- Europe 2020: Commission calls Member States to reform and invest in education and training
- Grand Prix winners of EU Prize for Cultural Heritage/Europa Nostra Awards announced
- Launch of new initiative to highlight contribution of culture to jobs and economic recovery
- Eurobarometer: 98% say language learning is good for their children, but tests highlight skills gap
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. They show that 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.
To spur job-rich recovery, improve opportunities of young people and fuel growth in a knowledge-based economy, Europe needs smart investment to equip people with the right skills.
The names of the winners of the public choice award and six 'Grand Prix' laureates in the 2012 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards were announced on 1 June at the Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon in the presence of Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, and Plácido Domingo, the world-renowned tenor and President of Europa Nostra. The ceremony was attended by an audience of 1200 people including Aníbal Cavaco Silva, President of Portugal, and Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Asturias.
The role of culture at a time of crisis is the focus of a new initiative by Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, and Uffe Elbæk, the Danish Minister for Culture.
Almost nine out of ten EU citizens believe that the ability to speak foreign languages is very useful and 98% say that mastering languages will be good for the future of their children, according to a new Eurobarometer opinion poll on EU citizens' attitudes towards multilingualism and foreign language learning.However, a separate European Commission study, the first European Survey on Language Competences, highlights that there is a gap between aspirations and reality when it comes to foreign language skills in practice: tests carried out among teenage pupils in 14 European countries show that only 42% are competent in their first foreign language and just 25% in their second. A significant number, 14% in the case of the first foreign language and 20% in the second, do not achieve even the level of 'basic user'.