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ISSUE 57 page 9

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Education statistics show good progress in nursery take-up

Among a welter of interesting figures about education released by Eurostat, the good news included a rise in the proportion of children attending pre-school classes from 85.6% in 2000 to 92.5% in 2009. The EU target for 2020 is that 95% of 4 year olds should be in nursery. Student/teacher ratios also show improvement as the primary school figure has dropped from 16 to 14, although the UK is stuck on 20, the highest in the EU. The gender balance shows boys dominationg vocational courses in schools with girls in a comfortable majority on pre-university pathways. The teaching profession is still overwhelmingly female (86% in primary schools).


% of children participating in early childhood education (pre-primary education), 2000, 2005 & 2009

Early figures confirm suicide/crash link


Medical researchers compiling statistics for both suicides and unemployment after the financial crash of 2008 believe that their prediction of a link, based on studies of previous economic downturns, has been borne out. Although they caution that complete figures for 2009 are only available for 10 of the EU Member States (6 ‘old’ and 4 ‘new’) they write, in an article in The Lancet, that a reversal in the previous downward trend in suicide is clearly seen as soon as    the crash happened. Across the pre-2004 entrants there was a rise of 7% in 2008 and a continued increase in 2009. Preliminary data for Greece and Ireland indicate leaps of 17% and 13 % respectively  in suicide rates for these most financially hard-hit countries. The fact that the increase in suicide seems to have slightly anticipated the rise in unemployment is regarded by the authors of the article as consistent with past crises when figures rose at the first sign of trouble in the economy, such as problems in the banking sector. They believe that a feeling of job insecurity and the anticipation of job loss, which have been shown to have adverse effects on employees, are responsible.



Indexed changes in adult unemployment and in suicide rates in old (pre-2004) and new EU Member States

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