Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-01-15-Speech-2-319"

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"Mr President, I would very much like to show my appreciation of this report and to congratulate the rapporteur, Ms Pack for her commitment, efforts and contributions and also Mr Andersson from the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and Ms Flasarová from the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality. I am very pleased that our two communications from 2006 and 2007 received a very concrete and strong response from the European Parliament. The first was on adult learning and the second, on the European action plan on this matter, adopted in September. As you have recognised, the importance of adult learning is clearly increasing. First of all, global competition is a reality. We need to invest in education at all stages of life and at all levels, and the skills and competences of adults need to be continuously upgraded. Secondly, demographic changes mean that people need to work at least some years longer and they need to maintain the relevance of their skills to do this. Thirdly, adult learning helps to combat social exclusion. Too many adults with low education levels risk being excluded from the labour market. So adult learning has a vital role in lifelong learning strategies. I welcome your support for many reasons, particularly for improving the quality and accessibility of adult learning, including through better childcare and e-learning, and in particular for groups with special needs, as well as for speeding up the assessment of skills and valuing informal learning, for investing more in general and also for adapting to the needs of women, migrants and the ageing population. Last but not least, for developing reliable and comparable data to measure adult learning, as Ms Pack mentioned. We will follow up all these elements in implementing the European action plan. As you suggest, these are all kinds of good practices in the Member States which we will use in our cooperation. We will support these best practices via peer learning activities and studies, through the Lifelong Learning Programme and the European Social Fund mentioned earlier, in order to share knowledge and experience. In implementing the action plan with the cooperation of Member States, we will analyse the effect of national reforms on adult learning, especially in the light of the recently adopted European Qualifications Framework. We will also develop standards for adult learning professionals and quality assurance mechanisms based on existing good practice. We want to encourage Member States to set targets for increasing the skill levels of adults and to speed up the process of assessing and recognising non-formal and informal learning for groups at risk. Last but not least, we will propose a set of core data to improve monitoring of the sector. I look forward to the debate but in particular to continuous support in this direction."@en1

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