In view of the International Day of Education on 24 January, the European Commission and High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell issued the following statement:
“Education is essential to the global recovery and the achievement of all Sustainable Development Goals. It is a fundamental right and the foundation of resilient, peaceful and sustainable societies. Education is the basis and a catalyst for the green transition. It enables citizens to harness the opportunities of digital development. It brings hope and protection to those affected by humanitarian crises and forced displacement. Quality education is a vital part of the development of every child and young person.
2022 is the European Year of Youth and the 35th anniversary of the Erasmus programme. The EU reaffirms the paramount importance of quality education for the personal, social and professional development of children and young people, in and beyond the European Union, to build a better and more equitable future, reduce socio-economic and gender inequalities, and promote peace and democracy.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, 260 million children and adolescents worldwide were not receiving education. And those who did, did not always have access to quality education. The pandemic has exacerbated inequalities in education with a disproportionate impact on disadvantaged groups, around the world.
In the EU, we have embarked on an ambitious plan for a European Education Area by 2025, with shared goals and flagship initiatives bringing the 27 Member States together even more. Education is a major channel for the EU's engagement with other parts of the world.
The European Union is stepping up its commitment to education with the aim that every child and young person can access education, master at least reading, writing, basic math and digital skills, and be prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century as engaged global citizens. This will include the skills and competences to navigate the online environment safely and responsibly.
With the Digital Education Action Plan, we support the sustainable and effective adaptation of the education and training systems of EU Member States to the digital age. With Europe's Digital Decade the EU is working towards an ambitious – yet, attainable - target: by 2030 at least 80% of all adults should have basic digital skills. The Commission will also continue to support the EU Code Week, which provides training for teachers and gives millions of children hands-on experience in coding and digital creativity every year.
The EU continues to invest in quality education with a lifelong learning perspective through inclusive and equitable education systems, paying particular attention to girls, women, and vulnerable groups. The EU institutions and EU Member States, as Team Europe, support partner countries to transform their education systems post-pandemic and to address deficits and inequalities in teaching, training, and learning at all levels.
The EU continues as a leading voice in education in emergencies, providing access to safe, inclusive and quality education to millions of children affected by humanitarian crises and conflicts.
Europe will particularly work with partner governments on teachers' training and governance to ensure quality education outcomes.
The Erasmus+ programme facilitates mobility of students, staff, teachers, and trainees, and strengthen networks and peer learning across higher education institutions. These opportunities are open for people from all over the world. The EU will also work with partner countries to strengthen cooperation on research and innovation, for example through Horizon Europe.
These initiatives align with the Global Gateway strategy's provisions for people-to-people connectivity.
Partnerships with civil society, the private sector and global education stakeholders, will be key to fostering global citizenship.”
The EU institutions and Member States together contribute more than half of all global aid to education, supporting the education sector in more than 100 countries all around the world.
During the period 2021–2027, the European Commission will dedicate at least 10% of its international partnerships budget with Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and Asia and the Pacific, and 10% of its humanitarian aid budget, to education.
The European Commission will also continue engaging, as a priority, with the Western Balkans, Turkey and the Neighbourhood regions to strengthen education systems, addressing skills mismatch with the labour market and enhancing joint cooperation with education institutions including mobility of students and teachers.
- Publication date
- 24 January 2022
- Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)