Europe needs a radical rethink on education © shho (stock.xchng)Skills are key to productivity and Europe needs a radical rethink on how education and training systems can deliver the skills needed for the labour market. To meet this challenge the European Commission launched on 20 November 2012 a new strategy called Rethinking Education. This strategy, developed with the JRC's contribution, encourages Member States to take immediate action to ensure that young people develop the right skills and competences and find a rewarding job.
The JRC's Centre for Research on Lifelong Learning (CRELL), managed by the Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC), has contributed to the setup of this strategy with co-authored studies providing:

  • country analysis that summarise the performance and policy reforms of the Member States, providing essential elements to monitor the implementation of the country-specific recommendations within the Europe 2020 strategy.
  • the education and training monitor, a new analytical tool that provides a comprehensive overview of the core indicators on education and training systems in Europe, enabling the comparison of progress as well as the identification of the immediate challenges for Member States. 

The JRC has also been involved in the new benchmark proposed by the Commission on foreign language learning. Developed in collaboration with the Directorate General for Education and Culture, it is based on this year's European survey on language competences. This survey assesses pupils' knowledge of the first and second foreign languages at the end of lower secondary education.
The survey provides, for the first time ever, empirical evidence on the ability of young Europeans to communicate across borders, their attitudes, expectations and exposure to foreign languages, as well as teaching methods and approaches in this field.
Background information

The "Rethinking education" strategy calls for stronger focus on developing transversal skills and basic skills at all levels, especially entrepreneurial and IT skills, and for the full exploitation of new technologies, in particular the internet. It also states that adequate funding is needed to build world-class vocational education and training systems and increase levels of work-based learning. Moreover, it calls for improving the recognition of qualifications and skills, including those gained outside of the formal education and training system.
The new foreign language learning benchmark proposed by the Commission aims that by 2020, at least 50% of 15 year olds should have knowledge of a first foreign language (up from 42% today) and at least 75% should study a second foreign language (61% today).