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Report highlights major geographic disparities in education

Where you live in Europe can strongly influence your education and prospects in life, according to a new European Commission report. The report, entitled 'Mind the Gap - education inequality across EU regions', highlights significant disparities in education opportunities and results across - and within - Member States. There appears to be a North-South divide in educational attainment, with the highest rates of low-qualified people, with lower secondary education or less, chiefly found in southern European regions and especially in Portugal and Spain. In contrast, the regions with the lowest rates of low-qualified people are mostly found in the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden. Geographic inequalities in education persist despite commitments by Member States to promote equity in education and training. The report – the first of its kind – calls on EU countries to work harder to reduce these inequalities.

"All European citizens should benefit from high quality education and training - irrespective of where they live. It is time to deliver on the commitments which have been made. Tackling geographic inequality in education is a pre-requisite for balanced regional development and social cohesion. The European Structural Funds can and should be used to help address inequalities," said Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.

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