European cooperation in the field of education and training


Each EU country is responsible for its own education and training systems, so EU policy is designed to support national action and help address common challenges.

The European programme for Education and Training, 2014-2020 – ET2020 is the key European-level framework that helps member states to modernise their education and training systems, thus contributing to the overall political priorities set under the Europe 2020 strategy. It provides common strategic objectives for Member States, including a set of principles for achieving these objectives, as well as common working methods with priority areas for each periodic work cycle. ET2020 builds on its predecessor, the Education and Training 2010 – ET 2010 work programme.

In order to ensure the successful implementation of ET 2020, the European Union funds activities that promote learning and education at all levels and for all age groups. Through the strategic framework for education and training, EU countries have identified four common objectives to address these challenges by 2020:

  • Making lifelong learning and mobility a reality

For education and training systems which are more responsive to change and more open to the wider world. In particular, work is needed to ensure the development of national qualifications frameworks based on relevant learning outcomes and their link to the European Qualifications Framework.

  • Improving the quality and efficiency of education and training

High quality education to ensure the acquisition of key competences by everyone on a sustainable basis. High quality teaching, to provide adequate initial teacher education, continuous professional development for teachers and trainers, and to make teaching an attractive career-choice. It is also important to improve the governance and leadership of education and training institutions, and to develop effective quality assurance systems.

  • Promoting equity, social cohesion, and active citizenship

Education and training systems should aim to ensure that all learners complete their education, including, where appropriate, through second-chance education and the provision of more personalised learning. Education should promote intercultural competences, democratic values and respect for fundamental rights.

  • Enhancing creativity and innovation, including entrepreneurship, at all levels of education and training

Creativity constitutes a prime source of innovation, which in turn is acknowledged as one of the key drivers of sustainable economic development. Broader learning communities, involving representatives of civil society and other stakeholders, should be promoted with a view to creating a climate conducive to creativity and better reconciling professional and social needs, as well as individual well-being.

European Development Agency contributes to this effort by sharing best practices, gathering and dissemination of information, advising and supporting our clients and networking.

Source : Council conclusions of 12 May 2009 on a strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (‘ET 2020’)

Article by Nora Lázaro