Europe &The Higher Education Modernisation Agenda

Higher education, with its links with research and innovation, plays a crucial role in personal development and economic growth, providing the highly qualified people and the articulate citizens that Europe needs to create jobs and prosperity.

If Europe is not to lose out to global competition in the fields of education, research and innovation, national higher education systems must be able to respond effectively to the requirements of the knowledge economy.

Europe 2020, the EU’s growth strategy for the coming decade, highlights higher education as a key policy area where collaboration between the EU and Member States can deliver positive results for jobs and economic development. In this context, Member States agreed a target that 40% of young people (aged 30-34) should have a higher education qualification or equivalent by 2020.

To support Member States’ reforms and contribute to the goals of Europe 2020, the Commission published a new agenda for modernisation of Europe’s higher education systems in September 2011.

The main areas for reform identified in the new agenda are:

  • to increase the number of higher education graduates;
  • to improve the quality and relevance of teaching and researcher training, to equip graduates with the knowledge and core transferable competences they need to succeed in high-skill occupations;
  • to provide more opportunities for students to gain additional skills through study or training abroad, and to encourage cross-border co-operation to boost higher education performance;
  • to strengthen the “knowledge triangle”, linking education, research and business and
  • to create effective governance and funding mechanisms in support of excellence.

More on the 2011 modernisation agenda

Read more about the EU2020 agenda.

Find documents on EU policies on higher education