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European Commission’s annual report on Lisbon – We are too slow

The overall progress of Europe’s education and training systems towards the Lisbon objectives is insufficient, says the European Commission’s 2006 annual report on progress towards the Lisbon objectives in education and training.

The report states that although there have been positive developments in specific areas, like the increase of number of graduates in mathematics, science and technology, progress was only moderate in increasing participation in lifelong learning. The report is structured around three Strategic Objectives of the Lisbon progress in education and training: quality and effectiveness of education and training systems, access to education and training, opening up of systems to the wider world. The following are the main findings as regards higher education:

  • There has been growth in the number of graduates in mathematics, science and technology, the overall target was achieved already in 2003. The best performing countries in terms of number of graduates from these disciplines are Ireland, France and the UK
  • The EU would need to more than double the amount it invests per tertiary-level student to match the spending level in the United States. In terms of public expenditure on education and training as a percentage of GDP in 2002, the best performing countries were Denmark (8 per cent of GDP) and Sweden (7 per cent). While most countries fall between 4-6 per cent bracket, Greece stands at 4 per cent. When it comes to private investment in educational institutions, rates are modest in most member states though.
  • Increase of participation of adults in lifelong learning remains a challenge. The best performing countries are Sweden (34.7 per cent), UK (29.1 per cent) and Denmark (27.6 per cent), whereas Greece, Portugal, Slovakia and Hungary were below the EU average.
Progress towards Lisbon objectives in education and training
Detailed analysis of progress