Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
Sections
You are here: Home topics Education and Training in the European Union
Document Actions

Education & Training in the European Union

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

Erasmus Impact Study - Effects of mobility on the skills and employability of students and the internationalisation of higher education institutions
This new study on the impact of the European Union's Erasmus student exchange programme shows that graduates with international experience fare much better on the job market.

Erasmus Impact Study: key findings
Young people who study or train abroad not only gain knowledge in specific disciplines, but also strengthen key transversal skills which are highly valued by employers. A new study on the impact of the European Union's Erasmus student exchange programme shows that graduates with international experience fare much better on the job market. They are half as likely to experience long-term unemployment compared with those who have not studied or trained abroad and, five years after graduation, their unemployment rate is 23% lower. The study, compiled by independent experts, is the largest of its kind and received feedback from nearly 80 000 respondents including students and businesses.

EU Youth Guarantee
The Youth Guarantee is a new approach to tackling youth unemployment which ensures that all young people under 25 – whether registered with employment services or not – get a good-quality, concrete offer within 4 months of them leaving formal education or becoming unemployed. The good-quality offer should be for a job, apprenticeship, traineeship, or continued education and be adapted to each individual need and situation. EU countries endorsed the principle of the Youth Guarantee in April 2013 (Council Recommendation).

Study maps EU school food policies
The Commission's in-house science service, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), has published the first comprehensive report on school food policies in Europe, as part of EU efforts to help reduce childhood obesity.

Mapping of National School Food Policies across the EU
With childhood obesity prevalence on the rise in many European countries, schools may serve as a protected environment for children to learn healthy diet and lifestyle habits. Policy makers, educators and researchers would benefit from a comprehensive overview of European school food policies. Mandatory standards are defined in 18 of the policies (53%), the remainder offering voluntary guidelines. Top 3 policy aims are to improve child nutrition (97%), teach healthy dietary/lifestyle habits (94%) and reduce/prevent obesity (88%). Variations mainly relate to the types of meals targeted (e.g. lunch, breakfast, snack, dinner); whether standards/recommendations are nutrient- and/or food-based; and if vending machines and the wider food environment (kiosks near schools, packed lunches from home, etc.) are considered. Conclusion: We provide an up-to-date overview of European school food policies. The next step will be to assess the need and feasibility for developing best practice guidelines for school food policies in Europe, bearing in mind cultural and structural differences between countries.

U-Multirank - the new international university ranking
A new global university ranking, set up with EUR 2 million in funding from the European Union, was launched on 13 May.

Erasmus+ - new EU programme for Education, Training, Youth, and Sport for 2014-2020
The Erasmus+ programme aims to boost skills and employability, as well as modernising Education, Training, and Youth work. The seven year programme will have a budget of €14.7 billion; a 40% increase compared to current spending levels, reflecting the EU's commitment to investing in these areas. Erasmus+ will provide opportunities for over 4 million Europeans to study, train, gain work experience and volunteer abroad. Erasmus+ will support transnational partnerships among Education, Training, and Youth institutions and organisations to foster cooperation and bridge the worlds of Education and work in order to tackle the skills gaps we are facing in Europe. It will also support national efforts to modernise Education, Training, and Youth systems. In the field of Sport, there will be support for grassroots projects and cross-border challenges such as combating match-fixing, doping, violence and racism. Erasmus+ brings together seven existing EU programmes in the fields of Education, Training, and Youth; it will for the first time provide support for Sport. As an integrated programme, Erasmus+ offers more opportunities for cooperation across the Education, Training, Youth, and Sport sectors and is easier to access than its predecessors, with simplified funding rules.

European School Milk Scheme
The EU School Milk Scheme is intended to encourage consumption among children of healthy dairy products containing important vitamins and minerals. The scheme does not only have a nutritional character but also an educational character and contributes therefore greatly to the fight against obesity among children. The School Milk Scheme is there to provide quality products for children, to contribute to a healthy way of living and to nutritional education with a better knowledge on products.

School Fruit Scheme
This EU-wide voluntary scheme provides school children with fruit and vegetables, aiming thus to encourage good eating habits in young people. Besides providing fruit and vegetables the scheme requires participating Member States to set up strategies including educational and awareness-raising initiatives.

School Schemes for Fruit, Vegetables and Milk
The European Commission has published a proposal bringing together two currently separate school schemes, the School Fruit Scheme and the School Milk Scheme, under a joint framework. In a context of declining consumption among children for these products, the aim is to address poor nutrition more effectively, to reinforce the educational elements of the programmes and to contribute to fight against obesity. With the slogan "Eat well - feel good", this enhanced scheme from farm to school will put greater focus on educational measures to improve children's awareness of healthy eating habits, the range of farm produce available, as well as sustainability, environmental and food waste issues.

Modernisation of the Professional Qualifications Directive
A virtual professional qualifications card, to make it easier for doctors, pharmacists, architects and other professionals to move to and practice in another EU country and an alert system, to make it harder for those barred from a profession at home to do likewise, was introduced by a new draft law voted by Parliament on 9 October.

Survey of adult skills
One in five adults in Europe have low literacy and numeracy skills, and even a university degree in the same subject is no guarantee of the same level of skills in different countries, according to the first comprehensive international Survey of Adult Skills published today by the OECD and European Commission. The survey assesses the literacy, numeracy and problem-solving ICT skills of adults aged 16-65 in 17 EU Member States - Belgium (Flanders), Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Cyprus, The Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden and the UK (England/Northern Ireland), as well as in Australia, Canada, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States. The findings underline the need to target investment at improving education and training to increase skills and employability in European countries.

Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC)
The Survey of Adult Skills is an international survey conducted in 33 countries as part of the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). It measures the key cognitive and workplace skills needed for individuals to participate in society and for economies to prosper. The evidence from this Survey will help countries better understand how education and training systems can nurture these skills. Educators, policy makers and labour economists will use this information to develop economic, education and social policies that will continue to enhance the skills of adults.‌

Evaluating national regulations on access to professions
The European Commission has adopted a communication announcing the start of an evaluation of national regulations on access to professions. Regulated professions are professions to which access is conditional upon the possession of specific qualifications or for which the use of a specific title is protected, e.g. pharmacists or architects. Such restrictions can exist for reasons such as consumer protection. However, overly restrictive conditions for accessing certain professions are seen as discouraging or preventing young people from entering the labour market. Different regulatory regimes can make it difficult for qualified professionals to apply for job vacancies in other Member States. Improving access to professions, in particular through a more proportionate and transparent regulatory environment in Member States, would facilitate the mobility of qualified professionals in the single market and the cross-border provision of professional services. It could also have a positive impact on the employment situation and enhance economic growth, especially since professional services alone amount to around 9% of GDP in the European Union. In order to provide a more complete picture of the barriers affecting the access to and exercise of regulated professions, a report on the findings of the peer review on legal form and shareholding requirements conducted under the Services Directive is also published today. These requirements, which often come in addition to restrictions on access to professions, may hamper the setting up of subsidiaries and multi-disciplinary practices.

Open Education Europa
The main goal of the Open Education Europa portal is to offer access to all existing European Open Educational Resources in different languages in order to be able to present them to learners, teachers and researchers.

Opening up Education
More than 60% of nine year olds in the EU are in schools which are still not digitally equipped. The European Commission today unveiled 'Opening up Education', an action plan to tackle this and other digital problems which are hampering schools and universities from delivering high quality education and the digital skills which 90% of jobs will require by 2020. To help kick-off the initiative, the Commission today launches a new website, Open Education Europa, which will allow students, practitioners and educational institutions to share free-to-use open educational resources. Between 50% and 80% of students in EU countries never use digital textbooks, exercise software, broadcasts/podcasts, simulations or learning games. Most teachers at primary and secondary level do not consider themselves as 'digitally confident' or able to teach digital skills effectively, and 70% would like more training in using ICTs. Pupils in Latvia, Lithuania and the Czech Republic are the most likely to have internet access at school (more than 90%), twice as much as in Greece and Croatia (around 45%). Higher education also faces a digital challenge: with the number of EU students set to rise significantly in the next decade, universities need to adapt traditional teaching methods and offer a mix of face-to-face and online learning possibilities, such as MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), which allow individuals to access education anywhere, anytime and through any device. But many universities are not ready for this change. The initiative focuses on three main areas: Creating opportunities for organisations, teachers and learners to innovate; Increased use of Open Educational Resources (OER), ensuring that educational materials produced with public funding are available to all; and Better ICT infrastructure and connectivity in schools.

Number of Erasmus students tops 3 million - Erasmus 2011-12
Figures released today reveal that more than 3 million students have benefited from EU Erasmus grants since the exchange scheme's launch in 1987. The statistics, covering the 2011-2012 academic year, also show that the programme enabled more than 250 000 Erasmus students – a new record – to spend part of their higher education studies abroad or to take up a job placement with a foreign company to boost their employability. More than 46 500 academic and administrative staff also received support from Erasmus to teach or train abroad, an experience designed to improve the quality of teaching and learning in the 33 countries which participate in the scheme (EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey).

Study on educational support for newly arrived migrant children
Newly arrived migrant children are more likely to face segregation and end up in schools with fewer resources, according to a new study conducted for the European Commission. This leads to under-performance and a high probability that the children will drop out of school early. The study suggests that Member States should provide targeted educational support for migrant children such as specialist teachers and systematic involvement of parents and communities to improve their integration. The study examines national policies in support of newly arrived migrant children in 15 countries which have seen significant recent immigration flows: Austria, Belgium (Dutch-speaking community), the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK. It finds that Denmark and Sweden have the best model, based on offering targeted support and a reasonable level of autonomy for schools. The other countries tend to focus on only one of these aspects, which means they do not achieve better results in the inclusion of migrant children.

New rules for non-EU nationals coming to the EU for studies
The European Commission is proposing to make it easier and more attractive for non-EU national students, researchers and other groups to enter and stay in the EU for periods exceeding three months. New legislation will set clearer time limits for national authorities to decide on applications, provide for more opportunities to access the labour market during their stays and facilitate intra-EU movement.

eTwinning: best cross-border school projects of the year
The best school twinning projects of the year were honoured at the 2013 eTwinning Awards in Lisbon today. This year's top prize is awarded to the 'Rainbow Village' project which brought together 12-15-year-olds in France, Greece, Romania, the UK, Turkey, Italy, Slovakia and Poland. The pupils created a virtual post-Armageddon world and explored themes such as survival, conservation and citizenship. The eTwinning network is a virtual classroom in which pupils and teachers from 100 000 schools in 33 European countries take part in interactive projects via the internet. Nine awards in total were announced at the ceremony.

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.