At the border of better learning

Survey reveals poor grasp of opportunities outside the UK

Learners in the UK are among the least likely in Europe to value studying abroad and to be aware of various European skills initiatives, according to a new survey.

In recent years, the European Commission (EC) has tried to improve the recognition of skills and qualifications among EU member states, in order to make it easier for people to find work across the continent. But according to a new survey from Cedefop (the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training), little impact has been made in the UK.

The country's learners are unlikely to be aware of various EC skills initiatives. Less than 5 per cent have heard of the Europass CV and language passports, documents designed to make their skills and qualifications easier to understand across Europe, and only 17 per cent have heard of the European Qualifications Framework, which compares national systems.

UK learners are also the least likely to recognise the importance of foreign language skills (12 per cent), the least likely to value foreign study or student exchanges (5 per cent), and the least likely to have studied with an institution in another EU country while based in the UK (1 per cent).

Alan Tuckett, president of the International Council for Adult Education, said: "It's a shame. We should be looking to the EU much more in terms of skills development, especially in terms of vocational education, but it's no surprise that we don't when the overwhelming political discourse in the UK is anti-EU."

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