European Commission Doubles Down on Literacy

The European Commission is reconfirming its commitment to creating an education system that will serve each student equally well regardless of their individual circumstances. Education quality remains on top of the EC's Development Agenda well beyond 2015. To raise money to support this goal, the EC will be holding a high level event in Brussels this week.

Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs is expected to announce that a full 20% of the commission's aid budget will go towards human development and social inclusion of which education is a part. A total of 2.5 billion Euros will be allocated to improve academics not only within the borders of EC members, but over the entire world.

At least 1.5 billion Euros will go towards funding a so-called Erasmus for All program, which is a university exchange system on a grand scale, allowing students from EU countries to transfer to any college around the world.

Commissioner Piebalgs will also make a commitment to ensuring that by 2030, every child will be able to complete basic education, regardless of their circumstances, and have basic literacy and numeracy skills. "I find it unacceptable that there are still 61 million children who don't have access to basic education today. As a former teacher and minister of education myself, I feel very strongly that every child has the right to a quality education, no matter where they live. That's why I'm delighted to be able to announce significant support to education for the next seven years. By helping children after primary school, we're giving them opportunities to make a living and improve their lives once they leave school." said Commissioner Piebalgs.

Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth welcomed the increased education funding, pointing out that common problems that hold students back from academic success – such as lack of literacy or numeracy skills – are problems worldwide, not just in developing countries. Making sure that EC students can read better will go a long way to improving the community's long-term economic outlook.

Commissioner Vassiliou will also highlight a range of successful European best practices promoting literacy at the conference. Her examples are expected to draw on recommendations made by an EU high level group on literacy. The Commissioners are also expected to emphasise the need for better quality education and more accountability, so that there is more information available locally in the countries in which the EU works on how schools are run, the resources available and their use.

05 28, 2013
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