In 2008, the European Commission made a series of proposals to modernise school systems in its ‘Improving Competences for the 21st Century: An Agenda for European Cooperation on Schools’ Communication.
The Commission identified three main areas for action:
- First, to increase the focus on ensuring all pupils gain the competences they need in the rapidly changing knowledge society. This includes: increasing levels of literacy and numeracy; reinforcing learning-to-learn skills; and modernising curricula, learning materials, teacher training and assessment.
- Secondly, to increase the commitment to provide high-quality learning for every student. This involves making pre-school education more widely available; improving equity in school systems; reducing early school leaving; and improving support within mainstream schooling for students with special needs.
- Thirdly, to improve the quality of teachers and school staff, with more and better-quality teacher education; more effective teacher recruitment; and help for school leaders to focus on improving learning.
The Communication was part of the EU Commission's Renewed Social Agenda, to reinforce access, opportunities and solidarity among all EU citizens.