant stakeholders.

Background

The European Quality Assurance Reference Framework for VET belongs to a series of European initiatives that encourage mobility. It will promote the implementation of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) and the European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET).

The recommendation responds to the resolutions of the 2002 Barcelona European Council, which set the target of making Europe’s education and training systems a benchmark for the world by 2010. It is also in line with the Copenhagen process, which concerns re-launching cooperation in vocational education and training.

 

Improving the quality of teacher education

Improving the quality of teacher education

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Improving the quality of teacher education

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Lifelong learning

Improving the quality of teacher education

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 3 August 2007 ‘Improving the Quality of Teacher Education’ [COM(2007) 392 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The quality of teaching is a key factor in the achievement of the Lisbon objectives for social cohesion, growth and economic competitiveness.

The teaching workforce must be capable of providing high quality teaching in order to enable EU citizens to acquire the knowledge and skills which they will need in their personal and professional lives.

Necessary skills

Existing investment in the continuing training and development of the teaching workforce is not sufficient. There is no Member State in which the minimum duration of training exceeds five days per year. Although participation in continuing training is compulsory for teachers in 11 Member States, teachers’ rate of participation in such training is too low to achieve a continuous level of development among teachers.

The teacher training systems currently in place in the Member States do not promote the acquisition of the new teaching skills which have been made necessary by the changes in education and in society in general.

Although teachers are required to impart basic knowledge, they are also called upon to ensure, among other things, that:

  • each learner’s specific needs are taken into account;
  • pupils become autonomous lifelong learners;
  • all young people acquire key skills;
  • teaching is adapted to a multicultural environment;
  • new technologies are used.

Joint action framework

The teaching profession has characteristics in common across the EU. It is therefore possible to arrive at a shared vision of the kinds of skills which teachers require, and to do so on the basis of certain principles.

The Commission is therefore proposing to the Member States a package of guidelines with a view to developing measures which seek to:

  • ensure that the arrangements in place for initial and continuing teacher training are well coordinated within a coherent system which receives sufficient resources;
  • ensure that teachers have the full range of subject knowledge, attitudes and pedagogic skills to be able to help young people to reach their full potential;
  • promote the status and recognition of the teaching profession;
  • create teacher training programmes at Master’s and doctorate level (and at Bachelor’s level);
  • encourage the practice of reflection and research by those in the profession;
  • investigate whether the level of qualifications and degree of practical experience required by a teaching post should be increased.

The Commission plans to take the following steps in order to support the Member States in their efforts to reform their teacher training systems:

  • ensure that its action programmes support the Member States in their efforts to improve the organisation and content of the teacher training system;
  • develop indicators in this field;
  • help to create and disseminate new knowledge in the teaching sector and in teacher education.

The Commission plans to measure the improvement in the quality of teacher education as part of the work programme ‘Education and Training 2010’.

Context

The programme ‘Lifelong Learning (2007-2013)’ promotes teacher mobility (Socrates and Leonardo da Vinci programmes) and helps to establish cooperation projects between teacher training establishments.

 

European Qualifications Framework

European Qualifications Framework

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Qualifications Framework

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Vocational training

European Qualifications Framework

Document or Iniciative

Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2008 on the establishment of the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning [Official Journal C 111, 6.5.2008].

Summary

Member States are called upon to create links between the national qualifications systems * and the European Qualifications Framework (EQF).

By making competences and qualifications more transparent, the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) is an instrument for the promotion of lifelong learning.

This framework covers both higher education and vocational training. It will make it easier for individuals in the EU to communicate the relevant information concerning their competences and their qualifications.

Increasing the transparency of qualifications * will enable individual citizens to judge the relative value of qualifications and improve employers’ ability to judge the profile, content and relevance of the qualifications in the labour market. Education and training providers will also be able to compare the profile and content of their courses and ensure their quality.

The adoption of the EQF will increase the mobility of workers and students. The EQF will allow workers to be mobile and at the same time to have their qualifications recognised outside their own country. This tool will facilitate the transition from work to training and vice versa, on a lifelong basis.

Operation and implementation

The EQF is a tool based on learning outcomes rather than on the duration of studies. The main reference level descriptors are:

  • skills *;
  • competences *;
  • knowledge.

