Investing in education
The LLLPlatform has been raising the need to invest in education – formal and non-formal through the development of validation schemes, the provision of adult education, teacher training, targeted measures for disadvantaged groups and to prevent early school leaving.
Evidence is striking; the number of people at risk of poverty and social exclusion in the EU increased from 114 million in 2009 to 122,3 million in 2014. In January 2016, the youth unemployment rate was 19.7 % in the EU-28 – 48% in Greece, 45% in Spain, 44% in Croatia; while those neither in employment nor in education and training (NEETs) have significantly increased in OECD countries since the start of the crisis. Inequalities persist in European education and training systems where vulnerable groups such as migrants are particularly disadvantaged.
Beyond formal education, participation of adults in lifelong learning has been stagnating for many years (PIAAC) and 20% of the EU working age population has low literacy and numeracy skills, reducing by half their chances to be employed but also to access basic welfare services, participate in democratic and associative life or develop a sense of social cohesion. One of the key findings of the Education and Training Monitor 2014 is that socio-economic and socio-cultural inequalities continue to impact negatively upon educational outcomes.
The cost of non-investing in education especially for the most vulnerable groups is very high. Lower-skilled adults in literacy are for instance twice less likely to be employed but also to access basic welfare services, participate in democratic and associative life or even develop a sense of social cohesion.
The LLLPlatform is thus calling for a long-term and sustainable investment in lifelong learning.