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European Commission - Press release

Education report warns of growing teacher shortages

Brussels, 10 February 2012 – Several Member States, including Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria and Belgium, may face serious teacher shortages in the future, according to a new report published by the European Commission. The report, entitled 'Key Data on Education in Europe 2012', was presented to EU Education Ministers at their meeting in Brussels this morning. It shows that the number of graduates specialising in education is falling at a time when many current teachers are approaching retirement age. But it also highlights encouraging signs: funding for education is stable in most Member States and it underlines that higher education remains the best insurance policy against unemployment, with graduates more likely to find a job faster than non-graduates.

"This report is an invaluable resource for policy-makers and provides important guidance for future decisions. The professional development of teachers is a key factor in ensuring high quality education for our students. That's why Erasmus for All [the Commission's proposed new programme for education, training and youth] aims to strengthen the professional development of teaching staff while at the same time modernising education systems," commented Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.

The report finds that targeted training for teachers, such as mentoring, guidance for assessment and classroom observation, is now more widespread across Europe. However, these measures have not been sufficient to increase the attractiveness of teaching. The Commission wants to contribute to the attractiveness and quality of the profession by providing 1 million teachers with opportunities to gain teaching and training experience abroad as part of its proposed Erasmus for All programme.

The report finds that the share of the population with a tertiary qualification has risen and that graduates find jobs twice as quickly as people with lower qualifications (5 months compared to 9.8 months). This finding shows that the European Union's 2020 target for a 40% level of higher education attainment is supported by solid evidence; however it is also clear that graduates are increasingly over-qualified for their jobs and that some professions offer better employment perspectives than others; the choice of course is therefore increasingly important.

Background

The 'Key Data on Education 2012' report was presented to EU Education Ministers alongside a joint Council-Commission report entitled 'Education and Training in a smart, sustainable and inclusive Europe' (see MEMO/12/76).

The report is produced jointly by the Eurydice network and Eurostat. It traces the main developments in European education systems over the past decade. combining statistical data with qualitative information to describe the organisation, management and functioning of 37 European education systems, from pre-primary to higher education. The data is collected through the national units of the Eurydice network, Eurostat, and the 2009 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) international survey compiled by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The previous Key Data on Education report was published in 2009.

The publication covers priority areas for European cooperation in education and training and the broader European strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The 95 indicators in the report cover areas such as demographic context, educational structures, participation, resources, teachers and management staff, educational processes and qualification levels and transition to employment.

The Eurydice network provides information on and analyses of European education systems and policies. It consists of 37 national units based in all 33 countries participating in the EU's Lifelong Learning programme (EU Member States, EFTA countries, Croatia and Turkey). It is co-ordinated and managed by the EU Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency in Brussels.

For more information:

Highlights of the report Key Data on Education in Europe 2012:

http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/documents/key_data_series/134EN_HI.pdf

Video interview on Key Data on Education in Europe 2012 with Brian Holmes and Andrea Puhl from the Executive Agency for Education, Audiovisual and Culture

Androulla Vassiliou's website

Follow Androulla Vassiliou onTwitter @VassiliouEU

Percentages of students aged 15 attending schools where teaching is affected by a lack of qualified teachers in the core subjects, 2009

Average length of transition from education to work by educational attainment level, 2009

Trends in the annual expenditure on public education institutions by pupil/student, in EUR (thousands), 2000 and 2008. The data shows constant prices adjusted for purchasing power.

Source: Eurostat, UOE and national accounts statistics.

Tertiary education graduates in employment by occupational category and sex, 2010

Professionals and managers

Technicians and associate professionals

Clerks, service and sales workers

Craft workers, machine operators

Males

Females

Source: Eurostat, Labour Force Survey

Contacts :

Dennis Abbott (+32 2 295 92 58), Twitter: @DennisAbbott

Dina Avraam (+32 2 295 96 67)


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