Procedure : 2007/2113(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A6-0326/2007

Texts tabled :

A6-0326/2007

Debates :

PV 26/09/2007 - 17
CRE 26/09/2007 - 17

Votes :

PV 27/09/2007 - 9.2
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2007)0417

REPORT     
PDF 152kWORD 102k
18.9.2007
PE 390.493v02-00 A6-0326/2007

on efficiency and equity in European education and training systems

(2007/2113(INI))

Committee on Culture and Education

Rapporteur: Tomáš Zatloukal

ERRATA/ADDENDA
MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality
 RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on efficiency and equity in European education and training systems

(2007/2113(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission Communication to the Council and the European Parliament entitled ‘Efficiency and equity in European education and training systems’ (COM(2006)0481),

–   having regard to the proposal for a European Parliament and Council recommendation on the establishment of the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning (COM(2006)0479),

–   having regard to its position adopted at second reading on 25 October 2006 with a view to the adoption of a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing an action programme in the field of lifelong learning(1), and having regard to European Parliament and Council Decision No 1720/2006/EC of 15 November 2006 establishing an action programme in the field of lifelong learning(2),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication entitled ‘Adult learning: it is never too late to learn’ (COM(2006)0614),

–   having regard to its position adopted at first reading on 26 September 2006 on the proposal for a recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council on key competences for lifelong learning(3) and European Parliament and Council recommendation No 2006/962/EC of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning(4),

–   having regard to its position adopted at first reading on 13 October 2005 on the proposal for a recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council on further European cooperation in quality assurance in higher education(5) and having regard to European Parliament and Council Recommendation No 2006/143/EC of 15 February 2006 on further European cooperation in quality assurance in higher education(6),

–   having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Culture and Education and the opinion of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (A6‑0326/2007),

A. whereas in response to cuts in public budgets, the challenges of globalisation, demographic change and technological innovation, greater emphasis is being placed throughout Europe on making education and training more effective,

B.  whereas the considerable disparity in performance between education systems in the EU, as illustrated in the Pisa 2003 Report, is a matter of concern;

C. whereas this factor might be translated into an increase in the differences in the economic and social development of the Member States and jeopardise the achievement of the Lisbon strategy goals;

D. whereas the right to education is a principle recognised both at international level and in the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights

E.  whereas most current education and training systems replicate and deepen existing inequalities,

F.  whereas inequity in education and training has high hidden costs,

G. whereas investment in education and training has long-term economic and social benefits and must be planned on a long-term basis,

H. whereas in education and training systems a culture of appraisal must be established in order to ensure that the development of those systems can be monitored effectively on a long-term basis,

I.   whereas education and training policies must be linked to policies relating to employment, the economy and social integration,

J.   whereas education and training have a fundamental role in the development of a European identity based on intercultural education and peace.

K. whereas young women are still more likely to be unemployed than young men as the unemployment rate in the EU-27 was 18.1% for young women in 2006 compared with 16.9% for young men, whereas women are less represented in leading positions, despite the fact that in most Member States more women than men reach a high level of education,

EFFICIENCY AND EQUITY IN LIFELONG LEARNING

1.  Endorses the long-term-planning process in the field of lifelong learning, since investment in that field has long-term economic and social benefits;

2.  Acknowledges that investment at one level of education not only enables skills and capabilities to be developed at that level, it also establishes the basis for the acquisition of further abilities and qualifications at other educational levels;

3.  Supports the plan to create a European qualifications framework for lifelong learning which will facilitate recognition of educational achievement and allow visible, transparent switching between different study options;

4.  Believes there to be a need for a culture of appraisal in education and training systems - hence effective long-term policies must be based on reliable measurement;

5.  Welcomes the Commission’s attempt to take efficiency and equity in education into consideration when devising a framework of indicators and benchmarks for monitoring progress towards achievement of the Lisbon Objectives;

