Concrete future objectives of education systems
The aim of this report is to set out the concrete future objectives of education systems for the next ten years, in accordance with the mandate given by the conclusions of the Lisbon European Council held on 23 and 24 March 2000. These jointly-agreed objectives, which will allow all Europeans to participate in the new knowledge society, will be met using the "open method of coordination".
Report from the Commission of 31 January 2001: The concrete future objectives of education systems [COM(2001) 59 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
On the basis of the Member States' contributions, the Commission and the Council set out a number of joint objectives for the future and defined how education and training systems should contribute to achieving the strategic goal set in Lisbon. This is the first document which outlines a comprehensive and consistent approach for national policies on education in the context of the European Union. The approach is based on three objectives:
The Council focused its attention on the three objectives below.
Objective 1: Improving the quality of education and training systems
Education and training are an excellent means of social and cultural cohesion and a considerable economic asset with a view to making Europe a more competitive and dynamic society. It is necessary to improve the quality of training for teachers and trainers and make a special effort to acquire the basic skills, which must be updated in order to keep pace with changes in the knowledge society. Literacy and numeracy also need to be improved, particularly with regard to information and communication technologies and general skills (e.g. learning to learn, teamwork, etc.). Improving the quality of facilities in schools and training institutes by making the best use of resources is a further priority, as is increasing recruitment in scientific and technical fields, such as mathematics and natural sciences, in order to ensure that Europe remains competitive in the future economy. Finally, raising the quality of education and training systems means better matching of resources and needs, and enabling schools to develop new partnerships to support their new, wider role.
For the first objective, the following results are to be pursued:
- ensure that all education and training institutions have access to the Internet and to multimedia resources by the end of 2001;
- take steps to ensure that all the teachers involved are qualified in the use of these technologies by the end of 2002;
- bring about a substantial increase in per capita investment in human resources every year.
Objective 2: Making access to learning easier
The European model of social cohesion must be able to allow access for all to formal and non-formal education and training systems by making it easier to move from one part of the education system to another (e.g. from vocational education to higher education), from early childhood right through to later life. Opening up education and training systems and working to make these systems more attractive, and even adapting them to meet the needs of the various groups concerned, can play an important part in promoting active citizenship, equal opportunities and lasting social cohesion.
Objective 3: Opening education and training to the world
This objective involves building the European education and training area through mobility and foreign language teaching on the one hand and strengthening the links with the world of work, research and civil society as a whole on the other.
The following results are to be pursued:
- promote training for entrepreneurs and self-employed workers;
- encourage people to study two European Union languages in addition to their mother tongue(s) for a minimum of two consecutive years;
- promote the mobility of students, teachers, trainers and researchers.
The new strategic goal for the European Union, which was set out at the Lisbon European Council of 23 and 24 March 2000, is to "become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion".
On the basis of a proposal from the Commission and contributions from the Member States, the Council adopted the current report. This report was approved in March 2001 by the Stockholm European Council, which asked for a detailed work programme to be prepared.
The Lisbon European Council recommended using the open method of coordination in order to achieve this new strategic goal. The open method of coordination, the most developed form of which is currently the Luxembourg process, consists of a coordinated strategy in which the Member States set common objectives and instruments.