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Commission and German government united on importance of education for a knowledge society

EU Commissioner for Education and Culture, Viviane Reding, called for further efforts to create a European higher education area, and thus secure a knowledge society, on 16 October, while one day later, German State Secretary at the Ministry for Education and Research, Wolf-Mi...

EU Commissioner for Education and Culture, Viviane Reding, called for further efforts to create a European higher education area, and thus secure a knowledge society, on 16 October, while one day later, German State Secretary at the Ministry for Education and Research, Wolf-Michael Catenhusen, promised that France and Germany will be the motor for this initiative. 'We have evidence that investment in human resources contributes to growth and productivity at least to the same degree as capital or physical investment,' claimed Ms Reding. 'Education and training are therefore the prerequisites for a quality workforce and for an innovative society,' she added. However, there is evidence to support Ms Reding's allegation that 'The Union and Member States are simply not doing enough.' Fewer than one in ten European adults take part in further education and training, and while the EU produces more science and technology graduates than the US and Japan, many of the Community's graduates are lost to these countries, continuing their learning there, and leaving the EU with fewer researchers than its competitors. 'We are trying to build a knowledge society in Europe, but we are forgetting its very foundation: educating and training people. By doing this, we are jeopardising our future capacity for growth and our competitiveness,' said the Commissioner. The solution? '[T]o make Europe one of the most favoured destinations for students, researchers and professors,' according to Ms Reding. This involves, she said, promoting excellence in EU universities and ensuring that they are provided with the necessary resources. At least two of the EU's Member States are already focused on higher education. The establishment of a fifth Franco-German graduates' college takes the countries one step closer to the creation of joint post graduate courses, claimed Mr Catenhusen. In addition to common study programmes, France and Germany are also working on the closer networking of their scientific spin-offs. Germany's extremely close coordination with France in the fields of education and research, which is not replicated with any other country, according to Mr Catenhusen, was further evidenced by the joint proposal on growth in Europe, said the State Secretary. The initiative highlighted technological progress and research cooperation as main priorities. Support would come from public investment.

Countries

Germany, France