The core element of the EQF is a set of eight reference levels describing:

  • what the learner knows;
  • what the learner understands;
  • what the learner is able to do, regardless of the system under which a particular qualification was awarded.

Unlike systems which guarantee academic recognition based on the duration of studies, the EQF covers learning as a whole, in particular learning which takes place outside formal education and training institutions.

In 2010 a system for comparing the national systems and the European framework is to be established in all participating States. In 2012, all new qualifications issued by EU post-secondary institutions will automatically refer to one of the EQF’s eight qualification levels.

General tool for cooperation

The EQF is not designed to replace national qualifications systems but to supplement the actions of the Member States by facilitating cooperation between them. This European initiative is based on national qualifications frameworks, although these are themselves not based on any single model.

To implement this shared framework for cooperation between Member States, the Commission emphasises the necessary mutual trust and the level of commitment of the various stakeholders at national, regional and sectoral levels.

The Commission also proposes to designate a national centre to coordinate the relationship between the national qualifications system and the EQF by establishing, by April 2009, an EQF advisory group, composed of representatives of the Member States and involving the European social partners and other stakeholders.

The EQF should also help international sectoral organisations * to bring their own qualifications systems into line with this system shared by the Member States.

Background

The Bologna Declaration of June 1999 promoted mobility and transparency in the European Union (EU) in the field of education. Following the achievements of the Bologna Process in higher education, similar action can now be taken which also covers vocational training.

The EQF meets one of the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy for employment with a view to the transition to a knowledge society. More specifically, it is designed to implement the work programme “Education & Training 2010”.

Key terms in the act
  • “National qualifications system” means all aspects of a Member State’s activity related to the recognition of learning and other mechanisms that link education and training to the labour market and civil society. This includes the development and implementation of institutional arrangements and processes relating to quality assurance, assessment and the award of qualifications. A national qualifications system may be composed of several subsystems and may include a national qualifications framework.
  • “Qualification” means a formal outcome of an assessment and validation process which is obtained when a competent body determines that an individual has achieved learning outcomes to given standards.
  • “Skills” means the ability to apply knowledge and use know-how to complete tasks and solve problems. In the context of the European Qualifications Framework, skills are described as cognitive (involving the use of logical, intuitive and creative thinking) or practical (involving manual dexterity and the use of methods, materials, tools and instruments).
  • “Competence” means the proven ability to use knowledge, skills and personal, social and/or methodological abilities, in work or study situations and in professional and personal development. In the context of the European Qualifications Framework, competence is described in terms of responsibility and autonomy.
  • “International sectoral organisation” means an association of national organisations, including, for example, employers and professional bodies, which represents the interests of national sectors.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Recommendation of 23.4.2008

23.4.2008

OJ C 111, 6.5.2008

Quality of higher education

Quality of higher education

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Quality of higher education

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Lifelong learning

Quality of higher education

Document or Iniciative

Council Recommendation (EC) No 561/98 of 24 September 1998 on European cooperation in quality assurance in higher education [Official Journal L 270 of 7.10.1998]

Summary

The Council of the European Union recommends to Member States that they establish transparent quality assessment and quality assurance systems in the field of higher education.

The aim is to safeguard and improve the quality of higher education while taking due account of national conditions, the European dimension and international requirements.

The systems of quality assessment and quality assurance must be based on the following principles:

  • autonomy and independence of the bodies responsible for quality assessment and quality assurance;
  • relating evaluation procedures to the way institutions see themselves;
  • internal (self-reflective) and external (experts’ appraisals) assessment;
  • involvement of all the players (teaching staff, administrators, students, alumni, social partners, professional associations, inclusion of foreign experts);
  • publication of evaluation reports.

The Council recommends Member States to ensure that follow-up measures are taken at national or regional level in order to enable higher education institutions to implement their plans for improving quality and for integrating graduates into the labour market more effectively.

The Member States are also recommended to ensure that high priority is given by public authorities and by the management of higher education institutions to continuous exchange of experience with other Member States and with international organisations active in this field.

