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European policy cooperation (ET 2020 framework)

The strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020) is a forum which allows Member States to exchange best practices and to learn from each other.

The ET 2020 framework provides opportunities to build best practices in education policy, gather and disseminate knowledge, and advance educational policy reforms at the national and regional levels.

The framework is based on the lifelong learning approach. It therefore addresses outcomes from early childhood to adult vocational and higher education, and is designed to cover learning in all contexts: formal, non-formal and informal.

ET 2020 pursues the following four common EU objectives:

  • Make lifelong learning and mobility a reality

  • Improve the quality and efficiency of education and training

  • Promote equity, social cohesion, and active citizenship

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

It also supports the achievement of the following benchmarks at European level by 2020:

  • At least 95% of children should participate in early childhood education

  • fewer than 15% of 15-year-olds should be under-skilled in reading, mathematics and science

  • the rate of early leavers from education and training aged 18-24 should be below 10%

  • at least 40% of people aged 30-34 should have completed some form of higher education

  • at least 15% of adults should participate in learning

  • at least 20% of higher education graduates and 6% of 18-34 year-olds with an initial vocational qualification should have spent some time studying or training abroad

  • the share of employed graduates (aged 20-34 with at least upper secondary education attainment and having left education 1-3 years ago) should be at least 82%

The framework is implemented through a variety of tools and instruments, including:

  • Working Groups, composed of experts nominated by Member States and key stakeholders

  • Peer Learning Activities (PLAs), hosted by a Member State to showcase existing good practice at the national level or to explore a particular issue with other Member States

  • Peer Reviews involve a group of Member States providing guidance to another Member State on a specific national challenge

  • Peer counselling brings together experienced peers from a small number of national administrations to provide advice (at the request of a Member State) on designing or implementing a policy as a response to a specific national challenge

  • The annual Education and Training Monitor reports on Member States' progress towards achieving the ET 2020 objectives and benchmarks. This analysis feeds into the evaluation of broader socio-economic progress by Member States within the framework of the European Semester

  • Common reference tools and approaches have been produced as a result of work carried out by the Working Groups or as part of mutual learning activities

  • Consultation and cooperation activities with stakeholders, including civil society and business and social partner organisations, such as the European Education Summit and the Education, Training and Youth Forum

  • Funding for policy support activities and innovative projects through the Erasmus+ programme


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