This article was first published on Regions2030.com
It is no secret for anyone, education is the key to freedom and success. Basic education, which ranges from early childhood education to primary and secondary education, paves the way for a child’s future life. Indeed, people with a low(er) level of education are more likely to live in poverty as there is a greater possibility they will struggle on the labour market. SDG 4, Quality Education, therefore aims at including all girls and boys to have access to basic education but also for them to be able to complete their schooling. SDG 4 also focuses on tertiary education, as people with a higher education degree have a greater chance to be employed, and adult education which is crucial to remain entirely up to date and included in all aspects of society.
Education and training is one of the eleven priorities for Cohesion Policy in 2014-2020. Two funds set by the EU, the ESF (European Social Fund) and the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund), support the development of the Education Sector in relation with SDG 4 namely modernising education and training systems, reducing early school leaving, promoting better access to quality education and strengthening vocational education and training systems as mentioned on the European Commission’s website.
However, some efforts have also been made on a more regional level. Indeed, with the participation of several regional authorities, the project JET-CD has seen the light. The project aimed to combat dropout as early school leaving (ESL) is a recurrent problem in Europe. It partnered with the Erasmus programme to achieve their objectives. The project lasted from September 2014 until August 2016. The project developed practices to avoid dropout, along with a network of actors and stakeholders in each region. It also contributed to policy developments in the regions through sharing knowledge and competences.
AER makes another tangible contribution to the SDG 4 targets through its flagship youth mobility programme: Eurodyssey. The programme launched in 1985 by AER member regions is aimed to improve the chances of young Europeans aged between 18 and 30, unemployed or recently qualified, to integrate into working life by offering them the opportunity of a work experience abroad. So far, 10 000 young people have benefited from a Eurodyssey work placement.
Regions can thus have a consequent impact in improving the level of education and accompanying young graduates in their early career and it is therefore primordial to keep developing the connections among them and give them the necessary tools to enable them to tackle issues such as unemployment and dropout.