The Council also recommends Member States to promote cooperation between the authorities responsible for evaluating quality in higher education and encourage their networking. This cooperation should concern:

style=”MARGIN-LEFT: 2em/”>

  • exchange of information and experience;
  • fulfilling requests for expertise and advice from the authorities in the Member States and promotion of contacts with international experts;
  • support for higher education institutes in the different countries which wish to cooperate.

In pursuing these objectives, the links with other Community activities, notably in the framework of the Socrates and Leonardo da Vinci programmes, should also be taken into account, as well as the “acquis communautaire” in the field of recognition of qualifications for professional purposes.

The Commission is invited to support this cooperation between the authorities responsible for evaluation and quality control in higher education, by involving organisations and associations in the European Community that possess the necessary experience in the field of evaluation and quality assurance in higher education.

The Commission is requested to present, every three years, a report on the development of quality assessment and quality assurance systems in the Member States and on cooperation activities at European level in this field.

Related Acts

style=”MARGIN-LEFT: 2em/”>

Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 February 2006 on further European cooperation in quality assurance in higher education [Official Journal L 64/60 of 4.3.2006].
9. The Council and the European Parliament recommend Member States to introduce internal quality assurance systems in accordance with the standards and guidelines adopted in Bergen in the context of the Bologna Process.
10. They call on quality assurance agencies to be independent in their assessments, to apply the features of quality assurance laid down in the 1998 Recommendation and to apply the general rules adopted in Bergen.
11. The representatives of national authorities, the higher education sector and quality assurance agencies are encouraged to cooperate with the social partners to set up a European register of quality assurance agencies (EQAR). This register, which will be put in place in summer 2008, should be based on a national review and will take account of the principles set out in the Annex. The registration conditions and register management rules should also be laid down.
12. Member States must take the necessary action to allow higher education institutions to choose from the register the quality assurance agency which meets their needs.
13. The Council and the European Parliament recommend Member States to ensure public access to assessments produced by quality assurance agencies listed in the European register.
14. The Recommendation invites the Commission to continue to support cooperation between higher education institutions, quality assurance agencies and competent authorities.
15. Finally, the Council and the European Parliament invite the Commission to present triennial reports on progress in the development of quality assurance systems.

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the implementation of Council Recommendation 98/561/EC of 24 September 1998 on European cooperation in quality assurance in higher education [COM(2004) 0620 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

European area of lifelong learning

European area of lifelong learning

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European area of lifelong learning

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Lifelong learning

European area of lifelong learning

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 21 November 2001 on making a European area of lifelong learning a reality [COM(2001) 678 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Europe’s future depends on the extent to which its citizens can face economic and social challenges. A European area of lifelong learning will empower citizens to move freely between learning settings, jobs, regions and countries in pursuit of learning. Hence, lifelong learning focuses on learning from pre-school education until after retirement (“from the cradle to the grave”) and covers all forms of education (formal, informal or non-formal).

In the context of the strategic objective set out by the Lisbon European Council in March 2000, to enable the European Union (EU) to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge economy in the world, the guiding principle of the integrated policy cooperation framework “Education and Training 2010” is lifelong learning, in synergy with the relevant elements of youth, employment, social inclusion and research policies. The new integrated guidelines adopted in 2005 in connection with the Lisbon Strategy also include the objective of lifelong learning.

The central role of the learner, the importance of equal opportunities, quality and relevance of learning possibilities must be at the centre of the strategies to make lifelong learning a reality in Europe.

Components of a lifelong learning strategy

Successive European Councils after Feira in 2000 have emphasised the need to implement coherent and comprehensive strategies. The Member States have undertaken to have such strategies in place by 2006.

This communication sets out the building blocks of such strategies, in order to assist Member States and the other actors concerned. The transformation of traditional systems is the first step towards allowing everyone access to lifelong learning. Other building blocks have been identified in the light of the need to:

  • develop partnerships at all levels of public administration (national, regional and local), as well as between suppliers of educational services (schools, universities, etc.) and civil society in the broad sense (businesses, social partners, local associations, etc.);
  • identify the needs of the learner and labour market in the context of the knowledge society (including for example the new information technologies);
  • identify adequate resources by encouraging an increase in public and private investment and new investment models;
  • make learning more accessible, notably by multiplying local learning centres at the workplace and by facilitating learning on the job. Specific efforts are needed for persons who are disadvantaged, including the disabled, minorities and the rural community;
  • create a learning culture to motivate (potential) learners, to increase levels of participation and to demonstrate the need for learning at all ages;
  • put in place evaluation and quality control mechanisms. By the beginning of 2003, the Commission was to launch a prize for firms that invest in lifelong learning, in order to award and draw attention to good practices in this area.

