The EU recognizes that education and training are essential to the development of today’s knowledge society and economy, and the EU’s education strategy focuses on countries working together and learning from one other.
While high-quality pre-primary, primary, secondary, higher and vocational education and training are fundamental to Europe’s success, in a rapidly changing world, lifelong learning is the key to employment, economic success and allowing people to participate fully in society.
With each EU Member State responsible for its own education and training systems, EU- level policies are designed to support national initiatives and help address common challenges
Academic Mobility. The EU has a long history of promoting student mobility. Through the Erasmus program—the EU’s flagship international education and training program for students, academics, and higher education professionals—more than 180,000 Europeans study or work in an EU country other than their own each year. Since its launch in 1987, more than 3 million EU students have taken part.
The Erasmus+ Program will offer EU grants to nearly 4 million people between 2014 and 2020, allowing them to experience life in another country through studies, training, teaching, or volunteering.
The EU also uses cooperation programs in higher education and training to promote two-way flows of people and ideas with non-EU countries. The Jean Monnet program furthers the teaching of and research into European integration at universities around the world, while the Erasmus Mundus program offers scholarships and promotes academic cooperation between universities in the EU and other countries.
Through the Tempus program, the EU supports interuniversity cooperation and modernization in neighboring regions. Established in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the scheme now includes 27 countries in the Western Balkans, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, North Africa and the Middle East.
The EU also fosters capacity-building and promotes higher education as a means of reducing poverty in the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States through EduLink, and encourages cooperation among higher education institutions in the EU and Latin America through the ALFA initiative.
Bologna Process. The Bologna Process plays a major role in increasing academic mobility by standardizing higher education into three cycles (Bachelor-Master-PhD), facilitating the mutual recognition of academic qualifications, and setting guidelines for quality assurance. It has also created a European Higher Education Area (EHEA) of 47 countries that is internationally competitive and attractive to students and staff from Europe and around the world.
EU-US Cooperation. Through 2011, the Atlantis program, jointly funded by the European Commission and the US Department of Education, encouraged European and American universities to create long-term partnerships, establish joint study programs, and exchange students across the Atlantic. Partner institutions pooled their best resources, compared and updated their curricula, and improved the transparency and portability of credits and qualifications.
The Schuman-Fulbright action provides financial support to highly qualified professionals to undertake studies or training on the opposite side of the Atlantic, in areas of specific relevance to EU-U.S. relations.
EU and US education policymakers also meet regularly to discuss ways to increase how they can cooperate and exchange ideas on challenges and trends in education.
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