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Euro flagsOne of the themes of this series of blogs has been to look into the amount of influence the EU has on British decision making… our Sovereignty.  So far I have produced blogs on our Health service (part 12) and our Defence (part 15)  Now let us consider education.

Europe does have a body concerned with education. It is The Directorate General for Education and Culture, or DG EAC.

It is the branch of the European Commission charged with Education, Training and Youth.

The main responsibility of DG EAC in the field of education and training policy is to support Member States in developing coherent policies for:

  • schools,
  • vocational education and training,
  • higher education,
  • adult education.

Note its role is Support, it does not make policy. Every EU country has its own system of education, its own level of funding, and its own success rate….

The systems adopted vary from country to country and even within countries differences will occur. For example in most countries the starting age is 6, but Northern Ireland has the youngest starting age of 4. In England, Scotland, Wales, Cyprus and Malta it is 5 and in Finland Poland Sweden and several others it is not until seven.

In terms of funding the UK government spends less on education per child than most other European countries only Slovakia Latvia and Portugal come below us. Of course this is off set by the amount of funding by individuals putting their children through independent schools, in this respect we are nearly top of the list.

With respect to achievement GB is second best in Europe, (Finland is the best) and we are ranked 6th in the world. A lot of this is to do with University education.

So again we see that in terms of a major part of the governments responsibility education through to the age of 18,  the EU has very little influence.

However in terms of Higher Education, the Universities UK blog  said.

‘For UK universities, students and the wider research community, a UK withdrawal from full EU membership would have far-reaching and adverse consequences, in terms of loss of influence and potentially loss of funding. UK universities’ are engines of growth, so their relationship with Europe also has an effect on the UK’s productivity and global competitiveness.’

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