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The European Commission has made available its contribution to the Commission-Council joint mid-term report on the “Education and Training 2010” work programme, to be agreed by the Council in February 2006. The document acknowledges important progress in Member States’ definition of priorities, internal coordination between ministries, and encouragement of life-long learning. Public spending in education rose from 4.9% of GDP in 2000 to 5.2% in 2002.
However, serious shortcomings and imbalances between member states need to be tackled. Despite some improvement in life-long learning participation, 80 million Europeans are low-qualified and insufficient attention is given to continuing education of adult and older workers. Other worrying facts are that still 20% of 15-year-olds are not fully reading literate and 23% of high upper-secondary pupils leave school early. At the same time, the sustainability of the European social model in the long run depends on the Member States’ efforts to improve the implementation of the reforms, the report claims.
As a reference tool, the Commission has published a proposal for a European Framework for Key Competences. This document identifies the basic skills and competences that Member States should ensure all European workers have: 1) communication in the mother tongue; 2) foreign language skills; 3) basic competences in maths, science and technology; 4) IT skills; 5) learning to learn; 6) social, cultural and civic competences; 7) entrepreneurship; and 8) cultural expression.Commission's Communication: "Modernising education and Training"