Commissioner Cresson launches LEONARDO DA VINCI During a recent visit to Finland, Mrs. Edith Cresson, the Commissioner responsible for science, research and development, and education and training, discussed the importance of vocational training and the added value of the LEONARDO DA VINCI programme. The programme is desig... During a recent visit to Finland, Mrs. Edith Cresson, the Commissioner responsible for science, research and development, and education and training, discussed the importance of vocational training and the added value of the LEONARDO DA VINCI programme. The programme is designed for students, young people following basic training courses, and workers undergoing continuing training. The programme has a minimum budget of ECU 620 million for the period 1995-1999 and will extend the life of Community vocational training projects, such as COMETT, PETRA, LINGUA and FORCE. The objectives of the programme are to: - Improve the quality of vocational training in Europe; - Encourage exchanges and placements; - Achieve a better understanding of vocational training and identification of priorities; - Encourage adaptation to the information society. Commissioner Cresson pointed out that the present system of education, which determines once and for all the professional career of young people once they have completed their studies, seems increasingly outmoded. Lifelong education makes it possible to maintain and improve the competitiveness of businesses. The principle of the LEONARDO DA VINCI programme therefore is that it is essential to provide continuous lifelong education for everyone. She said that this should be a political objective of national policies and not just a model for a few isolated experiments. Mrs. Cresson intends to use the resources of LEONARDO DA VINCI to encourage continuous education. The Community will support national activities and will become involved directly only if it can do better than what is already being done. Without taking responsibility away from the Member States, the purpose of this programme is to give an extra boost to vocational training in Europe in the following ways: - Supporting a number of projects including several Member States which will enhance the quality of training and improve the systems in operation in all Member States; - Promoting exchanges and work experience, thereby broadening the horizons of young people and also of companies; - Encouraging projects which use new technologies and thereby encourage familiarity with the tools of the information society. The Commissioner said that the information society is, first and foremost, a society based on training. A principal task for Europe is to develop a multimedia programme industry, with the emphasis on training and educational software Mr. Martin Bangemann, Commissioner responsible for industry, and Mrs. Cresson have decided that the various departments of the Commission will work together to encourage the development of educational software in Europe which will be a priority during 1996 - the European Year of Lifelong Learning.