While in the EU each Member State is responsible for the organisation and content of its education and training systems, there are advantages in working together on issues of shared concern. The European Commission supports national efforts in two main ways:
- Through the Comenius programme, it invests millions of euros each year in projects that promote school exchanges, school development, the education of school staff, school assistantships and more.
- The Commission works closely with national policy-makers to help them develop their school education policies and systems. It gathers and shares information and analysis and encourages the exchange of good policy practices.
Education ministers from EU countries have set themselves priority areas for joint policy work. The Commission supports exchanges between policy-makers in these fields:
- Firstly, to increase the focus on ensuring that all pupils gain the competences they need in the rapidly changing knowledge society. This includes: increasing levels of literacy and numeracy and modernising curricula, learning materials and pupil assessment.
More about key competences
More about maths, science and technology skills
More about literacy
- Secondly, to implement the commitment to provide high-quality learning for every student. Improving equity in school systems involves making pre-school education more widely available, reducing early school leaving and improving support within mainstream schooling for students with special needs.
More about early childhood education and care (pre-school education)
More about early school leaving
More about the education of children from a migrant background
The European Commission also produces regular studies on the situation across Europe. Read more about monitoring progress.
On 20 November 2012 the Commission presented 'Rethinking Education', an initiative to encourage EU countries to ensure that young people develop the skills and competences needed by the labour market. The package includes background papers on support to the teaching professions and the assessment of key competences in initial education and training (literature review ). More about Rethinking Education.
- In March 2010 the first EU Thematic Forum on School-Business Co-operation discussed the advantages schools and businesses can draw from working together. To find out more.