The Directorate-General for Education and Culture of the European Commission has organised a consultation on "Opening up Education - a proposal for a European Initiative to enhance education and skills development through new technologies". From 13 August to 13 November 2012 all stakeholders affected by education and training policies and systems, including school education, vocational education and training, higher education and adult education, could contribute.
Two weeks ago Commisisoner Vassiliou presented the results in new strategy: Rethinking Education Strategy. The objective of the strategy is 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. Rethinking Education calls for a fundamental shift in education, with more focus on 'learning outcomes' - the knowledge, skills and competences that students acquire.
The new strategy also gives due importance to the use of ICT, Open Educational Resources (OERs) and modernisation of assessment methods to ensure the relevance of education – “To ensure that education is more relevant to the needs of students and the labour market, 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.”
Rethinking Education in brief:
- There needs to be a much stronger focus on developing transversal skills and basic skills at all levels. This applies especially to entrepreneurial and IT skills.
- A new benchmark on foreign language learning: 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).
- Investment is needed to build world-class vocational education and training systems and increase levels of work-based learning.
- Member States need to improve the recognition of qualifications and skills, including those gained outside of the formal education and training system.
- Technology, in particular the internet, must be fully exploited. Schools, universities and vocational and training institutions must increase access to education via open educational resources.
- These reforms must be supported by well-trained, motivated and entrepreneurial teachers.
- Funding needs to be targeted to maximise the return on investment. Debate at both national and EU level is needed on funding for education - especially in vocational education and higher education.
- A partnership approach is critical. Both public and private funding is necessary to boost innovation and increase cross-fertilisation between academia and business.