Priorities for action of a lifelong learning strategy

As emphasised in the communication, in order to achieve a European area of lifelong learning, it is essential to:

  • value learning. This means valuing formal diplomas and certificates, as well as non-formal and informal learning, so that all forms of learning can be recognised. This includes improving the transparency and coherence of national learning systems, preparing transnational mechanisms for accumulating qualifications for 2003, defining a common system for presenting qualifications (inspired by the European curriculum vitae) by the end of 2002 and creating diplomas and certificates that pertain to European training on a voluntary basis;
  • strengthen information, guidance and counselling services at European level. In 2002, the Commission was to launch an Internet portal on learning opportunities at European level and a European guidance forum to promote exchanges of information;
  • invest more time in learning. The Commission is inviting the European Investment Bank to support learning, preferably by creating local training centres, requesting the European investment fund to support risk capital in this area, suggesting that Member States make greater use of the European Social Fund, and committing itself to presenting a survey of tax incentives in the Member States;
  • bring learning opportunities closer to learners. This will be possible by developing local knowledge acquisition centres and by encouraging learning on the job;
  • provide everybody with basic skills;
  • support research into innovative pedagogy for teachers, instructors and mediators, while taking account of the growing role of information and communication technologies.

The Commission, European Parliament and other European institutions, Member States, EEA countries (European Economic Area), candidate countries, social partners, NGOs (non-governmental organisations) and international organisations are called upon to collaborate with a view to driving forward lifelong learning. To this end, the Commission communication proposes the creation of a database of good practices, information and experience in this area, as well as the establishment of a high level group consisting of representatives of the ministries responsible for lifelong learning, with a view to following up coordination between decision-making levels (Community, national, regional and local).

Implementation will be ensured by programmes, instruments, networks and a limited number of indicators.

A contribution on the subject was presented to the Barcelona Council in March 2002. In 2003, the Commission produced a report on progress in Member States and at Community level in the field of lifelong learning. It was then decided that the achievements to date would be followed up in the two-yearly report on implementation of the “Education and Training 2010” programme.

Background

The Feira European Council in June 2000 asked the Commission and Member States to identify a coherent strategy to enable all Europeans to access lifelong learning. The Memorandum on lifelong learning launched a wide-ranging consultation at European level. This communication is the result of this debate, which in 2000/2001 involved approximately 12 000 persons in Member States, EEA countries, candidate countries, Community institutions, social partners’ organisations and NGOs.

Related Acts

of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council of 21 November 2008 on better integrating lifelong guidance into lifelong learning strategies [Official Journal C 319 of 13.12.2008].
This resolution emphasises the need to strengthen the implementation of an active guidance policy within the framework of national lifelong learning strategies. It sets out four priority areas for lifelong guidance, which aim to enhance:

  • the acquisition of empowering career management skills;
  • access to guidance services, in particular for people from disadvantaged groups;
  • the quality of guidance services;
  • coordination and cooperation among all relevant stakeholders at all possible levels.

With a view to improving the provision of lifelong guidance, exchanges of information on national policies and practices must be organised, along with proper monitoring and evaluation of their implementation. In addition, cooperation must be further encouraged at national, European and international levels. To that end, the Lifelong Learning Programme, the European Structural Funds, the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) and the European Training Foundation may be employed.

of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on [Official Journal L 394 of 30.12.2006].

This recommendation puts forward a reference tool identifying the key competences for lifelong learning.

Decision No 1720/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2006 establishing an action programme in the field of lifelong learning [Official Journal L 327 of 24.11.2006].

of 27 June 2002 on lifelong learning [Official Journal C 163 of 9.7.2002].

