Investing in education has its cost but there is also a risk in not doing so

There is a need to offer all children the chance to go to school but also to ensure that the education they receive there is of a high standard, not only as a matter of individual justice and equal opportunities but also because it is in the interest of our societies to make the best use of everyone’s talents and avoid the social costs linked to unemployment and dependency.

In unanimously adopting a report prepared by Gvozden Srecko Flego (Croatia, SOC), the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media called on the member States to enhance their education systems in order to “ensure access to quality education for all and regular class attendance until the end of the study programme”.

Member States were urged, in particular, to identify priority education zones and groups at risk of exclusion. They were also asked to support programmes that help children from minority and migrant communities acquire adequate knowledge of the language of schooling and invest in programmes that support parental engagement in early literacy activities.

According to the parliamentarians, governments should “promote inclusion in high-profile schools of students from disadvantaged families and migrant backgrounds in order to provide an equal opportunity to achieve”.

The adopted text also highlighted a need to provide sufficient funding for programmes promoting social inclusion and access to education for all, “bearing in mind not only the cost of investing in education, but also the risk of not doing so”. It therefore called upon the governments of the member States to consider investing in education at national level in accordance with the international benchmarks of 4 to 6% of GDP or 15 to 20% of total public expenditure.

The text will be debated at the next plenary session of the PACE (25-29 January 2016).