Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Reforming the education systems across the EU.

Recently in most debates on how best to deal with the current economic crisis in Europe, the issue of youth unemployment dominates the discussions. And no wonder. One of the worse consequences of the economic crisis is the high youth unemployment rates across Europe. The young generation is the worse hit with up to 50% unemployment rates in countries like Spain and Greece. 

Many ideas of creating new jobs and tackling youth unemployment are being put on the table by politicians, thinkers, businessmen and workers' unions representatives. New working contracts, social security plans, new jobs and industries to be introduced, are some of the suggestions or solutions proposed.

The problem is, that if we want these solutions to be long lasting, we need to start investing in different educational system too. If we invest in new industries, innovation and a new European economy, we will have to train and prepare our youth to be equipped and qualified for those changes. 

In the future, if Europe becomes more "green" and innovative, there will be many new kind of jobs in offer. How many European youths have degrees for them? We need to reform first the European education system, before we reform the European economy. Otherwise we will have people with too many degrees, but no jobs on what they studied to find work as their countries' economies will change dramatically. 

We need to rethink what kind of professionals we want for the future and instead of importing them from other countries, perhaps try to create them in Europe first. A multilingual, young and highly skilled workforce is needed if we want to kick start Europe's economy and make the recovery last, if not prevent future crisis. 

We have the grounds for multilingualism and we do have some of the best universities on the planet. All we have to do is reform the third education level across Europe and perhaps harmonize them. In some countries they still teach modules that have little use in our modern society, or with outdated methods. 

Hopefully all EU states will agree to introduce a new way of teaching old modules, or new modules altogether that will help students accumulate the right knowledge that will help them pursue a career path with prospects. This of course combined with new policies introduced that will help young people find work and make themselves attractive for employment.

Tackling European youth unemployment requires many reforms in the European economy and its workforce. But should we leave out our youths' education, then any victory will be short lived. And when the next crisis arrives we will once again wonder what we must do to tackle the same problem. We will once again fail Europe's young generation.