Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-10-24-Speech-2-343"

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"Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to join in congratulating the rapporteur, Mrs Pack, on her good work, and all the members of the Committee on Culture and Education, whose contributions have enriched this text. I would also, however, like to communicate my concern with regard to the implementation of the lifelong learning programme. I remember how, at the outset, we were all falling over ourselves to improve the system of student mobility in Europe. We all voted in favour of increasing the funds for the Erasmus, Leonardo, Comenius programmes etc., in the conviction that it was a very productive long-term investment. Providing the participants with economic facilities and, at the same time, simplifying the process for being awarded grants, brought us closer to the objectives set in the Lisbon Strategy. As time passes, however, I am finding it harder to remain optimistic. I note from surveys that fifteen-year-old European schoolchildren have poor reading skills and show a high level of truancy and that many young people do not complete their studies within the time set. In view of this information, I wonder how we are going to deal with the challenges of globalisation. If we are to create a knowledge-based society, sustainable economic development and greater social cohesion, we will have to establish a strong foundation from the outset, and that can only be achieved through effective education. In short, in order to deal with future challenges, it is crucial that we invest more in education. It is possible to improve the way existing programmes operate and to create new programmes. If we make the effort, the numbers will gradually prove us to be right, but all of us must try to convince the Member States that we need to dedicate more money to education and training."@en1

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