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Europe cops out on Rethinking education

December 5th, 2012 by Graham Attwell

“The youth unemployment rate is close to 23% across the European Union – yet at the same time there are more than 2 million vacancies that cannot be filled. Europe needs a radical rethink on how education and training systems can deliver the skills needed by the labour market.” So says the European Commission in their new strategy called Rethinking Education which is designed “to encourage Member States to take immediate action to ensure that young people develop the skills and competences needed by the labour market and to achieve their targets for growth and jobs.”

The actio0n proposed is less than radical and somewhat depressing: more focus on ‘learning outcomes; assessment methods need to be adapted and modernised; the use of ICT and open educational resources (OER) should be scaled-up in all learning contexts; teachers need to update their own skills through regular training; stronger links between education and employers; bring enterprise into the classroom.

The European Commission has very little power over education being mainly reduced to appealing to Member States to follow its lead. Yet with unemployment at crisis levels this was a chance for them to take a radical relook at the role of education in Europe. The list of measures (if they can be called that) above seem rather tired and are certainly not radical. A greater focus on learning outcomes and bringing enterprise into the classroom are going to do little to improve education, still less create teh jobs so desperately need by unemployed young people.

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