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by Euro Reporter
2011-09-16 07:16:11
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New study reveals UK has one of worst dropout rates in developing world

Britain has some of the worst dropout rates from schools and colleges in developed world - more than countries like Estonia, Slovakia, Greece, Poland and Slovenia. An international study shows more 15- to 19-year-olds in the UK are ‘Neet’ - not in work, education or training - than most other developed nations.  Only eight countries - including Turkey, Mexico and Brazil - had more unemployed teens with nothing to do.

The study, by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, has prompted renewed fears that a ‘lost generation’ will find themselves stranded without jobs or qualifications. It comes despite massive investment in education under Labour. In the UK almost one in 10 school leavers were without a job or college place in 2009, the most recent available data shows. This is higher than the national average of eight per cent. Of the EU nations, only Spain, Italy and Ireland had higher rates.

Additional figures showed the UK is ranked 26th out of 32 for the number of teenagers opting to remain in education up to the age of 19. The damning findings follow the Coalition’s decision to hike university tuition fees to up to £9,000 – discouraging more potential students from further education. It has also axed the Education Maintenance Allowance, which provided a weekly payment of up to £30 to more than 600,000 16- to 19-year-olds from households earning less than £30,800 a year, to help them stay in education. Liam Burns, president of the National Union of Students, said: ‘The Government claims that education is a priority but their policies risk worsening an already poor history of participation and investment by failing to provide students with adequate support. ‘Even before the Government decided to treble tuition fees and slash funding, UK participation and investment in higher and further education was already languishing near the bottom of the table and they have now put us at risk of dropping even further still.’ The OECD survey found there are ‘severe penalties’ for adults who dropped out of school at 16 – poor job prospects and poor future earnings.


James Murdoch to be recalled by U.K. lawmakers

News Corp. Deputy Chief Operating Officer James Murdoch was asked to testify for a second time on phone hacking to the U.K. Parliament’s Culture Committee after former employees challenged statements he made to the panel. Murdoch, 38, will be recalled after the committee has heard from Les Hinton, the former chairman of the U.K. newspaper unit News International, panel chairman John Whittingdale told reporters in London today. News Corp. was also sued by a victim of the 2005 London terror attacks and was accused by investors in the U.S. of ignoring misconduct at subsidiaries.

Last week, Tom Crone, the lawyer for the now defunct News of the World newspaper until July, and Colin Myler, a former editor, said they told Murdoch in 2008 about an e-mail that suggested hacking at the tabloid went beyond a rogue reporter. Murdoch disputes this and told the committee in July that he hadn’t realized until late 2010 that hacking was widespread.

“We will have some more questions based on what we’ve heard that we will want to put to James Murdoch,” Whittingdale told Sky News. Murdoch will be “happy” to attend, News Corp. said in an e-mailed statement. The phone-hacking scandal not only led to the closure of the News of the World, it also forced News Corp. to drop a takeover bid for British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc. At least 16 people have been arrested, among them Andy Coulson, Prime Minister David Cameron’s former communications chief and an ex- News of the World editor.


UK strike threats over pensions a "mistake"

Striking over British public-sector pension reforms in the middle of government talks is wrong and would be an admission of "failure", opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband warned trade unions on Tuesday, prompting jeers from some unionists. Addressing a meeting of union leaders at the Trades Union Congress (TUC) conference in London, Miliband said he understood why unions were so angry over increases in pension contributions and public-sector cuts but said talks must be given a chance.

"Of course the right to industrial action will be necessary, as a last resort," Miliband said on the second day of an annual meeting that draws together 58 unions representing almost 6.5 million workers -- a quarter of the British workforce. "But in truth, strikes are always the consequence of failure. Failure on all sides. Failure we cannot afford as a nation," he told unions who provide 80 percent of the Labour Party's funding and who helped him win leadership of the party last year.

There were a few jeers and shouts of "shame" from some union leaders and activists. In a question-and-answer session that followed his speech Miliband faced at times hostile questions from delegates. Dave Prentis head of Unison, Britain's second largest union with 1.4 million members, said he would have expected Miliband to "give his full backing to our fight for a decent pensions deal."

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