Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will brief ministers from nearly 50 European countries on the Commission's efforts to step up the impact of education policies in today's challenging conditions. The Commissioner will make special reference to the Rethinking Education strategy and future 'Opening Up Education' initiative, as part of a wider debate on good governance and quality education.
The Rethinking Education strategy, launched last November, provides guidance on how to ensure that investment in education and training is smart, targeted and effective. There are currently over two million job vacancies in Europe that cannot be filled due to a lack of relevant skills, particularly in IT. The Opening Up Education initiative, due to be unveiled this summer, aims to ensure that Europe seizes the potential of the digital revolution to boost efficiency, quality, excellence and accessibility in education and training, by taking full advantage of the opportunities provided by ICT and open educational resources. Commissioner Vassiliou will be the keynote speaker in the official opening session of the conference.
Commissioner Vassiliou will also hold bilateral meetings with EU Ministers to update them on progress in the negotiations on the Erasmus for All, the new programme for education, training, youth and sport, which is due to be launched on 1 January 2014. Based on the current figures on the table, 4 million people would receive grants to study, train or volunteer abroad by the end of the decade, compared with 2.5 million people under comparable programmes in 2007-2013. The skills gained through this international experience, including foreign language fluency, intercultural awareness and versatility, can improve people's employability.