Why is school education important?
In September 2020, the European Commission outlined its renewed vision for the European Education Area and the concrete actions to achieve it by 2025.
Schools are a focus area for cooperation to make the European Education Area a reality, to support Europe’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and to bolster its future resilience.
As a result of decades of close cooperation, significant progress has already been made. However, European countries still faces some formidable educational challenges.
What is our goal?
Member States have set the following targets concerning school education for 2030:
- less than 15% of 15-year-olds to be low-achievers in reading, mathematics and science (basic skills)
- less than 15% of eight-graders to be low-achievers in computer and information literacy
- less than 9% of pupils to leave education and training early
What is the EU doing?
Focus areas for collaboration in school education reflect the Commission’s vision for a European Education Area with the following five dimensions
Quality and equity in education and training
This includes work on key competences and basic skills, tackling early school leaving, fostering multilingualism and language awareness in schools, promoting supportive learning environments, addressing well-being and mental health at school
- European Framework on Key competences for lifelong learning and the more detailed guidance on entrepreneurial (EntrComp), digital (DigComp), sustainability (GreenComp) and social, personal and learning to learn competences (LifeComp)
- Council Recommendation on a comprehensive approach to the teaching and learning of languages
- Council Recommendation on Pathways to School Success
- Council Recommendation on blended learning for high-quality and inclusive primary and secondary education
School teachers and school leaders
This includes guidance and work on supporting teachers’ and school leaders’ careers and professional development, promoting teachers’ learning mobility
- Erasmus+ Teacher Academies, i.e., networks of teacher education institutions providing initial teacher education as well as continuous professional development on digitalisation, inclusion, environmental sustainability, or teaching in multilingual classrooms
- European Innovative Teaching Award to recognize the work of teachers (and their schools)
- Policy framework for promoting teachers’ learning mobility in view of embedding mobility as an integral part of initial and continuous teacher education
- European guidance for national career frameworks
- Council Recommendation on blended learning for high-quality and inclusive Primary and Secondary Education
- SELFIE for Teachers
- Council Recommendation on education for environmental sustainability
- European competence framework on sustainable development and climate change (GreenComp)
- Education for Climate Coalition
The EEA in the world
- The EU instruments for quality and inclusive, digital and green education and on teachers are widely used not only by the EU Member States, but also across the educational communities in countries all over the world
The ultimate goal of the efforts at the EU level is to contribute to a holistic approach to education and training in a lifelong learning perspective as described in the EU Framework on key competences.
EU support for school education
Monitoring and analysis
The European Commission supports Member States in the development of school education policy by gathering, analysing and sharing information and data. It also monitors progress towards the above targets, such as those required to realise the collective vision for the European Education Area and as part of the European Semester process.
Erasmus+ programme funding
The Erasmus+ programme is an essential tool for achieving the political objectives of the above-mentioned European initiatives for the establishment of the European Education Area as a strong pillar for cooperation at EU level in an inclusive manner.
Erasmus+ supports several online platforms of great importance to school education:
- The eTwinning platform connects schools, teachers and their classes all over Europe. It offers the opportunity to communicate, collaborate, develop projects, share and, in short, feel and be part of the most exciting learning community in Europe.
- The School Education Gateway is the place to engage with European policy and practice for school education, including Early Childhood Education and Care and Vocational Education and Training.
- EPALE - the Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe - is a multilingual, open membership community of adult learning professionals, including adult educators and trainers, guidance and support staff, researchers, and policymakers.
Mutual learning and the exchange of best practices
As part of the European Education Area strategic framework, a Working Group on Schools has been established for the period 2021-2025.
Composed of representatives of national educational authorities and stakeholder organisations active in the field education, the Working Group offers opportunities for peer learning, sharing of best practices and information, networking and collaboration on topics related to school success and education for environmental sustainability.
An Expert Group on school well-being will be set up in 2022 to support this process.