On 7 November, the European Commission launched the 2016 Education and Training Monitor, which follows up on the various benchmarks member states have committed to.
During his speech at the launch event
, Commissioner Tibor Navracsics welcomed the fact that “public investment in education has started to rise again.” He said, “After three consecutive years of decline, it grew by 1.1% annually across the EU in 2014 - and in six member states even by more than 5%.”
In addition, he pointed out some progress on the benchmarks, regarding early school leaving (now only 11%) for example, and the tertiary education attainment, which with 38.7% is very close to the 40% benchmark envisaged for 2020. However, Navracsics also pointed to “discrepancies between countries” and low attainment of young people with a migration background.
EUA Director of Higher Education Policy Michael Gaebel was invited to participate in the launch event. Gaebel welcomed the Monitor, noting that the benchmarks have proven to be a useful, as they allow for the assessment of progress, but also raise awareness of the diversity of systems, and education beyond the different sectors.
Gaebel also pointed out that as the higher education attainment benchmark has been almost reached, more focus should be given to qualitative issues regarding gender, social background of students and other topics that are becoming more challenging than in the past. Regarding quality and inclusiveness, the funding situation cannot be ignored according to Gaebel. When talking about increases in public spending on education, for higher education, these should also be assessed against the growing numbers of students experienced across Europe in recent years.
Indeed, in its recently published 2016 Public Funding Observatory, EUA highlighted the growing pressure faced by some European countries that disinvest in higher education while student populations grow, as well as the continuous increase in discrepancies across Europe in higher education funding.
To read the 2016 Education and Training Monitor, please click here
To see the 2016 EUA Public Funding Observatory, please click here