28 January 2011, by Prof V. Lynn Meek
Europe, like Australia, is concerned about the level of educational participation of its young people, particularly with respect to engaging youth from lower socio-economic backgrounds and building the human capital necessary for a robust knowledge-based economy. In response to the five million young unemployed Europeans and EU 2020 targets of reducing the proportion of early school leavers from 15% to 10% and increasing the share of young people with tertiary education qualifications from 31% to 40%, in late 2010 the European Commission launched Youth on the Move: Strengthening Support to Europe’s Young People. In words reminiscent of those used in the recent Australian Review of Higher Education, Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner For Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said that “The EU needs even more young people in tertiary education so that they reach their full potential. The EU needs even more young people who are highly skilled, knowledgeable and innovative if it is to prosper in the future”.