6.  Believes that in order to proceed with an examination of effectiveness/efficiency and equity of education systems in Europe, the terminology, both for effectiveness/efficiency and for equity, should be clarified; for the examination of the latter, individual characteristics such as gender, ethnic origin or disability (other than socio-economic) should be included;

7.  Acknowledges that investment in lifelong learning which is aimed at improving access and equity fosters social cohesion and enables individuals to solve problems, to adapt, to build up their self-esteem and to cope with change, which improves their personal development and makes it easier for them to deal with other changes in their lives;

8.   Calls on the Member States to implement gender responsive education and training policies and materials as a tool to eliminate gender inequality in education and employment and to eradicate gender stereotypes; urges the Member States to promote gender-atypical employment (for example more male teachers in primary schools and more women in science) for young people, including young children before the age at which key educational and career decisions are taken and in such a way that gender based occupational segregation is reduced; reiterates that higher quality gender-and-age-disaggregated data is a prerequisite for any policy;

ENSURING EFFICIENCY AND EQUITY IN THE FRAMEWORK OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING POLICIES   

Pre-school education: emphasis on teaching the very young

9.  Believes that efficiency and equity can be achieved individually if investment and reform are focused on the early stages of education;

10. Stresses the need to develop, from the pre-school phase, measures to encourage the integration of children from third countries resident in the territory of the European Union;

11. Calls upon the Member States to invest much more in pre-school - including nursery -education, since such investment can be an effective means of establishing the basis for future education, for developing a child’s intellect, for raising overall skills levels and can significantly increase the equity of the education system

12. Believes however that more research into pre-school education is necessary at the EU level, in particular in the field of early and targeted actions in order to identify the practices which produce the expected effects;

13. considers the quality of pre-school education to be partly dependent on adequately trained teachers, hence there is a need for a financially viable strategy to be followed which will result in both future-oriented, high quality education and satisfactory teaching careers;

14. Acknowledges that as from the pre-school stage, social diversity of classes and establishments must be ensured in order to avoid a differentiation of curricula and expectations;

15. Believes the involvement of parents by means of educational and information programmes (particularly in the case of disadvantaged children) to be important to the success of pre-school education;

16. Is in favour of all forms of pre-school education and intervention at an early age (when children's cognitive skills are developing) - this being of all the stages in the entire process of life-long learning the one which pays the highest dividend;

17. Urges the Member States to increase the number of subsidised places in pre-school education, thereby offering better opportunities to children under school age lacking financial security to benefit from the education system;

Primary and secondary education: improving the quality of primary education for all

18. Stresses that compulsory attendance at school and the training system should provide basic education and key skills; stresses further that education and appropriate key skills contribute to the achievement of fundamental social and civic values strengthen social cohesion and help to improve individual levels of qualification and employability;

19. Notes also that the role of schools, particularly at primary and secondary level, must primarily take account of intercultural values and education for peace, these being the hallmarks of a European identity;

20. Believes that premature categorisation has a detrimental effect on efficiency and equity in education systems;

21. Believes that equal access by disadvantaged people to quality education can also improve the efficiency and equity of European education systems;22.  Favours, on the other hand, creating a flexible range of study options at secondary-school level, which should not preclude a choice of a different track at subsequent educational stages;

23. Urges the Member States to monitor all school careers, particularly at moments of choice and orientation, and to ensure that their education systems support pupils and students by motivating their efforts to achieve their personal development;

24. In view of the different levels of support from which each pupil may benefit at home, throughout his/her school career, and the sometimes very unequal nature of the education provided, supports efforts to involve parents in the education process with a view to significantly reducing the risk of future social exclusion;

25. Calls upon the Member States to support initial and further training for teachers, to boost their motivation and to improve the qualitative conditions of school life - these being decisive factors in the achievement of efficiency and equity;

26. Urges the Member States to promote multilingualism at every level in the educational system, thereby improving the mobility of children, juveniles and adults within European territory and making the educational process within the EU more efficient;

