Published on November 27, 2013 | by Laure Fourquet

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European students face growing unemployment

Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission

EU leaders like Manuel Barroso face challenges in rebuilding the economic prospects for graduates [flickr: Guillaume Paumier]

Students across Europe have begun protesting over concerns for their future after a new report highlighted growing uncertainty over their employment prospects.

The Education and Training Monitor of 2013, commissioned by the European Commission, highlights the deficiency and disparity amongst the higher education sector in Europe.

It also exposes a fall in the youth employment rate, from 82 per cent in 2008 to only 76 per cent in 2012.

Hannah Roberts, the UAL Education Officer said she was dismayed by the figures: “Plummeting employment rates throughout the continent since the onset of the economic crisis have transformed ‘the most educated generation in Europe’ into a ‘lost generation.’”

Recently, major strikes have taken place in European countries such as Greece, Bulgaria and Italy.

Anger

While Bulgarian students have chained the gate of Sofia University in protest over poverty and corruption, Italy has seen anger over cutbacks to education sparking major strikes across the country.

For Mattia Bernini, an Italian student in Design and Moving Image at the LCC: “The student protest is in my opinion a sign of a higher, bigger and more dramatic discontent with the current economic, social and cultural crisis.

He added: “I’m sorry I couldn’t be there protesting, smashing and destroying as it seems to be the only language the masters understand.“

Athens University and the National Technical University of Athens – Greece’s two largest universities – have been closed for ten weeks in dissent over the government’s plan to eliminate 1,359 administrative positions.

Cuts

The Education and Training Monitor 2013 reports that several of the 28 EU member countries were compelled to reduce their education budget in recent years.

When asked about cuts in the education sector, Stan Van Alphen, Policy Officer at the European Commission said: “We do want to keep on investing in education but there is a strong pressure on the overall budget. “

In the UK, thousands of university staff – including UAL’s – have taken part in one-day walkouts against pay cuts.

“Extended budget cuts in education have particularly affected degrees in Arts and Humanities, intensifying the involvement of private funding which undermines the autonomy that educational institutions should have in order to fulfil their role,” Roberts told the Arts London News.

 

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