The Council welcomes the Commission communication of November 2001 on “Making a European area of lifelong learning a reality”. It also welcomes the fact that this communication established lifelong learning as one of the guiding principles for education and training.

Indicators on the quality of school education

Indicators on the quality of school education

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Indicators on the quality of school education

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Lifelong learning

Indicators on the quality of school education

Document or Iniciative

European Report of May 2000 on the Quality of School Education: Sixteen Quality Indicators. Report based on the work of the Working Committee on Quality Indicators [Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This report on the quality of school education was drawn up by experts from the Education Ministries of the 26 countries that took part in the Working Committee on Quality Indicators.

Challenges to the quality of education in Europe

The indicators and benchmarks used in the report have identified the five challenges below:

  • the knowledge challenge;
  • the challenge of decentralisation;
  • the resource challenge;
  • the challenge of social inclusion;
  • the challenge of data and comparability.

In the European Union as a whole, the principal challenge continues to be that of providing all Europeans with a high level of school education.

The four major areas under evaluation

The Working Committee proposes limiting the number of indicators to sixteen, relating to the following four areas:

  • attainment in the areas of mathematics, reading, science, information and communication technologies (ICT), foreign languages, learning to learn, and civics;
  • success and transition: this indicator identifies pupils’ ability to complete their studies by examining dropout rates, completion of upper secondary education and participation in higher education;
  • monitoring of school education: this indicator determines the level of participation of the various stakeholders in school systems through evaluation and steering of school education and evaluation of parental participation;
  • resources and structures: this indicator focuses on educational expenditure per student, education and training of teachers, rate of participation in pre-primary education and the number of students per computer.

This report analyses the data available for each indicator (represented by graphs and tables) and identifies the aspects common to the various Member States, opens the debate by asking fundamental questions and lists examples of best practice.

THE 16 INDICATORS IN DETAIL

Mathematics

A solid grounding in mathematics, which helps provide analytical skills, logic skills and numerical reasoning, is at the core of any curriculum. However, according to the data available, considerable differences remain in terms of the priorities given in school curricula to geometry rather than algebra, for example.

The principal challenges in relation to mathematics are to develop a teaching method which ensures that pupils have a positive attitude towards mathematics, encourage pupils to develop and maintain their knowledge in this area, and define, if possible, the common skills and competences which European citizens should possess.

Examples of best practice include initiatives in: Cyprus, which has introduced mathematics competitions for pupils of all ages; France, which has set up a national ‘observatory’ for mathematics teaching; and Germany, which has developed materials for mathematics teachers.

Reading

The ability to read and understand texts is a basic requirement for learning and for individuals’ personal development and social integration. The report shows that the home environment and some individual students’ characteristics, such as gender, are important factors.

No conclusions have been reached concerning how to improve access to books in secondary schools, libraries and bookshops, how to encourage parents to participate in their children’s learning process, and how to make reading more attractive to young people (advertising, television, CD-ROMs, for example).

Examples of national initiatives include Germany, where national daily newspapers were delivered to pupils for free and the content systematically dealt with by teachers in class; also interesting is a Swedish initiative which encouraged parents of children aged 10 to 12 to spend half an hour per day reading a good book with them.

Science

Science gives pupils the tools to analyse, to investigate their environment and to experiment, skills that are essential for technological progress. The report highlights significant differences between countries in terms of scientific knowledge and the importance of factors such as motivation, gender, methodological practices, the status of scientific studies and jobs.

The report calls for debate on how all students can be encouraged to develop sufficient interest in science and how to promote learning via more efficient methods related to practical experiments.

Examples of best practice highlighted by the report include the initiative “Schola ludus” from the Slovak Republic, which aims to promote science education by means of interactive exhibitions touring the country, and the European initiative entitled “Women in Science”, which illustrates the history of science through the achievements of women.

Information and communication technologies (ICT)

The role of information and communication technologies in everyday life is becoming increasingly important, as they allow us to develop new approaches to learning, life, work, consumption and leisure.

Despite the disparities in the role of ICT in school curricula (in some countries they are regarded as tools and in others as separate subjects), most countries plan to increase the use of ICT.

