Statement by Dennis Abbott on the progress in reducing early school leaving and increasing graduates in Europe, but more efforts needed
On 7 June 2012, Dennis Abbott, Spokesperson of Androulla Vassiliou, Member of the EC in charge of Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, announced that Member States must work harder if they are to meet the Europe 2020 education targets to reduce early school leaving rates to less than 10% and increase the share of young people with degree-level qualifications to at least 40%, according to figures for 2011 released by Eurostat on the same day. Member States are making progress, but wide disparities remain and it is far from certain that the EU will meet its 2020 goals: The share of early school leavers now stands at 13.5%, down from 14.1% in 2010 and from 17.6% in 2000. In 2011, 34.6% of 30-34 year olds in the EU had a degree, compared to 33.5% in the previous year and 22.4% in 2000.
Although the latest figures highlight progress towards both targets, the Commission is concerned that this is not a result of reforms which will have a long-term impact but rather a by-product of high youth unemployment which means more young people are staying longer in education and training. Another concern is that national targets set by Member States are not sufficient for the EU to meet its joint overall target. SHOTLIST