March 2006

The Economics of Knowledge: Why Education is Key to Success

In a landmark study, the Lisbon Council details the economic and social costs of under-investment in education, skills and life-long learning. Written by world-renowned education specialist Andreas Schleicher, head of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) at the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), the study is a timely wake-up call for Europe to step up its efforts in this all-important field.

Not only does Europe under-invest in people at all educational levels – in tertiary (college-level) education Europe spends less than half as much per student as the United States – but many countries have allowed their educational system to block upward mobility and social inclusion. For sure, there are star performers in Europe, such as Finland, but the large European countries, particularly Germany, France and Italy, can no longer count themselves at the forefront of education and skills.