The European Commission wants Member States to cooperate better in order to make school systems more relevant to pupils' and employers needs in the knowledge-based Europe of the future.

The Commission Communication "Improving Competences for the 21st Century: An Agenda for European Cooperation on Schools",  says that change, sometimes radical, will be needed if Europes schools are to equip young people fully for life in this century.

The Commission proposes an agenda for cooperation, in three areas:

  • A focus on giving all pupils the competences they need for life. This includes: increasing levels of reading literacy and numeracy; reinforcing learning-to-learn skills; and modernising curricula, learning materials, teacher training, and assessment accordingly;
  • A commitment to provide high quality learning for every student. This includes: generalising pre-school education; improving equity in school systems; reducing early school leaving; and improving support within mainstream schooling for students with special needs;
  • and Improving the quality of teachers and school staff. This includes: more and higher quality teacher education; more effective teacher recruitment; and help for school leaders to focus on improving learning.

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