Written by Denise Chircop.
European Union cooperation in the field of education and training has developed in a number of areas that now have well-established roots. The best-known example is possibly the Bologna Process that led to the establishment of the European higher education area. The Copenhagen Declaration lent impetus to a process of cooperation in vocational education and training. This was accompanied by two strategic framework agreements for European cooperation in education and training (ET2010 and ET2020).
The stocktaking on the expiry of the second framework for cooperation – ET 2020 – revealed some positive trends as the numbers of both young children in early childhood education and of graduates rose. However, the number of underachieving 15 year-olds remains high and the participation of adults in learning is low.
The European Commission, the Council of the EU and the European Parliament seem to concur that cooperation in education and training needs to be reinforced. The Commission has set out its vision for a European education area in three communications, which show that this is still work in progress. The Council, on the other hand, has endorsed another framework for cooperation up to 2030, which is clearly aimed at supporting the implementation of such an area. The May 2021 Education Council conclusions give pointers as to how aspects of this area are to be addressed.
The debate in the European Parliament is in its initial phase with the rapporteur noting that, while there is agreement on the need for a European education area and ongoing cooperation, the European institutions have yet to adopt a single approach.
Read the complete briefing on ‘The European Education Area and the 2030 strategic framework for education and training‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.
Listen to policy podcast ‘The European Education Area and the 2030 strategic framework for education and training’ on YouTube.