The Directorate-General for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport launched its annual Education and Training Monitor at the European Commission, 17th October 2018. Given the sensitive and decisive political circumstances facing Europe, citizenship education was chosen as this year’s main focus.

During the launch, it was reported that, according to the 2016 International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS), schools that promote civic knowledge influence adolescents’ civic attitudes and behavioural intentions in Europe. However, it also highlighted that just 53% of European students feel “European”. Furthermore, a presentation of Eurydice’s report “Citizenship Education at School in Europe 2017” revealed that citizenship education was being taught in a cross-curricular fashion and that many gaps are reported in terms of the provision of citizenship education as part of initial teacher training.

In addition, a positive overview of the progress towards reaching the ET2020 benchmarks was presented:

  • Early leavers from education and training stood at 10.6% in 2017, only marginally higher than the 10% target.
  • The tertiary target of 40% has practically been achieved, with 39.9% of the population aged between 30-34 holding a third-level qualification.
  • Participation in early childhood education targets have already been reached. However, the Commission noted that the emphasis should be on quality of early childhood education and not only enrolment rates.
  • The share of employed graduates stands at 80%, just 2% below the Education & Training 2020 benchmark.

Nonetheless, the European Commission noted some shortcomings. Member States are far from reaching the 15% adult learning target, with only 4.3% of adults having participated in recognised training courses in 2017. What is more, mobility goals are off course with just 10.7% of higher education graduates being mobile, compared to the 20% target, and the low level of European students’ basic skills remains a concern.

ETUCE applauds the progress being made to achieve the ET2020 benchmarks and supports the focus on the transmission of democratic and European values. At the same time, we call for free early childhood education and care to ensure that inclusive education is a reality for all children. ETUCE underlines the need for adequate teacher training in order to teach citizenship education in an effective manner.