Challenges with regard to inclusiveness
European systems and universities still largely fail with regard to inclusiveness, as minority groups even don’t have the same access to higher education. In several EU member states, already the drop-out from school is unacceptable (figures raising to more than 25%).
Despite progress over the last five years in the percentages of those qualifying from higher education, member states fail in other areas: 73 million adults have only a low level of education; nearly 20% of 15 year olds lack sufficient skills in reading; and participation in lifelong learning is only 8.9%.
This is already dramatic for the citizens concerned. It is difficult to survive in a knowledge society without having basic competences and digital literacy skills. By leaving these people out of the system, they are the first victims of unemployment. This is inhibitive for social cohesion and equity in society.
By 2020, 20% more jobs will even require higher level skills. Education needs to drive up both standards and levels of achievement to match this demand, as well as encourage the transversal skills needed to ensure people are able to be entrepreneurial and adapt to the increasingly inevitable changes in the labour market during their career.
When the system fails in mainstream education, it has to create provisons for adults. In a competitive economy, no talent can be lost. They can not be replaced by the next generation as demographics makes that they simply are not there.