What is it about?

The European Commission works with EU countries to develop their school education systems. While each country 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:

  • 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 through the working groups. For example, schools policy working groups active from 2011-2013 focused on: Early school leaving; Early childhood education and care; Mathematics, science and technology and Teacher professional development. Working Group on Schools Policy worked further in 2014-2015 on topics of Initial Teacher Education and Early school leaving.
  • Through the Erasmus+ programme, the Commission contributes millions of euros each year in European cooperation projects that promote school exchanges, school development, school staff professional development and more.

Priority areas

Education ministers from EU countries have identified the following priority areas:

The European Commission also produces regular studies on the situation across Europe in order to monitor progress.

In 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).

In December 2016, the Commission presented a Communication on Improving and Modernising Education, including a set of actions to support EU countries in providing high quality early childhood education and care and in developing high quality innovative and inclusive school systems.

The Communication on School development and excellent teaching for a great start in life of 30 May 2017 provides further evidence and actions on how to improve the quality and inclusiveness of schools; support excellent teachers and school leaders; and improve school governance. See also accompanying Staff Working Document.

Find out more

EU legislation/initiatives