27. Encourages the Member States to raise awareness of gender equality among teachers and education providers in order that they be able to promote respect for this principle among the younger generation;

University education: increasing investment and widening access

28. Acknowledges that university education is a key aspect of a knowledge-based economy and society;

29. Supports the plan to modernise universities with a view to ensuring that university education becomes more competitive, is available to everyone on an equitable basis and remains financially viable and effective;

30. Calls upon the Member States to increase efficiency and equity by creating suitable conditions and incentives for securing increased investment from public and private sources;

31. Acknowledges that providing university education free of charge will not necessarily and by itself guarantee equity; calls in that regard for further studies on the assumption that tuition fees are not an isolated issue but are part of a nexus of factors connected with financial incentives in combination with accompanying financial support which, in the case of disadvantaged groups, can reduce inequity in terms of access to university education;

32. Believes that tuition fees are not an isolated issue but are part of a nexus of factors connected with financial incentives in combination with accompanying financial support which, in the case of disadvantaged groups, reduce inequity in access to university education;

33. Stresses that universities must devise comprehensive information and admission policies, so as to be able to react to rapidly evolving social and economic needs;

Vocational education and training: increasing quality and value

34. Considers that, viewed in the light of an ageing population, the problem of permanently high youth unemployment is becoming increasingly serious;

35. In view of the problem of an ageing population, supports better provision of adult education in order to make it easier for people to adapt to the requirements of the employment market and for the low-skilled to become involved in education;

36. Stresses that young people with the lowest levels of educational achievement have great difficulty in entering the employment market and are the most vulnerable in the event of an economic downturn, they run a higher risk of unemployment and they are likely to end up doing less skilled work or casual labour;

37. Calls on the Member States to promote access for young women, especially from remote regions and vulnerable groups such as migrant women, women from ethnic minorities, disabled women and low-skilled women, to education and training; calls on the Member States to identify and exchange the best practices in the field and urges social partners and private and public enterprises to eliminate all forms of discrimination and to actively encourage the provision of work-based training, by removing all age-related barriers, and to support leave for training purposes for the disadvantaged;

38. Calls on the Member States to promote access for unemployed women, and those who have not succeeded in the compulsory education system, to publicly funded adult training schemes;

39. Calls on the Member States to implement policies that would facilitate the school-to-work transition for young people, with special attention being given to young women who tend to experience more difficulties; stresses that the higher quality of, and better access to, education and training and investments during youth have implications for the labour market during the latter stages of life; notes that an evaluation mechanism should be put in place in order to be able to assess the efficiency and impact of government education spending on young people who are unemployed, especially young women;

40. Calls on the Member States to support university excellence programmes since by providing highly qualified specialists in different areas, demand on the employment market would be met more effectively;

41. Point out that equal access for women and men to new technologies should be encouraged within education and training so as to bridge the digital divide between the sexes;

42. Urges the Member States to increase the proportion of, and strengthen the position of, women in science, engineering and technology; calls on the national governments to boost the number of women in leading positions and to measure progress by adopting qualitative and quantitative targets;

43. Recommends improved access to tertiary education and the development of opportunities enabling those who have completed their training to continue studying and further their education whilst working;

44. Stresses that training programmes on offer should be flexible in order to take into account employment-market demand - this being a particularly effective way of increasing employment opportunities for disadvantaged people; acknowledges in that regard that public investment should focus on the most disadvantaged target groups as they are the ones who benefit the least from continuing training;

45. Calls on the Member States to propose the flexible organisation of studies, in partnership with higher education and vocational training establishments, in order to meet more effectively the needs of young men and women who are working or attending to family responsibilities at the same time as studying and to prevent them from leaving education prematurely;

46. Calls upon the Member States to involve education institutions, companies, social and other partners and the public sector in a joint partnership concerned with the implementation of successful training programmes;

European Union Action

47. Stresses that the fundamental goal of EU action is to promote the convergence of EU education systems towards higher standards of performance;

48. Believes that in order to better target EU action it would be necessary to develop a process, based on reports periodically submitted by Member States as well as on independent verification, to appraise the performance of education and training systems in the EU, paying particular attention to the acquisition of basic skills by pupils and to the achievement of equity objectives;

49. Asks the Commission to publish regular reports on efficiency and equity in European

education and training systems in order to monitor progress towards higher standards of

performance;

50. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1)

OJ C313E, 20.12.2006, p.187.

