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Education & Training in the European Union

Latest news on the European Union's education and training policies.

Developing Key Competences at School in Europe
The teaching of IT, entrepreneurial and citizenship skills is fundamental for preparing young people for today's job market, but, in general, schools are still paying insufficient attention to these transversal skills compared with basic skills in literacy, mathematics and science, according to a new European Commission report. Part of the problem is rooted in difficulties with assessment. For example, only 11 European countries (Belgium Flemish community, Bulgaria, Estonia, Ireland, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Finland) have standardised procedures to assess citizenship skills, which aim to develop critical thinking and active participation in school and society. Such testing does not exist at all for entrepreneurship and IT skills in any of the 31 countries which took part in the survey (27 EU Member States, Croatia, Iceland, Norway and Turkey). The report also outlines progress in teaching six of the eight key competences defined at EU level for lifelong learning in knowledge, skills and attitudes.

Developing Key Competences at School in Europe: Challenges and Opportunities for Policy
This report reviews national policies for the development of key competences at school in Europe. It acknowledges the progress made so far in implementing the key competences approach and discusses several policy challenges that are directly linked to the contribution of education and training to meeting changing skills demands: tackling low achievement in reading, mathematics and science; increasing the number of mathematics science and technology graduates, and further support for the acquisition of transversal competences such as IT skills, entrepreneurship and civics. The report covers 31 European countries (EU Member States, Croatia, Iceland, Norway, and Turkey) and takes the reference year 2011/12. Information covers compulsory and secondary general education.

The ERASMUS Programme - studying in Europe and more
Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2012, ERASMUS is the most successful student exchange programme in the world. Each year, more than 230 000 students study abroad thanks to the Erasmus programme. It also offers the opportunity for student placements in enterprises, university staff teaching and training, and it funds co-operation projects between higher education institutions across Europe.

Final report of the EU High Level Group of experts on Literacy
The European Union needs to overhaul its approach to improving literacy standards, according to a high-level group of experts set up by EU Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou to address the issue. One in five 15 year-olds, as well as nearly 75 million adults, lack basic reading and writing skills, which makes it hard for them to get a job and increases their risk of poverty and social exclusion. The expert group's chair, HRH Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, a long-time campaigner in the field, describes the report as a "wake-up call about the crisis that affects every country in Europe". The 80-page report includes a raft of recommendations, ranging from advice for parents on creating a culture of reading for pleasure with their children, to siting libraries in unconventional settings like shopping centres and the need to attract more male teachers to act as role models for boys, who read much less than girls. It also makes age-specific recommendations, calling for free, high-quality early childhood education and care for all, more specialist reading teachers in primary schools, a change of mind-set on dyslexia, arguing that almost every child can learn to read with the right support, and for more varied learning opportunities for adults, especially in the workplace.

European Commission literacy policy and report by the High-Level Group of Experts on Literacy
The European Union needs to overhaul its approach to improving literacy standards, according to a high-level group of experts set up by European Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou to address the issue. One in five 15 year-olds, as well as nearly 75 million adults, lack basic reading and writing skills, which makes it hard for them to get a job and increases their risk of poverty and social exclusion. The expert group's chair, HRH Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, a long-time campaigner in the field, describes the report as a "wake-up call about the crisis that affects every country in Europe". The 80-page report includes a raft of recommendations, ranging from advice for parents on creating a culture of reading for pleasure with their children, to siting libraries in unconventional settings like shopping centres and the need to attract more male teachers to act as role models for boys, who read much less than girls. It also makes age-specific recommendations, calling for free, high-quality early childhood education and care for all, more specialist reading teachers in primary schools, a change of mind-set on dyslexia, arguing that almost every child can learn to read with the right support, and for more varied learning opportunities for adults, especially in the workplace.

European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs
The home page of ESPAD – the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs. ESPAD is a collaborative effort of independent research teams in more than forty European countries and the largest cross-national research project on adolescent substance use in the world. The overall aim with the project is to repeatedly collect comparable data on substance use among 15–16 year old students in as many European countries as possible.

Europeans and their languages - Special Eurobarometer 386
The survey provides information about the citizens' attitudes towards foreign languages and multilingualism within the European Union.It looks at the ways in which Europeans learn and use foreign languages, exploring their motivations and potential barriers to learning.It also gauges their opinion on the role of interpretation and translation in relation to European institutions and various areas across society.

Erasmus Programme - guide
Erasmus, the world's most successful student exchange programme, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Nearly three million students have benefited from a study period or work placement abroad since the creation of the Erasmus programme in 1987. Under the slogan, 'Erasmus: changing lives, opening minds for 25 years', the silver anniversary celebrations will be launched today by Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. Erasmus mobility is at the heart of the Commission's strategy to combat youth unemployment by focusing more on skills development – an issue which will be discussed by heads of state and government at today's Informal European Council.

Professional qualifications: EC proposal is going too far on many aspects
Today’s proposals by the European Commission to modernise the EU system for the recognition of professional qualifications is going too far on many important aspects, according to UEAPME, the European craft and SME employers’ organisation. On the positive side, the organisation welcomed the creation of a European professional card and the increased compulsory use of online means to provide information to professionals and to citizens.

