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The European Commission published a communication to the European Council and Parliament earlier this month in which it sets out key messages to member states about the need to combine efficiency and equity in education and training.
The communication states that free access to education does not necessarily guarantee equitable access, since those going into higher education are generally individuals from a relatively high socio-economic group. And while the introduction of tuition fees would provide higher education institutions with the necessary extra funding and improve the quality of teaching, it would generate more inequity. In the light of this reasoning, the communication urges member states to generate investment both from public and private sources and to develop financial support measures for the disadvantaged.
With regard to vocational training, the communication recommends that member states develop clear and diverse pathways through vocational education and training to further learning and employment. It also encourages stakeholder partnerships at regional and local level as well as private sector involvement.
What’s next? Efficiency and equity will be a priority theme of the Education and Training 2010 work programme. In the light of this, the Commission intends to: