Two Commission's reports confirms the low achievement in mathematics and science in Europe

The European Commission published two reports which recommends to policy-makers to do more in order to help schools tackle low achievement in mathematics and science. The reports conclude that although much has been achieved in updating mathematics and science curricula, support for the teachers responsible for implementing the changes is still lacking.

According to the two reports published by the European Commission, tackling low achievement in mathematics and science still a challenge in Europe. The Commission recommends to policy-makers to do more to help schools tackle low achievement in mathematics and science. In addition, the report on mathematics education reveals that only five European countries (England, Italy, the Netherlands, Ireland and Norway) have set national targets to boost achievement levels. The report on science shows that no Member States have specific national support policies for low achievers, although five countries (Bulgaria, Germany, Spain, France and Poland) have launched programmes to tackle low achievement in general.

The Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Androulla Vassiliou, stresses that both mathematics and science play a crucial role in modern curricula in meeting not only the needs of the labour market, but also for developing active citizenship, social inclusion and personal fulfilment. She also believes that the EU also need to address gender balance so that more girls are encouraged in science and mathematics.

The studies were compiled by the Eurydice network and focus on curriculum reforms, teaching and assessment methods. For instance, recently, Eurydice published a report on the need to adapt the higher education systems. Both reports provide a comparative analysis of approaches to teaching mathematics and science, with the aim of contributing to European and national debate on how to improve standards. They address tackling low achievement, increasing motivation through focusing e.g. on practical applications and teacher education. They examine each topic in the light of academic research, the latest results from international surveys and an in-depth review of national policies and programmes.