Current education systems need new impetus

Rethinking education: Investing in skills for better socio-economic outcomes

The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament today welcomed the positive vote in the plenary (Strasbourg) on the report 'Rethinking education', which responds to the Commission's communication on the topic.

In the current economic climate, with an alarming number of young people struggling with unemployment across the European Union, the report on rethinking education addresses the specific role of education not only in combating unemployment but also in preparing individuals for life and as active citizens.

There are several clear messages within the report highlighting the key role of education and training in innovation and economic growth.

Katarína Neveďalová, S&D MEP and the European Parliament's rapporteur on the report, said:

"Education and training has a broader mission than just addressing the needs of the labour market. It prepares individuals to become active citizens and develops their personal competences and well being.

"Therefore, we must ensure there is a balance between theoretical knowledge and practical skills, as well as an increased focus on promoting vocational education and training, the positives of dual-learning systems and work-based learning, and encouraging studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"Identifying the challenges for learners and the skills needed for people entering the labour market in the contemporary world must lead to solutions to help people maintain their individual and economic independence.

"Moreover, recognition of experience and skills gained through non-formal and informal learning, the work of youth organisations, good-quality internships, apprenticeships and volunteering should facilitate the transition from education and serve as stepping stones for young people to find employment as well as developing their life skills.

"I believe that further co-operation between educational institutions and their counterparts in social, civil and private sectors would be more effective in addressing the issue of skill mismatches and provide a solid base for a public debate on new learning strategies.

"Furthermore, the report on rethinking education addresses the gender imbalance, social inclusion for the most vulnerable groups and promotes the opportunities which digital literacy, open educational resources (OER), ICT and language skills can bring."