Stay in the loop! Subscribe to our mailing list

Two new EU proposals for benchmarks – mobility and employability

Tasked by the Council of the European Union to propose two EU-level benchmarks in the fields of employability of graduates and ‘learning mobility’, the European Commission has now completed this assignment by putting forward its suggestion in the two areas. The two proposed benchmarks would, if and when adopted by the European Council, complement the list of five previously set targets which are seen as instrumental for the success of the Europe 2020 strategy. In particular, the two new benchmarks support the related EU flagship initiatives – Youth on the Move and the Agenda for New Skills and Jobs.

Acknowledging that the cooperation of EU member states in education-related matters takes place within the framework of the Open Method of Coordination (OMC), the staff working paper specifying the Commission’s proposal also makes it clear that the two proposed benchmarks should be seen as “reference levels of average European performance”. In other words, member states can and should decide for themselves how and to what extent they can contribute towards the collective achievement of this target, without having to automatically translate these proposals into national-level targets.

In both areas, the Commission outlines possible approaches for setting the EU-level targets

  • On employability, the proposed benchmark reads as follows: “By 2020, there should be an increase by at least 5 percentage points in the employment rate of graduates (20-34 year olds) having left education, measured as an average of employment rates 1, 2 and 3 years after graduation.”
  • On ‘learning mobility’ in turn, the Commission document makes a distinction between the higher education and the vocational education sectors. In the field of higher education it confirms the Bologna Process target - at least 20% of graduates should have a learning mobility experience abroad by 2020 - specifying that: “Learning mobility should be defined as physical mobility. Worldwide mobility of EU graduates would be taken into account and it would include both short term (credit and non-credit) and long term (degree) mobility in all tertiary cycles. The minimum duration should be in line with the Erasmus definition of mobility i.e. minimum of 3 months (2 months minimum for placements organised by so-called short cycle higher education institutions) or alternatively mobility resulting in at least 15 ECTS credits.”

In both areas the document makes proposals on how data availability could be improved, which is an essential element for the proper assessment of target achievement.

European Commission