EU ministers agree on new education targets
EU education ministers reached almost unanimous agreement today on European education targets aimed at reducing the number of youngsters who leave school before completing their upper secondary education and increasing the proportion of young people with higher or equivalent education.
Twenty six countries backed the Commission's proposal to reduce the school drop-out rate from 15 to 10% and to increase the share in higher or equivalent education to 40% (it is currently 31% on average). The United Kingdom was unable to support the targets today because it is in the process of forming a new government.
The benchmarks will be submitted to heads of state and government at the European Council in June and, if endorsed, will become a part of the EU 2020 strategy.
Commissioner Vassiliou told a press conference that 23 Member States had also proposed their own national targets, which reflect their differing national circumstances. The idea is that, taken together, the national targets will contribute to a European average of 10% in the case of the drop-out rate and 40% for higher or equivalent education.
The Commissioner underlined the importance of pre-school education and teachers' professional development and training. The Commission would make a proposal later this year aimed at to helping to improve both, she said.