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Kelly Calls on Europe to Meet C21st Skills Challenge


Education and Skills Secretary Ruth Kelly is calling on EU education ministers to join her in the challenge to increase investment in skills for the 21st Century.

Kelly told an informal meeting of education ministers in London yesterday that she believes education and skills will drive up economic performance and have a positive impact on societies and citizens.

She added that she planned to use the Britain's Presidency of the EU to highlight how education and skills can boost economic performance.

"We all aspire to achieve the Lisbon goal of becoming the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world with sustainable growth providing the foundation for more and better jobs and greater social cohesion," Kelly said. "Now is the time for us as education and skills Ministers to take centre stage as we seek to achieve that aim. And, by working with our Austrian and Finnish colleagues, who take over the EU Presidency in 2006, I am sure we will succeed."

At the meeting European Commissioner Ján Figel’ explained the skills challenge facing the EU. “By 2010, nearly half of new jobs in the EU will need higher education qualifications and only 15% basic schooling: transparency, mutual trust and cooperation between member states in this area are therefore crucial in order to promote qualifications and competences throughout Europe in a clear and coherent manner.”


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