No conclusions have been reached in terms of how to encourage the use of ICT by all, including the most disadvantaged and vulnerable sections of the population, and how to encourage the training of teachers from all subject areas in the necessary skills.

The example set by Iceland, where all senior pupils are provided with their own laptops, is an objective that all European countries should achieve. At European level, the eEurope and eLearning initiatives support the use of ICT.

Foreign languages

Proficiency in several Community languages has become a prerequisite if citizens of the European Union are to benefit from the professional and personal opportunities open to them in the single market.

According to the data available, there seems to be a relationship between a country’s official language and the ability of its young people to speak another language: in countries which do not have a dominant language (such as Denmark or Sweden), people are more highly motivated to learn another language than in countries which have a dominant language (such as France or Spain). Social and cultural factors are also important.
The key issues continue to be to promote young people’s interest in language learning and to develop methods to help increase students’ self-confidence when speaking a language other than their mother tongue. In Belgium, the Ministry of Education offers courses in eighteen languages, both European and non-European. At EU level, the aim of the European Label is to stimulate interest in language learning by highlighting innovative projects.

Learning to learn

The skill of lifelong learning guarantees success in the world of work and in society. Effective learners know how to learn and have a repertoire of tools and strategies to serve that purpose.

As yet there are no data available for the whole of Europe, although some Member States have already developed methods to help understand success and failure in school. The challenge is to ensure that skills in learning to learn become a policy priority, with a view to adapting school curricula and promoting in-service training for teachers.

Civics

Preparing young people for citizenship also involves giving them a civil culture based not only on the principles of democracy, equality and freedom but also on the recognition of rights and duties. The report has in particular identified the difficulty of promoting social and cultural diversity and the need to make teachers more aware of the importance of their role in students’ development as citizens.

In Greece, elected senior pupils from secondary schools meet every year in the House of Parliament and discuss matters of current importance. In Italy, all secondary schools have a Statute of students’ rights and duties.

School dropout rates

Those who drop out of the school system often have neither basic skills nor vocational training and will face problems in finding a job. Reluctance to embark on a strategy of lifelong learning puts these people at risk of long-term unemployment.

The report emphasises that the significant differences between countries are related not only to differences between education systems but also to socio-economic disparities. In Germany, for example, a dual system whereby pupils undertake an apprenticeship within an enterprise as well as part-time vocational training allows them to obtain a vocational qualification. On the other hand, dropout rates might be linked to economic factors such as high unemployment rates, or disparities between urban and rural economies.

In March 2000, the Lisbon European Council set a target to halve by 2010 the number of 18 to 24 year olds with only lower-secondary level education. In the Netherlands, early school-leaving is curbed by cooperation between schools at regional level; in Germany, placements are offered by industry partners.

Completion of upper secondary education

Rates of completion of upper secondary education are important indications of successful education systems. The report highlights the fact that a pupil’s success cannot be considered in isolation from the rest of the young person’s school career nor from the country’s economic situation.

The principal challenges are to increase young people’s motivation and give them a better understanding of the connection between theoretical learning and practical activity, and to encourage pupils to take a greater interest in lifelong learning.

Participation in higher education

The opportunities offered by higher education are constantly growing. It is essential, however, to predict trends in demand in the light of the development of new technologies, employment trends, etc.

The report indicates the differences between education systems, particularly in relation to curricula (some subjects are taught at secondary level in certain countries and at tertiary level in others) and the existence of vocational training (young people go into higher education because of a lack of opportunities to take up vocational training). A saturated labour market often encourages those who are having problems finding work to go into higher education. A high rate of enrolment will lead to a highly-qualified workforce, which will make it even more difficult for those without a higher education qualification to find work in certain sectors.

High enrolment rates spread across a wide age range will also have a significant impact on the proportion of the population that is unavailable for work at any one time. The report also notes that the rate of participation in higher education is generally higher among girls than among boys.

According to the report, the aspects to be examined include: the male/female ratio in certain subject areas, the extent to which the choice of higher education is a response to the labour market, the relationship between participation rates among older age groups and the productivity of the labour market, etc.

Evaluation and steering of school education

Through evaluation and steering, schools can measure themselves against other comparable institutions. All countries are seeking the best way in which to report school performance, and to this end they are using internal or external evaluation or a system which combines both.