(2)

OJ L 327, 24.11.06, p. 45.

(3)

OJC306E, 15.12.2006,p.165.

(4)

OJ L 394, 30.12.06, p. 10.

(5)

OJ C 233 E, 28.9.2006, p. 100.

(6)

OJ L 64, 04.03.06, p. 60.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

In the March 2000 Lisbon Council conclusions it was stressed that education is a key to the development of Europe's economy. In 2001 the Stockholm European Council agreed upon a work programme for Europe in the fields of education and training, with emphasis on the quality, effectiveness and equity thereof.

Equitable systems ensure that the results of education and training are unrelated to socio-economic background and to other factors which disadvantage individuals. Education systems are efficient as long as inputs generate maximum outputs. The efficiency of education systems is usually measured on the basis of test and examination results. In November 2006 we had an opportunity to acquaint ourselves with such results in the course of the hearing on education systems in the EU which our committee organised.

The task is thus to support individual education systems by involving pupils, students and adults from all social groups. The current state of affairs as regards the efficiency and equity of education systems is unsatisfactory. If significant improvements are not made in bringing children from disadvantaged social groups into pre-school education, no reduction will be achieved in the number of children who drop out from school prematurely and we shall not succeed in raising the standard achieved by those completing their secondary education and in teaching key skills. An increasing number of people will be vulnerable to the risk of social exclusion, unemployment and other socially undesirable activities which place a burden on them, on the economy and on society.

What specific social and economic benefits may we expect if we increase the efficiency and the equity of European education systems?

Education influences economic growth by increasing human capital and innovative capability and it enables technology to be disseminated. Each additional year of average school attendance raises productivity in an average EU country selectively by 6.2% and in the long-term by a further 3.1%, thanks to its contribution to more rapid technological development. Increasing the efficiency of education and training brings both individuals and society as a whole a return on investment of up to 8% per year. A further benefit is a reduction in unemployment: in today's EU the average unemployment rate is 12.6% amongst people who have completed primary or secondary education, as against 5% in the case of people who have completed higher education. Furthermore, recent research has shown that 75 million EU citizens - i.e. 32% of the workforce - has received insufficient education. In 2010 only 15% of new jobs will be available for that group of people - most of whom come from socially disadvantaged sectors of society.

Education and training policies must have a significant positive impact on social and economic results, sustainable development and social cohesion, whereas inefficiency and inequity entail huge costs: loss of tax revenue, a greater requirement for healthcare and support from public funds, and also the costs associated with a higher level of anti-social behaviour.

Education and training are basic factors contributing to long-term European economic growth, to competitiveness and to social cohesion.

For these reasons the rapporteur proposes that increased financial resources should be invested in pre-school education, where they pay the greatest dividends. He also believes that premature categorisation has a detrimental effect on efficiency and equity in education systems, whereas differentiation is effective at secondary-school level. He supports the idea of modernising universities in order to ensure that university education becomes more competitive, is accessible to all on an equitable basis and remains financially feasible and effective.


