Education and Training Systems

By | September 18, 2013

With the Lisbon Strategy, education and training (E&T) entered the centre stage of European policy making. It was realized that lifelong learning is a key driver of the Lisbon Strategy as expressed in the integrated guidelines for both employment and, as part of the knowledge triangle, for growth, affecting innovation, competitiveness and sustainable development. The leading challenges in the field of E&T were embedded in the existing policy framework and open method of coordination supporting the Lisbon process as documented in the “Education and Training 2010 Work Programme”.


Now, there is need to think forward about what European E&T systems will look like beyond 2010, and to develop the strategic basis for the follow-up to the Lisbon Strategy post 2010. As a basis for the European Commission’s forward thinking, this report provides first ideas on future perspectives for European E&T systems in the medium and long term, based on the existing knowledge in the economics of education. Given the nature of the topic which is oriented far into the future, this task by necessity has to be mainly a brainstorming exercise. Against this background, the report distils four key challenges for the future of European E&T systems and provides a first discussion of their possible implications for a strategic framework for E&T policy in Europe beyond 2010.

The four key challenges that we identify are:

  • Demographic and Population Change
  • New Forces of Global Competition
  • A Long-Run Perspective on Social Cohesion
  • Enacting Innovation under Given Political Realities

These key challenges are main drivers that are going to affect how European E&T systems will look like in 2020. Each of them will have substantial implications for policy and for the possible consequences of different policy options that European policymakers have at hand. For each of the four key challenges, we identify four important areas where they will have profound implications for European E&T systems and policy. Addressing these critical factors constitutes a pivotal part of the strategic challenge for the future of European E&T systems.