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The European Commission is monitoring the evolution of education and training systems across the EU and on 12 November it released the third edition of the annual publication Education and Training Monitor, accompanied by 28 individual country reports. The work provides a picture of each country's progress in relation to specific benchmarks and indicators and highlights the latest policy developments and analyses.
Given the impact on society and youth unemployment of the economic and financial crisis, the European Commission highlights a strong economic and social case for investing in education as a human capital investment to boost productivity, competitiveness and innovation. Nevertheless, in 2012 nineteen Member States cut their education expenditure, six of which by more than 5% (Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Hungary, Portugal and Romania). Also, inequalities continue to impact negatively upon educational outcomes, especially for higher education. Although the rate of tertiary education attainment in Europe has steadily grown to 36.9%, there are still persisting disparities between and within countries and across different socio-economic and socio-cultural classes. The rate of tertiary education attainment is 26% higher amongst women and about 10% higher for native-born, while it results 62.4% lower for individuals suffering physical difficulties. Countries like Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania have attainment rates that are at least 60% lower than those of top-performing regions.
The Education and Training Monitor 2014 supports the implementation of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020). Among the priorities recommended for higher education, there is to increase the quality and relevance of qualifications and competences. International learning mobility and the involvement of employers in the development and quality assurance of programmes are also seen as helpful tools for boosting graduate employability, as well as graduate tracking surveys and career guidance for higher education students.