EU Goals to Improve Education 2011

The EU has met just one of the five education targets it set in 2003. But its goals for 2020 are attainable, says report.
The EU has comfortably beaten its target to increase by 15% the number of maths, science and technology graduates by 2010. But despite some progress, not enough has been done to prevent children dropping out of school, improve literacy skills and increase participation in upper-secondary and adult education.
Today's report also shows that EU countries can meet the revised set of targets agreed in 2009 for 2020 if they invest money and prioritise education reform.
Two of these new benchmarks are headline targets of the Europe 2020 strategy for increasing economic growth and creating jobs - which means they're top of the EU agenda.
The 2020 education targets - progress so far:
  • reducing the school drop-out rate to below 10% - since 2003, the number of young people leaving school with lower-secondary education or less has fallen to about 14%
  • increasing the number of 30-34 year-olds with tertiary education to 40% - the EU average increased by nearly 10 percentage points to 32.3% between 2000 and 2009
  • getting 95% of children into pre-primary education - the rate currently stands at 92.3%. Although nine EU countries already meet this target and many others are on track, a few are lagging behind
  • improving reading, maths and science skills among 15-year-olds - less than 15% of pupils should under-perform in these core skills by 2020. Today, some 20% of pupils lack adequate reading skills
  • increasing the number of adults in lifelong learning to 15% - the number of people taking part in these programmes has slightly decreased, with the rate now below 10% in 17 EU countries
The EU has already taken action to help member countries make the grade. In 2010 it launched Youth on the Move, an initiative to modernise education systems, promote student mobility and tackle youth unemployment. Early this year it launched separate plans to combat early school leaving and promote pre-primary education.

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