The policy area of education is an important factor for economic growth and social cohesion in the EU, as well as for the well-being of citizens. The objective of the Presidency will be to emphasize the social dimension of this field, through the modernization of education and training systems with the provision of more qualitative and equitable education. In this context an Informal Meeting of Education Ministers will take place on 4 and 5 of October 2012.

  • The proposal for the new programme for education, training, youth and sports “Erasmus for All" aims to contribute to the European Union’s growth, by investing in the potential of people. Up to 5 million people, almost twice as many as now, could get the chance to study or train abroad with a grant. “Erasmus for All", is expected to bring together all the current EU and international schemes for education, training, youth and sport, replacing seven existing programmes with the aim to increase efficiency, simplify application procedures, as well as reduce duplication and fragmentation.

    The Cyprus Presidency will advance the discussions, aiming to reach an agreement on the content of the proposal.

  • Many young people and adults in Europe lack basic reading and writing skills, which consequently, constitutes an obstacle for their employment and may result in social exclusion.

    The Presidency, within the context of the strategic co-operation framework "Education and Training 2020" and in response to relevant Commission’s communications, will propose Council conclusions on this issue, calling for the effective tackling of illiteracy through more qualitative education and training. The Presidency will organise a Conference on Literacy, on 5 and 6 September 2012.

  • The vocational education and training is important to ensure the future competitiveness and innovation in Europe. Actions improving vocational education and training are needed, so as to prepare individuals for today’s labour market. 

    During the Cyprus Presidency, focus will be placed on strengthening vocational education and training (VET) among young people and adults with an emphasis on equity and excellence in VET. Furthermore, the updated Copenhagen Process agenda, which aims to improve the performance, quality and attractiveness of vocational education and training through enhanced cooperation at European level, will be carried forward by exploring the issue of expanding opportunities and raising skills, by opening pathways between Vocational Education and Training on the one hand, and Higher Education on the other.

    These issues will be discussed during the meeting of the Directors General for Vocational Education and Training, which will take place on 22 and 23 of October 2012.

  • In the field of Higher Education, focus will be given on the modernization of universities. In this respect, emphasis will be given to quality assurance and internationalization of higher education in line with the objectives of the EU modernization agenda for higher education and the Bologna Process. The Presidency will also focus on teaching and learning excellence in higher education. Achieving excellence in teaching requires the reformation and modernization of Europe’s higher education in order to enrich teaching, improve learning experiences, support personalized learning, facilitate access through distance learning and virtual mobility, streamline administration and create new opportunities for research.

    The Presidency will host a Meeting of Directors General for Higher Education, on 22 and 23 October 2012.

  • The Presidency, in close cooperation with the Council and the Commission, will follow-up the results of the European Semester in the fields of Education and Training.

    As the European Semester process (an EU level policy coordination tool which is part of a broader EU aim to strengthen economic governance, monitoring the implementation of structural reforms in the context of Integrated Guidelines, outlined in National Reform Programmes to ensure progress towards the agreed goals of the EU Strategy for Growth and Jobs) indicates, the EU has to step up growth-boosting measures and policies. This has direct implications for education and training, as it is necessary to preserve investment in growth-friendly areas such as education and training.

    All Member States share the challenge of improving educational performance in a context of tight public finance. All Member States are looking for ways to increase efficiency and quality at the same time. And virtually all Member States are working on the design and the implementation of their policy response to tackle the challenges addressed in the 2011 and 2012 CSRs.

    The Presidency, in cooperation with Member States and the Commission, will coordinate cooperation in the context of the ET 2020 strategic framework by exploring key challenges identified as an outcome of the European Semester and pin-pointed in the 2012 Country Specific Recommendations and by sharing and exchanging experiences to the mutual benefit of all Member States. As a result of this process, the Presidency will propose Council Conclusions on education ministers' response to the challenges of Europe 2020 strategy in the field of education and training.

  • Formal learning (learning which takes place in formal education and training systems) is traditionally the most recognised and acknowledged form of learning by society and the labour market in particular. In recent years, however, the importance of learning in non-formal and informal settings is receiving a growing appreciation. The validation of non-formal or informal learning is a key element in the EU’s actions to support education and training. Therefore, new approaches are needed to identify and validate these less formal learning experiences, acknowledging that Member States are at different stages in supporting this validation.

    In this context, the Presidency will propose a Council Recommendation on the validation of non-formal and informal learning.