What is it about?

The first principle of the European Pillar of social rights states that everyone has the right to quality and inclusive education, training and life long learning in order to maintain and acquire skills that enable them to participate fully in society and manage successfully transitions in the labour market.
At the Gothenburg Social Summit in 2017, European Heads of State and Government discussed how to harness the full potential of education and culture as drivers for job creation, economic growth and social fairness as well as a means to experience European identity in all its diversity. The European Commission Communication on 'Strengthening European Identity through Education and Culture' served as inspiration for their discussion. 
The European Council of December 2017 called on Member States, the Council and the Commission to take forward the agenda discussed in Gothenburg.
In January 2018, the European Commission adopted three proposals to help build inclusive cohesive societies through education and culture. They include proposals for:
The proposed Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning defines the competences each European citizen needs for personal fulfilment and development, employment, social inclusion and active citizenship. It invites Member States to ensure that their education and training systems can equip people with these competences.
The proposed Recommendation on Common values, inclusive education and the European dimension of teaching seeks to help EU Member States to promote common values as vectors of cohesion and inclusion, favour the implementation of participatory learning environments at all levels of education, improve training for teachers on citizenship and diversity and enhance the media literacy and critical thinking skills of all learners, especially in view of rising populism, xenophobia, divisive nationalism, discrimination and radicalisation leading to violence. 

How is it achieved?

Policy cooperation at European level and the Union’s funding programmes such as Erasmus+ contribute to fostering inclusive education.

As outlined in the 2015 Joint Report of the Council and the Commission on the implementation of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET2020), the EU strategy in these areas includes ‘Inclusive education, equality, equity, non-discrimination and the promotion of civic competences’ as a priority area for European cooperation in education and training. 

The Commission has implemented a wide range of actions in this field, such as:

  •  the setting up of an expert Working Group on Promoting citizenship and common values, who has delivered an online compendium of good practices in these areas; 
  •  the 2017 Education and Training Monitor, which provided evidence on the role of education in fighting inequalities and promoting social inclusion;
  •  the organisation of a ‘role models’ initiative of people who engage in activities to promote social inclusion and prevent exclusion and violent radicalisation among young people; 
  •  a toolkit on preventing violent radicalisation for youth workers dealing with young people at risk of marginalisation; 
  •  a European Award for Social Inclusion through Sport; and 
  •  making available annual funding through Erasmus+ to develop innovative policies and practices at grass-root level, prioritising social inclusion.

What's next?

The Commission is also supporting the following actions:
  • the expansion of the European Toolkit for Schools, an online platform for schools and teachers offering good practice examples and resources on how to introduce collaborative approaches in schools to improve inclusiveness and achieve success for all;
  • the expansion of the online eTwinning platform, connecting teachers and classrooms across Europe, and supporting teacher training courses on citizenship education through Erasmus+;
  • incentives for higher education institutions to award credits for volunteering and to develop curricula that combine academic content with civic engagement;
  • the implementation European Solidarity Corps, the new European Union initiative which creates opportunities for young people to volunteer or work in projects in their own country or abroad that benefit communities and people around Europe;
  • the piloting and roll-out of a new Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange initiative which will enable young people in Europe and the Southern Mediterranean to exchange views and ideas through structured and facilitated web-conferences with the aim to enhance inter cultural awareness and tolerance.