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A Union at Risk Education reform in the European Union


A Union at Risk? Education reform in the European Union. Clive Belfield. Queens College ... Equity, preservation of uniformity and promotion of European identity ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: A Union at Risk Education reform in the European Union

A Union at Risk? Education reform in the European
  • Clive Belfield
  • Queens College
  • City University of New York

A Nation At Risk (1983)
  • US predicted to suffer economically unless the
    education system was radically reformed and
  • Few of the reforms in A Nation At Risk were
    implemented current reforms were not mentioned
    federal role still small
  • In the next two decades, relative to Europe, the
    US economy grew strongly
  • Manufacturing productivity grew 25 faster
  • Investment in Information/Communication
    technology was more intensive
  • Unemployment rate was much lower

A nation still at risk?
  • Key educational indicators are very unflattering
    for the US relative to European countries (OECD
  • Lowest Pisa scores in reading, math, and science
    at age 15
  • 3rd lowest high school graduation rate
  • 2nd highest in public spending per K-12 student
  • Yet labor market indicators for the US are much
    more flattering
  • US easily outpaces Europe in the proportions of
    workers with tertiary education
  • Wage premia for US college graduates over high
    school graduates exceed those in Europe
  • Employment rates for college graduates are
    generally higher than in Europe

Resolving the puzzle?
  • A) Higher education
  • Continental Europe has only 5 universities in the
    THES top 50
  • US outspends Europe at all levels, but the gap is
    enormous at the college level
  • B) Private investments
  • US and European governments spend about the same
    on education at 5 of GDP
  • US private spending is another 2
  • No EU-OECD country reaches 1
  • C) Labor market
  • Earnings value of college degree in innovative
    economy (not vocational education)

EU reforms Schooling
  • Lisbon Agenda from 2000 to 2010
  • Reduce school dropout rate by 50 reduce to 10
  • Raise percent of 25-64 year olds with upper
    secondary education to 80 85 of 22-year olds
  • Reduce by 50 20 the percentage of
    low-achieving 15-year-olds in reading,
  • Reduce the gender imbalance in Math/Science by
    50 unspecified
  • Raise to 15 12.5 the participation rate of
    workers in lifelong learning

Lisbon Agenda laudable
  • Enormous changes
  • No evidence on how to effect change
  • Challenges of measurement
  • Family background
  • Limited evidence of pay-off
  • Equity enhancing
  • No emphasis on private motivations

EU reforms Higher Education
  • Bologna Declaration (1999)
  • adopt a system of easily readable and comparable
  • adopt a system based on two cycles, undergraduate
    and graduate
  • establish a system of credits
  • promote mobility for students and staff
  • promote co-operation in quality assurance
  • promote EU dimensions in higher education
  • Added from Prague Communiqué (2001)
  • emphasis on lifelong learning
  • emphasis on student involvement
  • promote attractiveness of European Higher
    Education Area

  • Funding, private investments, labor market?
  • Public funding trend is down
  • Efficiency gains are very hard to find
  • Great reluctance to charge fees anywhere close to
    cost (fees mean lower subsidy)
  • Equity, preservation of uniformity and promotion
    of European identity
  • Cross-country mobility not public-private
  • Bureaucratic control not price control
  • Price mechanism can produce efficiency gains and
    orient higher education toward the labor market
  • More programs with higher labor market value
  • More professors who generate higher value
  • Risk spreading between students and state
  • Student selection
  • Recent attempts to introduce these reforms have
    met with student opposition (France, Greece)

EU labor policy
  • Emphasis on denial of the benefits of
    competition as a determinant of wages
  • Social Chapter as basis of dialogue between
    management and labor (social protection)
  • Wage compression from collective bargaining
  • Company-wide information, consultation, and
    participation, Works Councils
  • Insider protection
  • Reduce the private returns to education
  • productivity benefits shared across workers
  • risks of low skill shared with state

  • In the US, focus on
  • Labor market outcomes, not educational metrics
    (lessens the sense of crisis)
  • Higher education as a link to labor market
  • Choice and flexibility from federal government
  • Private funding and incentives
  • (education as a private good)
  • For the EU, focus on
  • Educational metrics
  • (underplays the sense of crisis)
  • Preservation of a state system
  • (metrics not structural reform)
  • Public not private funding (political and social
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