The European Commision has issued the third “Education and Training Monitor” that examines the development of education and training systems across the EU. Its purpose is to follow up on the Europe 2020 targets for education and training. The two headline targets include: reducing early school leavers under 10% and increasing tertiary attainment to at least 40%. The monitoring exercise follows more indicators that are considered important to reach these targets and understand the context.
Regarding higher education attainment, it appears that participation rates in average in Europe are increasing. In 2010, average tertiary education attainment was at 33,6%, and this has now increased to 36,9% – not far off the 40% target. However, looking at the map of Europe, there are also great disparities in this area, and Italy and Romania have attainment levels at 22,4% and 22,8% respectively, a sharp contrast from Ireland, where tertiary education attainment is at 52%, and additionally UK, Sweden, Finland, Lithuania and Luxembourg where tertiary education attainment is over 45%.
Regarding employability, the target is that by 2020, the share of those who have graduated from upper secondary or tertiary education should be at least 82%. This number has however been steadily decreasing, from 77,4% in 2010 to 75,5% in 2013. Countries like Germany, the Nerthelands and Luxembour show employment rates of over 85% for their graduates. At the same time, and rather unsurprisingly countries in the South of Europe who have been hit hard by the economic crisis show employment rates that are under 60%, where employment rate in Greece is just 40%.
Overall, the report emphasizes the substantial impact the financial crisis has had on societies – and how this has had an impact on unemployment of young people in certain parts of Europe. This is highlighted as worrisome, as 19 of 28 EU countries cut their educational budgets in 2012. Since 2008, there are six countries that have decreased their educational budgets on all levels of education – including Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal and Romania.
In addition to monitoring performance, the report also highlighs relevant policy recommendations – focused amongst else on inclusion of disadvantaged groups and quality of pre-primary and compulsory education; strengthening the quality and relevance of higher education ad VET, as well as focus on lifelong learning and adult education.
In addition to the report, the site also has a visualisation tool to compare country performance.