The strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (“ET 2020”) is a forum allowing Member States to exchange best practices and learn from each other. It helps them to gather and disseminate knowledge, as well as provide and receive advice and guidance for policy reforms at national level.
The framework is based on a lifelong learning approach and designed to cover learning in all contexts – formal, non-formal and informal – and at all levels: from early childhood education and care and school education, through to higher education, vocational education and training and adult learning.
ET 2020 pursues the following four common EU objectives:
- Make lifelong learning and mobility a reality;
- Improve the quality and efficiency of education and training;
- Promote equity, social cohesion, and active citizenship;
- Enhance creativity and innovation, including entrepreneurship, at all levels of education and training.
It is also based on the following benchmarks, to be achieved at European level by 2020:
- At least 95% of children 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%.
The framework is implemented through a variety of tools and instruments, including:
- Working Groups, composed of experts nominated by Member States and key stakeholders.
- Peer Learning Activities (PLAs), hosted by a Member State to showcase existing good practice at national level or to explore a particular issue with other Member States.
- Peer Reviews involve a group of Member States providing guidance to another Member State on a specific national challenge.
- Peer counselling brings together experienced peers from a small number of national administrations to provide advice, at the request of a Member State, in designing or implementing a policy as a response to a specific national challenge.
- The Education and Training Monitor annually monitors Member States' progress towards the ET 2020 objectives and benchmarks. This analysis feeds into the evaluation of broader socio-economic progress by Member States within the European Semester.
- Common reference tools and approaches have been produced as a result of, inter alia, work carried out by the Working Groups, or as part of mutual learning activities.
- Consultation and cooperation activities with stakeholders, including civil society as well as business and social partner organisations, such as the European Education Summit and the Education, Training and Youth Forum.
- Funding for policy support activities and innovative projects through the Erasmus+ programme.