Parliament focuses on teaching quality in education reform

Life-long learning and promoting new skills such as media and ICT literacy will be key if Europe is to become a world leader in education and training by 2010, argues a European Parliament report approved yesterday (18 December).

  • Published: Friday 19 December 2008
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In a set of non-binding recommendations, MEPs argued that teachers and the elderly in particular should be trained in new skills needed for the future labour market. While teachers’ role is crucial in preparing future generations for the jobs market, older people have to be able to compete with younger colleagues, especially in times of global economic downturn, which usually significantly increase unemployment, MEPs argued.

The quality of teaching and teachers also featured prominently in the Commission’s new skills initiative, which is based on the assumption that the labour market will drastically change by 2020 (EurActiv 17/12/08). Around 20 million new jobs could be created, many of them in ICT or ‘green’ technologies, the EU executive argued.

Ligia Deca, chairperson of the European Students’ Union (ESU), told EurActiv that focusing on the quality of teaching was “critical” because it created a link between higher education and research. What is needed are “concrete benchmarks” to encourage countries to “actually take actions”, she said.

The outgoing French EU Presidency introduced good initiatives in this field, but it will be up to the incoming Czech Presidency to follow up on these, Legia believes. But education is not among the priorities of the Czechs, who said they would rather focus on the economy, energy and external relations (EurActiv 14/11/08; also see our Links Dossier)

Learning foreign languages and teaching entrepreneurship were other key issues highlighted by the Parliament in its report. But they also stressed the need for creativity and innovation to make Europe a world leader in education. Innovation and creativity will also be the theme of the ‘European Year’ in 2009.

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