Educational Reform in Europe Urgently Needed to Tackle Youth Unemployment, Says Leading Economist

Jun 07, 2013, 07:11 ET from World Review

VADUZ, Liechtenstein, June 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Education systems designed to keep young people in the classroom as long as possible is a contributing factor to Europe's record youth unemployment levels, according to World Review author and economist Professor Enrico Colombatto from the University of Turin, Italy.

Youth unemployment in many European countries is at a record high, he says. And although the current economic situation is a major causative factor, current education systems are also largely to blame.

'The theory is that the more time youngsters spend in a classroom, the more knowledgeable, creative, motivated and skilled they become,' says Professor Colombatto. 'But labour markets, which demand motivation from workers, often put on-the-job technical training higher than classroom teaching and see mobility as a must.'

'The size of the problem is evident,' he says. 'Youth unemployment in southern Europe ranges from 42.5 per cent in Portugal, 40.5 per cent in Italy to 62.5 per cent in Greece.'

Although recession seems to be bottoming out, growth is close to zero and the response of the political class is often to ask for more public spending and print more money, he adds.

'These measures may create illusions and populist consensus, but they hardly represent long-term solutions, and nobody pays much attention to the education system.'

'Education should deliver what the students need and the job market wants rather than keeping young people in the classroom and offering guaranteed jobs to teachers.'

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About the author

World Review author Professor Enrico Colombatto is a professor of economics at the University of Turin, Italy. He is also Director of the International Centre for Economic Research (ICER) in Turin and Prague and Director of Research, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Fiscales (IREF) in Paris.


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