In Austria, a website has been set up for schools to allow them to access information, ideas and procedural proposals for the development of curricula. This report is in turn an important contribution at European level to improving evaluation systems in Europe.

Parental participation

The participation of parents in their children’s education plays an important part in improving the running of the school and in the quality of the children’s education. The report stresses that parents may participate on a voluntary basis through direct involvement in educational activities or via advisory bodies, voluntary associations or after-school clubs.

This indicator raises important fundamental questions concerning the role and influence of parents in terms of the added-value they can bring to the process and in what respects parents’ contributions are most relevant and useful.

Of the many examples of best practice, it is in particular worth noting that of Germany, where seminars are organised for parents in order to inform them of new developments in learning and teaching.

Education and training of teachers

Teachers are experiencing an unprecedented transition in their role and status: they require further training in the use of new technological tools in ICT and must deal with ever-changing needs and expectations. In European countries, there is an urgent need for high-quality initial training, supported by good induction and continuing professional development.

The report underlines the fact that, although data are available on initial teacher training (see the EURYDICE network), it is more difficult to locate data on in-service training. This indicator distinguishes between general or subject-based education and training, which is geared towards the teaching of subjects, and pedagogical and practical training, which are related to the teaching profession.

Although significant differences exist, the report opens a discussion on measures to be taken to ensure that teachers update their knowledge and on how to reward and retain particularly effective teachers.

Participation in pre-primary education

Pre-primary education plays an important part in children’s emotional and cognitive development, facilitates the transition from playful learning to formal learning and contributes to children’s success at school.
Pre-primary education, which concerns children of at least three years of age, must be provided by adequately trained staff.

Number of students per computer

Everyone needs to be able to learn to use computers effectively, and schools must be able to provide a sufficient number of computers. On the other hand, as technology changes rapidly, it is sometimes preferable to provide schools with fewer computers but to provide replacements as these models become obsolete. Faced with the necessity of providing expensive equipment to a large number of schools, some education systems turn to partnerships with the private sector. The main challenge is to ensure that the schools’ and partners’ investment in providing computers is economically viable.

Educational expenditure per student

The share of total financial resources devoted to education is a key decision for national governments. It is an investment with long-term returns and makes a significant impact on key sectors such as social cohesion, international competition and sustainable growth.

The report underlines the fact that differences in economic prosperity are an important factor. In Scotland, local authorities fund school rebuilding programmes through public-private partnerships. The challenges that education systems in Europe will have to face include effective distribution of the budget among the different local and regional levels, and facilitating private-sector participation in education without jeopardising the integrity of the education system.

Background

At the conference held in Prague in June 1998, the Education Ministers of the European Union and the candidate countries proposed setting up a working group made up of national experts, with the aim of identifying a series of indicators or benchmarks to facilitate the evaluation of education systems at national level.

The experts submitted their report to the Education Ministers of the European Union and the candidate countries at a meeting held in Bucharest in June 2000.

Based on a Commission proposal and on contributions from the Member States, on 12 February 2001 the Council adopted the report on the concrete future objectives of education and training systems. This was the first document outlining a comprehensive and consistent approach to national policies on education, based on three objectives:

  • improving the quality and effectiveness of education and training systems in the EU;
  • facilitating the access of all to “lifelong” education and training;
  • opening up education and training systems to the wider world.

Following the approval of the report on the concrete future objectives of education and training systems, the Commission prepared a work programme including some 29 indicators for the field of education and training in general.

Related Acts

on the follow-up of the objectives of Education and training systems in Europe [Official Journal C 142 of 14.06.2002].

Council conclusions of 14 February 2002 on the follow-up to the Report on the concrete future objectives of education and training systems in view of the preparation of a joint Council/Commission report to be presented to the Spring 2002 European Council [EN] [Official Journal C 58 of 05.03.2002].

of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 February 2001 on European cooperation in quality evaluation in school education [Official Journal L 60 of 01.03.2001].

Council Recommendation (EC) No 561/98 of 24 September 1998 on European cooperation in quality assurance in higher education[Official Journal L 270 of 07.10.1998].