The EU and Education

Although each individual country in the EU has a responsibility to provide good educational systems, the EU itself is working to remediate general issues that pervade the countries overall. In 2009, the EU launched Education and Training 2020 (or, ET 2020) to achieve the goals needed for both education and training.

The goal was to have certain challenges such as children being under-skilled, early leavers, a low rate of adults with higher-education degrees, and a low literacy rate in adults remediated and lessened by the year 2020. Although progress was made in the first half of this time period, there is still work to be done.

But what does this look like in 2017? Now less than three years away from the goal year, the EU is running out of time to reach its goal. Lucky for them, great progress has been made since even 2014. Through training and education programs like Eramus+, leaps and bounds have been made in lowering the rate of early leavers, the under-skilled, and the illiteracy. Underachievement rates have lowered significantly.

Another innovation that has been implemented through ET 2020 is the European semester. Even though each country is responsible for meeting its people’s education needs, the EU has established a timeframe through which progress, budget plans, and economic plans of each country can be monitored throughout the year.

One of ET 2020’s other innovative policies is the establishment of union-wide standards for basic skills. An action plan has been put in place to ensure that every student achieves the basic skills needed for furthering their education and entering higher education. These basic skills include reading, math, science, foreign languages, and computer skills. An entrepreneurial action plan has also been put in place to encourage students to learn leadership and initiative.

Social inclusion is a crucial part of both education and employment success. Inclusion is to be encouraged among children from a young age. It will also be demonstrated by allowing young people to have the opportunity to achieve competency in all areas – social, civic, and intercultural. Discrimination will not be allowed, and critical thinking will be taught in order to avoid discrimination.

These policies and many more are rapidly being implemented by the EU and ET 2020. Already they are seeing results. Methods and plans are being put in place in order to help every person in the EU from childhood through adulthood reach their educational goals, accomplish higher education, and be well-prepared for the jobs they will work.

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