The European Commission today welcomed the launch of Education at a Glance 2013, an annual report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) which analyses the education systems of the 34 OECD member countries, including 21 EU Member States, as well as Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.
The report identifies challenges for European education systems that must be tackled by the EU and its Member States working together, and confirms the importance of policies aimed at modernising education systems and increasing opportunities for young people to study or train abroad.
"This report is a major source of knowledge and evidence for policy-makers, helping to deepen our understanding of the challenges we face. Investing in education always pays off in the long run and Member States cannot afford to forget this when it comes to allocating public budgets. As the report confirms, cutting back on education spending in general, and on teachers' salaries in particular, can hinder our objective of providing efficient and high quality education systems," said Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.
"What we need now is ensure our young people are motivated and equipped with 21st century skills, with the entrepreneurial spirit to bring Europe back onto the path of growth. We must be ready to implement reforms so that our education systems are a match for the world's best – and that means we have to invest. However, as this report clearly shows, some Member States are doing better than others in maintaining levels of spending on education."
Investment in quality education and training, particularly in the current context of high youth unemployment, is at the heart of the EU policy agenda. The next European Council on 27-28 June will focus on measures to boost youth employment. As part of its contribution to next week's meeting, the Commission has launched a new initiative, 'Working together for Europe's young people'. This sets out actions that have or will be taken by the EU to help Member States to modernise and improve their education systems – an approach that is in tune with the findings of Education at a Glance 2013.
Education at a Glance 2013 is presented in Brussels today by Andreas Schleicher, Deputy Director for Education and Skills at the OECD; Xavier Prats Monné, Deputy Director General of the European Commission's Directorate General for Education and Culture, will comment on the relevant of the findings of the report for the EU.