Towards a new European system to follow students’ post-graduate paths

To improve education and training systems, it is key to have access to good quality information on what graduates do after obtaining their higher education qualifications and how they perceive the relevance of their studies. Two reports published by the European Commission today show the benefits of an EU-wide graduate tracking system to achieve exactly this. Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, said: “Education and training will play an essential role for the sustainable economic and social recovery of the European Union. Knowing which types of learning and qualifications promote professional success and personal fulfilment will help improve the efficiency and relevance of Europe’s higher education systems. This will also help anticipate and foresee the future professions and prepare for them.” TheEuropean graduate pilot survey reached out to Bachelor, Master and tertiary short-cycle graduates one and five years after graduation in eight countries (Austria, Croatia, Czechia, Germany, Greece, Malta, Lithuania and Norway). The survey indicates key factors to improve study outcomes. Experience abroad during a study period increases the level of problem-solving skills. An “activating learning environment”, where lectures are complemented with problem-based and work-based learning, provides better preparation for the labour market. Study-related work experience as part of the curriculum reduces by nearly half the risk of being unemployed or in a lower skilled job. However, less than half of survey respondents reported studying in an activating environment, showing the need for further efforts to support this approach. The European Universities initiative, a flagship of the European Education Area, promotes student-centred and challenge-based learning. An additional mapping of graduate tracking practices in the Member States, the United Kingdom, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein finds that there are still significant efforts required to reach a comparable graduate tracking system at European level.