As millions of pupils and teachers in Europe start the new school year, the Commission continues to accompany and support them. The pandemic has highlighted schools’ capacity to innovate, but also outlined significant difficulties to adapt and to ensure quality and inclusive education for all learners. The EU supports student and teacher exchanges across Europe in different formats and collaboration aimed at promoting quality and inclusion, and supporting the digital and green transitions. The Commission has put forward many actions at EU level for schools, gathered around several topics: promoting cooperation and mobility; investing in education and skills; working towards educational success and inclusion; providing advice and platforms for online cooperation; supporting the green transition through education, and much more.
For instance, from this year on, also pupils from general school education can fully benefit from Erasmus+ and go abroad, individually or with their class. This means that now all learners have access to the same opportunities, be they in schools, in vocational education and training, or higher education. With over €28 billion for 2021-2027, the new Erasmus+ programme has almost doubled its budget compared to the previous period. More than €3.1 billion are dedicated to mobility and cooperation projects in general school education, and more than €5.5 billion will contribute to co-fund such projects in the vocational education and training sector. Projects have already been approved for more than 7,000 schools, with more expected in September and October.
In addition to the increased Erasmus+ budget, about €60 billion will be channelled to investments in education and skills in national recovery plans, corresponding to more than 10% of the total Recovery and Resilience Facility budget. More actions are coming before the end of the year, for instance the launch of the first European Innovative Teaching Awards. The award will showcase innovative teaching and learning practices developed in Erasmus+ transnational cooperation projects.