In 2010, the reduction of early school leaving was included by the European Commission among the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy. Over the last ten years, the European Union has tried to guide Member States towards solving the problem that plagued, on average one in seven students.
Many steps forward have been made, but the fight against early school leaving cannot be declared over, especially if we consider the effects of the reorganization of the school, which took place over the last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (known as ET 2020) adopted a benchmark to be achieved by 2020, namely, that the share of early leavers from education and training in the EU should be not more than 10 %. With 9.9 %, this target was just met in 2020.
As the successor, the Council approved the Resolution on a strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training towards the European Education Area and beyond (2021-2030) in February 2021. This resolution sets a new EU-level target, i.e. a reference level for European average performance: the share of early leavers from education and training should be less than 9 % by 2030.
While moving towards the achievement of the European Education Area, the main goal of European cooperation in education and training should be to support the further development of education and training systems in the Member States which are aimed at ensuring:
- the personal, social and professional fulfilment of all citizens, whilst promoting democratic values, equality, social cohesion, active citizenship, and intercultural dialogue;
- sustainable economic prosperity, the green and digital transitions, and employability.
Specifically, during the next decade, the strategic framework will address the following five strategic priorities:
- Improving quality, equity, inclusion and success for all in education and training;
- Making lifelong learning and mobility a reality for all;
- Enhancing competences and motivation in the education profession;
- Reinforcing European higher education;
- Supporting the green and digital transitions in and through education and training.
The green and digital transitions are the core focus of the Union’s agenda for the next decade. Both the transition to an environmentally sustainable, circular and climate-neutral economy as well as a more digital world, will have significant social, economic and employment impacts.