Education and Training Monitor Report 2020: European countries did not meet the ET2020 targets in education

© The European Commission

This year’s Education and Training Monitor proves that several European countries did not reach the ET2020 targets and explains that schools in Europe are not adequately prepared for the digital transition. The report also warns about increasing inequalities in education.

The European Commission published the new Education and Training Monitor 2020, the annual report measuring the progress in the European education systems towards the goals of the ET2020 Strategic Framework[1]. While using data of other recent international reports, such as OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) and Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the Education and Training Monitoring takes stock of the situation, as the year 2020 was the final term to reach the ET2020 targets in the education sector. The results of this report also contribute to the evaluation that member states receive in the framework of the European Semester. Looking forward, the new European Education Area sets out new targets to be achieved in the period 2020-2025.

According to the report, the ET2020 targets have been only partially achieved. The 10% target of early school leaving has been achieved only by 19 countries. The countries with the highest level of early school leaving are Spain (17,3%), Malta (16,7%) and Romania (15,3%). The target of 40% of tertiary education attainment of people aged 30-34 has been achieved. Since 2009, this target progressively improved in all member states with an overall progression of 9.2%. Yet, some countries, for example Romania and Italy, have not reached the rate of 30%. Despite the high level of participation in early childhood education, the European Union has not met the target to increase the participation in early childhood education and care to 95% of children between 4-year-old and the age for starting compulsory primary education. Some Member States, such as Greece (75.2%), Croatia (81.0%), Slovakia (82.2%), Bulgaria (82.4%) and Romania (86.3%) remain well below the goal.

This year’s report also covers a thematic analysis on teaching and learning in the digital age, multilingualism and investment in education. The outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis further accelerated the digitalisation of education through online teaching and learning, not without negative consequences. Legitimate doubts have been raised on whether teachers and students have been adequately equipped for this digital transition. While 80% of young people have good digital skills and competences, socio-economic disadvantage of students has an impact on the acquisition of those skills, as disadvantaged students are underperforming. In addition to that, in 2018, around 4% of European families could not afford a computer or an internet connection. Moreover, schools are not able to help these families as they also lack adequate digital equipment. ETUCE agrees with the report warning that the digital gap risks causing serious digital exclusion in education. 

The report underlines that teachers do not feel properly prepared for digital teaching, and half of the secondary education teachers reported that ICT was not included in their initial training. The Education and Training Monitor 2020 highlights that teachers need to be provided with adequate digital competences both in initial and continuous professional training.

ETUCE is also concerned that the digital transition deepens inequalities in education, exclusion, marginalisation and poverty of students at risk. National governments need to take more responsibilities to increase public investment in education and to provide students and teachers with decent digital competences and pedagogical methods to make sure that digitalisation in education leaves nobody behind.  

Read the full Education and Training Monitor here.

[1] The strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020) is a forum which allows Member States to exchange best practices and to learn from each other.