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 policymakers 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 ET2020 Working Groups. In 2016-2018, the Working Group on Schools has a broad mandate to work on the governance of school education systems in order to promote higher quality through sustainable innovation and inclusion
- Through the Erasmus+ programme, the Commission contributes millions of euros each year in European cooperation projects that promote school exchanges
Education ministers from EU countries have identified the following priority areas:
- All pupils should gain the competences they need. This will be done through modernising curricula, learning materials and pupil assessment
- Every pupil should benefit from high-quality learning, including migrant children
- Early childhood education and care should be more widely available, support for learners with special needs must to be improved within mainstream schooling and early school leaving reduced
- Teachers, school leaders, and teacher educators should receive more support, including career-long professional learning opportunities
- Quality assurance should be further developed to ensure a more effective, equitable and efficient governance of school education and to facilitate learner mobility.
The European Commission also produces regular studies on the situation across Europe in order to monitor progress.
The Communication on School development and excellent teaching for a great start in life of 30 May 2017 provides evidence and proposes actions to improve the quality and inclusiveness of schools; support excellent teachers and school leaders; and improve school governance. See also the accompanying Staff Working Document.
The Communication on Strengthening the European Identity through Education and Culture of 14 November 2017 sets out the vision of a European Education Area. It identifies mobility, recognition of diplomas and study periods abroad, languages, early childhood education and care, the teaching profession, innovation and digital technologies as key areas for EU cooperation in school education.