Presentation on theme: "Child Poverty and Social Exclusion in Europe Christian Morabito Joint EMPL-CULT Hearing, European Parliament, Brussels 26.02.2015."— Presentation transcript:
Child Poverty and Social Exclusion in Europe Christian Morabito Joint EMPL-CULT Hearing, European Parliament, Brussels
Setting the Stage… One of the main causes of youth unemployment is the mismatch between skills required by the labour market and those actually acquired by the youth (Hughes & Borbély-Pecze, 2012). What skills? Cognitive skills are crucial (e.g. competencies measured through PISA or other internationally recognized assessments), but also ‘non-cognitive’, as highlighted by J. Heckman, Nobel Memorial Prize Laureate in Economic Sciences (Kautz et al., 2014). These are personality traits, motivation, aspiration, sociability.
Setting the Stage… Tackling deprivation in childhood is an obligation – not an option: UNCRC, Lisbon Treaty (Art. 3), EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (Art. 24) And also a key preventive strategy to tackle future skills deficiencies, resulting potentially in early school leaving and youth unemployment. Educational disadvantages tend to be transmitted across generations. Vulnerable and marginalised children are particularly affected (Roma children, children with disabilities, children with a migrant background). Tackling deprivation in childhood is economically advantageous. Clear EU added value in addressing these challenges together.
Children at risk of poverty or social exclusion in Europe More than 26 million children in Europe are at risk of poverty or social exclusion (EU member states and Iceland, Norway and Switzerland) – 27.7% in the EU (EU-SILC 2014). Child poverty hits every European country, including the traditionally egalitarian Nordic welfare states, and countries with higher GDPs per capita (Save the Children, 2014). Between 2008 and 2013, the number of children at risk of poverty or social exclusion in Europe went up by almost 1 million with an increase of around half a million between 2011 and 2013 (EU 28 and Iceland, Norway and Switzerland). This situation is aggravated by the economic crisis: increasing unemployment, and deteriorating employment conditions, along with cutting of social transfers, including child income support schemes and essential health and childcare services (Save the Children, 2014). More needs to be done to achieve the Europe 2020 anti-poverty target, notably in relation to children
Child poverty as deprivation of ‘educational opportunities’ Poverty and social exclusion are usually measured in relation to households’ income, employment and deprivation (AROPE). However, this provides only a partial picture of the disadvantage and exclusion faced by a growing number of children in Europe. Child poverty also means that children are not able to acquire cognitive and non-cognitive skills and capabilities that enable them to reach their full potential and to make their talents and aspirations flourish in a world characterized by knowledge economy, innovation, and connectivity. Educational poverty (i.e. deprivation of ‘educational opportunities’ to acquire cognitive and non-cognitive skills) refers, above all, to access and quality of formal and informal education since early childhood, as well as educational outcomes. Only 28% of children in the EU access to educational services before age 3 and 83% from age 3 to compulsory schooling. Share of early school leavers still above 10% (12%) (EU-SILC 2014 and LFS 2014).
Europe 2020: a critical review Only few indicators refer to children and youth, notably the at-risk-of-poverty and social exclusion rates and early school leaving/NEET. However, the complexity of child poverty requires to adopt a wider range of indicators, exploring multi-dimensional aspects (material and non-material). Thus, it is crucial to assess educational poverty as the deprivation of opportunities for learning to know, as cognitive skills, but also to be, to be together, and to do, thus the non-cognitive skills (Save the Children Italy, 2014). Determinants of inequalities are not captured. Indicators for children (a part from the AROPE) are not systematically disaggregated by parents’ socio-economic status, gender, disability, migrant background etc. This prevents to harmonize employment and educational policies and does not yet capture root causes of poverty and disadvantage, resulting in later negative outcomes throughout life, e.g. early school leaving and youth unemployment. Voices of children are not heard. According to United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, children have the right to be heard and to participate in decisions that affect them, and can often provide important insights and expertise about their experiences that adults may not identify or prioritize.
The Example of the Index of Educational Poverty Save the Children Italy In 2014, Save the Children Italy developed a first Index of Educational Poverty, with the contribution of eminent Italian academics, policy-makers and in cooperation with Oxford University. The Index, in its first year, particularly assessed the deprivation of accessibility and ‘quality’ educational services in ‘schools’ and in the ‘learning environment’ which contribute to the development of cognitive and non- cognitive skills and is assessed for children from age 3-17 in all Italian regions. The 14 indicators that are part of the Index, have been selected according to data made available by the Italian Ministry of Education and Italy’s National Statistical Institute, and also thanks to public consultations with children and youth from across the country.
Indicators 1.Public provision of early childhood education and care services 2.Full-time classes at primary school 3.Full-time classes at lower secondary school 4.School complexes with a school meals service 5.Schools with a certificate of occupancy 6.Classrooms with Internet access 7.School dropout rate 8.Children who have been to the theatre 9.Children who have been to a museum or exhibition 10.Children who have visited a monument or archaeological site 11.Children who have been to a concert 12.Children who regularly practise a sport 13.Children who use the Internet 14.Children who have read a book
Impact of the Index and follow up Partnership agreement for the EU Structural Funds between Italy and the European Commission identified educational poverty as a priority, referring to the Index as a tool to monitor progresses across the regions, and target financing. Italian Government proposed an educational reform based on many reccomendations highlighted in the Index’s report. The Index might provide a valid example on how to construct measurements of child poverty and social exclusion in a participatory and multi-dimensional way, i.e. educational, along with considerations on accessibility, quality of services, and geographical gradients. Further studies: Save the Children Spain (towards a European report on educational poverty)
What can the European Union do? To adopt specific child poverty and social exclusion sub-indicators - to be monitored through the European Semester via an ad hoc product annexed to the Joint Employment Report – in order to assess the multi-dimensional aspects of poverty such as educational disadvantage and deprivation of educational opportunities. This will help addressing current and future social and economic problems, i.e. youth unemployment. These indicators should be rights-based and based on the existing and indispensable EC Recommendation on ‘Investing in Children’: Europe 2020 sub-target on reducing child poverty; national (sub-)targets on reducing child poverty Indicators pertaining non-cognitive skills, which are usually neglected, but equally important. These skills can be developed through leisure, cultural activities, civic engagement, quality of family and social relations, life satisfaction and happiness
What can the European Union do? Indicators of quality of educational services, in school and ‘out of school’ (formal and informal education) Further data and indicators allowing to observe gradients in both access to quality services and outcomes, e.g. in relation to the socio-economic status and background of parents (e.g. migrant or minority background), gender, disability, and geographical aspects; Indicators designed and selected through active participation of children and youth, who have to be consulted when planning, developing and implementing policies as well during monitoring and evaluation processes of policies.
Contacts Christian Morabito Researcher Child Poverty and Social Exclusion Save the Children Manuela Smolinski Advocacy Adviser Save the Children