EU countries are responsible for their own education policy. Nonetheless, there are aspects of both school and higher education where collaboration is useful and welcome. National policy-makers can share good practice, and the EU supports school exchanges and staff training projects.

EU-wide education targets for 2020 have been agreed by member countries, which aim to provide better access to early years education and increase the overall education levels of adults across Europe.

  • Higher education

    The higher education challenges we face are similar to those of our neighbours across Europe. In some areas, it makes sense to tackle these together.

    • We’ve agreed a common target for 2020 that 40% of 30-34 year olds should have some form of higher education.
    • We have also agreed a target for 20% of graduates to have spent time studying abroad, which makes them more employable.
    • As part of the Erasmus programme, students can study abroad at another university. In 2014, around 15,600 British students took part in this.
    • The UK also benefits economically from EU students coming to Britain as part of Erasmus. They generate around £3.7 billion for the economy each year and support 34,000 UK jobs.
    • Around 15% of UK university staff are from other EU countries.
    • During the last seven-year funding programme, UK universities received 15.5% of the EU funds available for universities — well above Britain’s contribution to the shared budget, which is 11%.
    • Britain’s own budget for research is below the international average — but research funding for our universities from the EU amounts to around £1 billion each year.
  • courtesy David Martin via

Further reading on education