extensive Commission Staff Working Paper on indicators and benchmarks
(see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe October 2007
) which was published in the course of last month, and confirms the slightly worrying scenario on the speed of progress towards the objectives. Indeed, the progress report warns that while some advancement has indeed taken place, the pace of reform is often too slow, and the achievements are very uneven across the European Union.
Areas of positive progress include increased university autonomy – especially in financial terms – in several countries, as well as the creation of comprehensive lifelong learning strategies, often including all types and levels of education and training. However, progress is lagging behind in many more areas: reducing school drop-out, increasing numbers of graduates from upper secondary education, improving participation in lifelong learning, and the literacy levels of 15-year olds. In the area of higher education, the promotion of excellence seems not to be focusing on education as much as on research and innovation. Furthermore, increasing funding from private sources remains a challenge for European universities with only some countries having successfully stimulated private investment from public-private partnerships.
The report recognizes that Education and Training 2010 work programme will not be “completed” by 2010, but that reform efforts will need to continue and be reinforced well beyond the magical date. A conclusion that is hardly surprising.
The European Commission and the Council have submitted on 12 November their 2008 draft joint report on progress in the Education and Training 2010 work programme. The report is based on an