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Improving the quality of teacher education



Communication (COM(2007) 392 final) — Improving the quality of the education and training of teachers


It aims to assess teacher education and training in the EU and proposes possible actions at EU country level and how the EU might support them.


Teachers have a vital role in helping people develop their talents, fulfil their potential, and acquire the knowledge and skills that they will need as citizens and as workers.

The communication highlights a wide disparity in the standards and practices of teacher education between different EU countries, such as in the minimum annual time allocation for compulsory in-service training, as well as support and supervision for new teachers.

The European Commission works closely with EU countries to help them develop and modernise their education and training policies. It aims towards a well-qualified, internationally mobile profession where teachers are supported to continue their development throughout their careers, working in partnership with the wider community. The Commission puts forward the following policy steps for EU countries:

Lifelong learning

The lifelong professional development of every teacher should be coordinated at national level, and adequately funded. Starting with induction programmes, this includes mentoring and continuing discussion of training and development needs.

Necessary skills

Teachers need to have the subject knowledge, attitudes and skills to help young people reach their full potential, identifying the needs of each learner, and using a range of strategies.

Reflective practice and research

Teachers should be able to take charge of their own learning, just as they help young people to take responsibility for theirs. This includes reflecting systematically on their practice as well as classroom-based research.


Given the complexity of the demands placed upon teachers and the range of knowledge and skills they are required to master, EU countries should consider moving towards a higher level of qualifications, as already adopted in some countries.

Teacher education in higher education

Education to master and doctorate (as well as bachelor) level should be available, and links between those who educate teachers, working teachers, the workplace and other agencies should be improved. Those responsible for educating teachers should have practical classroom experience and have achieved high standards in the skills, attitudes and competences required.

Teaching in society

Teachers should fully reflect social diversity in terms of culture, mother tongue, gender and disability, and EU countries should remove obstacles to this being achieved.

For its part, the Commission undertakes to:

  • continue efforts to improve teacher education;
  • develop better ways of measuring progress;
  • share new knowledge and support its effective use;
  • review progress and make further proposals.


For more information, see:


Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament — Improving the Quality of Teacher Education (COM(2007) 392 final, 3.8.2007)


Council conclusions of 26 November 2009 on the professional development of teachers and school leaders (OJ C 302, 12.12.2009, pp. 6–9)

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)

Commission staff working document Supporting the Teaching Professions for Better Learning Outcomes Accompanying the document Communication from the Commission Rethinking Education: Investing in skills for better socio-economic outcomes (SWD(2012) 374 final, 20.11.2012)

Council conclusions of 20 May 2014 on effective teacher education (OJ C 183, 14.6.2014, pp. 22–25)

last update 18.12.2016