EDUCATION COUNCIL : MINISTERS CONCERNED OVER SKILLS GAPS.

The Council is calling on member states and the EU to invest in education and training systems in order to deal with skill gaps. Meeting in Brussels, on 24 February, the member states' ministers recommended a more innovative approach to education and training, particularly the integration of digital learning in traditional education. They also spoke out against budgetary cuts and are in favour of long-term investment.

According to the most recent study by PIAAC (Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies), one in five adults has poor literacy and numeracy skills, and one in four is not capable of using information and communication technology. Nonetheless, sixteen member states reduced spending on education between 2008 and 2011, and six imposed major budgetary cuts in 2012.

The ministers identified four main priorities for the 'European semester' in 2014: 1. facilitate long-term investment, placing more emphasis on efficiency and quality; 2. enhance lifelong training and promote equal opportunities; 3. facilitate the transition between education-training and work by promoting training systems within the professional context and, where necessary, by increasing the availability of high-quality internships and apprenticeships; and 4. continue to modernise and improve educational methods and to make the most of the opportunities...

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