OPINION of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (17.7.2007)

for the Committee on Culture and Education

on efficiency and equity in European education and training systems

(2007/2113(INI))

Draftswoman: Christa Prets

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality calls on the Committee on Culture and Education, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

A. whereas young women are still more likely to be unemployed than young men as the unemployment rate in the EU-27 was 18.1% for young women in 2006 compared with 16.9% for young men, whereas women are less represented in leading positions, despite the fact that in most Member States more women than men reach a high level of education,

1.  Calls on the Member States to implement gender responsive education and training policies and materials as a tool to eliminate gender inequality in education and employment and to eradicate gender stereotypes; urges the Member States to promote gender-atypical employment (for example more male teachers in primary schools and more women in science) for young people, including young children before the age at which key educational and career decisions are taken and in such a way that gender based occupational segregation is reduced; reiterates that higher quality gender-and-age-disaggregated data is a prerequisite for any policy;

2.  Encourages the Member States to raise awareness of gender equality among teachers and education providers in order that they be able to promote respect for this principle among the younger generation;

3.  Calls on the Member States to promote access for young women, especially from remote regions and vulnerable groups such as migrant women, women from ethnic minorities, disabled women and low-skilled women, to education and training; calls on the Member States to identify and exchange the best practices in the field and urges social partners and private and public enterprises to eliminate all forms of discrimination and to actively encourage the provision of work-based training, by removing all age-related barriers, and to support leave for training purposes for the disadvantaged;

4.  Calls on the Member States to promote access for unemployed women, and those who have not succeeded in the compulsory education system, to publicly funded adult training schemes;

5.  Calls on the Member States to implement policies that would facilitate the school-to-work transition for young people, with special attention being given to young women who tend to experience more difficulties; stresses that the higher quality of, and better access to, education and training and investments during youth have implications for the labour market during the latter stages of life; notes that an evaluation mechanism should be put in place in order to be able to assess the efficiency and impact of government education spending on young people who are unemployed, especially young women;

6.  Calls on the Member States to propose the flexible organisation of studies, in partnership with higher education and vocational training establishments, in order to meet more effectively the needs of young men and women who are working or attending to family responsibilities at the same time as studying and to prevent them from leaving education prematurely;

7.  Point out that equal access for women and men to new technologies should be encouraged within education and training so as to bridge the digital divide between the sexes;

8.  Urges the Member States to increase the proportion of, and strengthen the position of, women in science, engineering and technology; calls on the national governments to boost the number of women in leading positions and to measure progress by adopting qualitative and quantitative targets;

PROCEDURE

Title

The efficiency and equity in European education and training systems

Procedure number

2007/2113(INI)

Committee responsible

CULT

Opinion by
  Date announced in plenary

FEMM

6.6.2007

Enhanced cooperation – date announced in plenary

 

Drafts(wo)man
  Date appointed

Christa Prets

11.4.2007

Previous drafts(wo)man

 

Discussed in committee

4.6.2007

16.7.2007

 

 

 

Date adopted

16.7.2007

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

27

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Edit Bauer, Hiltrud Breyer, Věra Flasarová, Nicole Fontaine, Claire Gibault, Lissy Gröner, Zita Gurmai, Esther Herranz García, Anneli Jäätteenmäki, Urszula Krupa, Roselyne Lefrancois, Siiri Oviir, Marie Panayotopoulos-Cassiotou, Zita Pleštinská, Christa Prets, Karin Resetarits, Teresa Riera Madurell, Amalia Sartori, Eva-Britt Svensson, Anna Záborská

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Gabriela Creţu, Jill Evans, Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg, Anna Hedh, Marusya Ivanova Lyubcheva,

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

Ján Hudacký, Peter Šťastný

Comments (available in one language only)

...


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

10.9.2007

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

20

1

0

Members present for the final vote

Ivo Belet, Giovanni Berlinguer, Marie-Hélène Descamps, Milan Gaľa, Ovidiu Victor Ganţ, Vasco Graça Moura, Luis Herrero-Tejedor, Ruth Hieronymi, Manolis Mavrommatis, Ljudmila Novak, Doris Pack, Pál Schmitt, Hannu Takkula, Helga Trüpel, Henri Weber, Thomas Wise, Tomáš Zatloukal

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Erna Hennicot-Schoepges, Elisabeth Morin, Christel Schaldemose, Ewa Tomaszewska

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2)
present for the final vote

 

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