Modernisation of the Professional Qualifications Directive - guide
As the working age population in many Member States shrinks, demand for highly skilled people between now and 2020 is projected to rise by over 16 million jobs. If Europe is to meet this demand, gaps in labour shortages need to be filled – for example through mobile and well qualified professionals from other EU Member States. They can be a key source of growth, but only if they can easily go to where jobs are and this requires their qualifications in the EU to be recognised in a fast, simple and reliable way. That is why the European Commission has adopted a proposal for modernising the Professional Qualifications Directive (Directive 2005/36/EC). The proposal aims at simplifying rules for the mobility of professionals within the EU by offering a European Professional Card to all interested professions which would allow easier and faster recognition of qualifications. It also clarifies the framework for consumers, by inviting Member States to review the scope of their regulated professions and by addressing public concerns about language skills and the lack of effective alerts about professional malpractice, notably in the health sector.

SMEs broadly welcome new "Erasmus for all" programme
UEAPME, the European craft and SME employers' organisation, welcomed the "Erasmus for all" proposal by the European Commission, which suggests allocating EUR 19 billion towards promoting skills and learning mobility of young people in what will become the successor of the current Lifelong Learning Programme.

Erasmus for All - guide
Up to 5 million people, almost twice as many as now, could get the chance to study or train abroad with a grant from Erasmus for All, the new EU programme for education, training, youth and sport proposed by the European Commission today. Among them would be nearly 3 million higher education and vocational students. Master's degree students would also benefit from a new loan guarantee scheme set up with the European Investment Bank Group. The seven-year Erasmus for All programme, which would have a total budget of €19 billion, is due to start in 2014.

Modernising Higher Education in the EU - guide
As part of Europe's strategy for jobs and growth, the European Commission has presented a reform strategy to boost graduate numbers, improve teaching quality and maximise what higher education can do to help the EU economy emerge stronger from the crisis.

Vulcanus in Europe
Strengthen your working team & open your doors to Japan, through hosting a Japanese trainee

EU aims to train 700,000 legal professionals in EU law by 2020
The European Commission has set a clear target for increasing the numbers of judges, prosecutors, lawyers and other legal practitioners trained in European law.

Education at a Glance 2011
The European Commission today welcomed the launch of 'Education at a Glance 2011', a new report which gathers statistical data on investment in education, student-teacher ratios, teaching hours, graduate numbers and results.

Green Paper on the modernisation of the Professional Qualifications Directive - guide
In consultation with stakeholders, the European Commission is seeking to modernise the Professional Qualifications Directive (Directive 2005/36/EC).

Progress towards the common European objectives in education and training (2010/2011) - Indicators and benchmarks
The European Commission's annual progress reports measure developments in education and training across the EU, using a series of indicators, benchmarks and research results. The progress reports provide strategic guidance into policy cooperation at the EU level and assess progress to overall objectives in the education and training fields. The results of these reports are used by the biannual joint reports from the European Council of education ministers and the Commission.

Progress and performance in education and training in EU countries - report
EU countries have improved their education systems in key areas over the past decade but they have achieved only one out of five benchmarks set for 2010, the European Commission's new progress report on education and training reveals today. The EU has succeeded in its target to increase the number of maths, science and technology graduates, with a 37% rise since 2000 – easily outstripping the target of 15%. Significant, but insufficient, progress was made on reducing the school drop-out rate, increasing the number of pupils completing upper secondary education, improving reading literacy skills and increasing the share of adults participating in education or training. For a detailed breakdown of the figures for each country, see annex below. The Europe 2020 jobs and growth strategy retains the target of reducing the school drop-out rate to under 10%, as well as increasing the share of graduates to at least 40%.

Education and training
open calls for proposals - Education and Culture DG

Early school leaving in Europe - guide
More than six million young people in the EU leave education and training with lower secondary level qualifications at best. They face severe difficulties in finding work, are more often unemployed and more often dependent on welfare benefits. Early school leaving hampers economic and social development and is a serious obstacle to the European Union's goal of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The European Commission on 31 January approved an action plan that will help EU Member States to achieve the Europe 2020 headline target of reducing the EU average rate of early school leavers to under 10%, from the current level of 14.4%, by the end of the decade.

The Jean Monnet Programme: understanding European integration
The EU Jean Monnet Programme stimulates teaching, research and reflection on European integration in higher education institutions worldwide.

EU Grundtvig programme for adult education
The EU Grundtvig programme focuses on the teaching and study needs of learners taking adult education and ‘alternative’ education courses, as well as the organisations delivering these services. It aims to help develop the adult education sector, as well as enable more people to undertake learning experiences, notably in other European countries.

Leonardo da Vinci programme
The Leonardo da Vinci Programme funds practical projects in the field of vocational education and training. Initiatives range from those giving individuals work-related training abroad to large-scale co-operation efforts.

Erasmus: the EU programme for higher education
ERASMUS is the EU's flagship education and training programme enabling 200 000 students to study and work abroad each year. In addition, it funds co-operation between higher education institutions across Europe. The programme not only supports students, but also professors and business staff who want to teach abroad, as well as helping university staff to receive training.