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Schools — EU agenda to improve competences and learning for the 21st century

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Schools — EU agenda to improve competences and learning for the 21st century

 

SUMMARY OF:

Communication (COM(2008) 425 final) — Improving competences for the 21st Century: an Agenda for European Cooperation on Schools

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE COMMUNICATION?

  • It aims to help reform of school systems so that every young person can develop their full potential.
  • It identifies where change is needed if schools in the European Union (EU) are to equip young people fully for the future.

KEY POINTS

The communication draws on the responses to the European Commission 2007 public consultation, work by experts from EU countries, and international research, to propose an agenda for strengthening cooperation on schools. It identifies challenges in 3 areas and suggests areas for development:

  • 1.

    Key competences

People need to be equipped with ‘new skills for new jobs’, raising overall skill levels. They need to manage their own learning

  • working both autonomously and collaboratively,
  • seeking information and support when necessary, and
  • using all the opportunities of new technologies.

A school environment where innovation and creativity is encouraged reinforces the acquisition of competences such as entrepreneurship and languages. The Commission’s agenda focuses on:

  • developing reading literacy and numeracy, including target-setting;
  • reinforcing transversal as well as subject-based competences;
  • adopting a comprehensive approach to competences, encompassing
    • curricula,
    • learning materials,
    • teacher training,
    • personalised learning and
    • assessment techniques.
  • 2.

    High quality learning for every student

No school system provides exactly the same educational opportunities for all pupils but there should be no quality gap between schools. Policy makers should reduce disparities and improve participation by targeting those with lower skill levels. The Commission’s agenda focuses on:

  • better access to high-quality pre-school education;
  • measuring and improving the equity impact of school education systems, and reducing quality differences between schools;
  • ensuring that school systems facilitate successful transitions between different school types and levels;
  • reducing early school leaving; and
  • providing better support and personalised learning within mainstream schools for students with special needs.
  • 3.

    Teachers and school staff

Teacher quality is the most important factor within a school affecting student performance. Staff need the skills to give every pupil adequate opportunities to acquire necessary competences. Teachers should have sufficient incentives throughout their careers to review their learning needs and to acquire new knowledge, skills and competence, including in languages. The Commission’s agenda focuses on:

  • ensuring that teachers’ initial education, induction and ongoing professional development are coordinated, coherent, adequately resourced and quality assured; and improving the supply, quality and take-up of in-service teacher education;
  • reviewing teacher recruitment to attract the most able candidates, select the best applicants, and place good teachers in challenging schools; and
  • improving the recruitment of school leaders and equipping them to focus on improving student learning and developing school staff.

BACKGROUND

For more information, see:

MAIN DOCUMENT

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - Improving competences for the 21st Century: an Agenda for European Cooperation on Schools (COM(2008) 425 final, 3.7.2008)

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Council conclusions on increasing the level of basic skills in the context of European cooperation on schools for the 21st century (OJ C 323, 30.11.2010, pp. 11-14)

Conclusions of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council of 21 November 2008 on preparing young people for the 21st century: an agenda for European cooperation on schools (OJ C 319, 13.12.2008, pp. 20-22)

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Rethinking Education: Investing in skills for better socio-economic outcomes (COM(2012) 669 final, 20.11.2012)

last update 08.11.2016

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