What is the EU’s role in education & training?
Each EU country is responsible for its own education and training systems. EU policy is designed to support national action and help address common challenges, such as ageing societies, skills deficits in the workforce, technological developments and global competition. Education and training 2020 (ET 2020) is the framework for cooperation in education and training.
ET 2020 is a forum for exchanges of best practices, mutual learning, gathering and dissemination of information and evidence of what works, as well as advice and support for policy reforms.
In order to ensure the successful implementation of ET 2020, Working Groups composed of experts nominated by member countries and other key stakeholders work on common EU-level tools and policy guidance.
Funding for policy support and innovative projects is available through Erasmus+ for activities that promote learning and education
at all levels and for all age groups.
In 2009, ET 2020 set four common EU objectives to address challenges in education and training systems by 2020:
- Making lifelong learning and mobility a reality
- Improving the quality and efficiency of education and training
- Promoting equity, social cohesion, and active citizenship
- Enhancing creativity and innovation, including entrepreneurship, at all levels of education and training
The following EU benchmarks for 2020 have been set for education:
- At least 95% of children (from 4 to compulsory school age) should participate in early childhood education
- fewer than 15% of 15-year-olds should be under-skilled in reading, mathematics and science
- the rate of early leavers from education and training aged 18-24 should be below 10%
- at least 40% of people aged 30-34 should have completed some form of higher education
- at least 15% of adults should participate in lifelong learning
- at least 20% of higher education graduates and 6% of 18-34 year-olds with an initial vocational qualification should have spent some time studying or training abroad
- the share of employed graduates (aged 20-34 with at least upper secondary education attainment and having left education 1-3 years ago) should be at least 82%
What has been done so far?
In 2014, the Commission and EU countries engaged in a stocktaking exercise to assess progress made since the 2012 Joint Report and help prepare the next priorities for cooperation in education at European level.
The following contributions were received:
- ET 2020 National Reports
- ET 2020 independent evaluation by contractor Ecorys
- The annual Education, Training and Youth Forum (9-10 October 2014)
- Stakeholders’ input
Drawing on the conclusions from the stocktaking, the European Commission has proposed six new priorities for 2016-2020. The Joint Report from the Commission and Member States
was adopted at the November 2015 Education Council.
What is next?
Progress on the EU benchmarks is assessed annually in the Education and Training Monitor.
The European Commission and the Council of the European Union have agreed on common priorities in the area of education and training for 2020. The focus will now be on the effective implementation of those priorities, in particular through the ET 2020 Working Groups.
Stay informed about EU cooperation in education and training with the ET 2020 Newsletter
(only available in English).