The European Commission: ensuring basic education for every child by 2030

Brussels, 24-5-2013 — / —  The European Commission will confirm today its commitment to making education more equal and of a higher quality in the Development agenda beyond 2015 through continued financial support, during a High level event in Brussels.

Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, will announce that at least 20% of the 2014-2020 aid budget is foreseen for human development and social inclusion, education being a main component of it. As much as €2.5 billion will be mobilised for education, confirming it as a priority for EU development post-2015. At least €1.5 billion will go to the future Erasmus for All programme (an academic exchange programme between EU and overseas universities, which has helped pupils improve their education by gaining experience of studying abroad).

Commissioner Piebalgs will also make a commitment to ensuring that by 2030, every child will be able to complete basic education, regardless of their circumstances, and have basic literacy and numeracy skills. “I find it unacceptable that there are still 61 million children who don’t have access to basic education today. As a former teacher and minister of education myself, I feel very strongly that every child has the right to a quality education, no matter where they live. That’s why I’m delighted to be able to announce significant support to education for the next seven years. By helping children after primary school, we’re giving them opportunities to make a living and improve their lives once they leave school.” said Commissioner Piebalgs.

Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said: ‘Literacy is not just a problem in the developing world: in the European Union, 1 in 5 pupils and 73 million adults have difficulties in reading and writing. Raising the level of literacy is a priority, not only for the economy, but even more for the personal development of our citizens’.

Commissioner Vassiliou will also highlight a range of successful European best practices promoting literacy at the conference. Her examples are expected to draw on recommendations made by an EU high level group on literacy.

The Commissioners are also expected to emphasise the need for better quality education and more accountability, so that there is more information available locally in the countries in which the EU works on how schools are run, the resources available and their use.


Organised by the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, today’s High-level event on Education and Development will hear from speakers such as EU High representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, European commissioners Kristalina Georgieva (International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response) and Androulla Vassiliou (Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth), as well as Gordon Brown (United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education), and Her Royal Highness Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands (UNESCO Special Envoy on Literacy for Development). Other guests include Senegal’s Minister of National Education, Serigne Mbaye Thiam, Minister for Development Cooperation of Denmark, Christian Friis Bach, and Ireland’s Minister of State for Trade and Development, Joe Costello.

The EU has spent €4.2 billion on education between 2007-2011, covering both country programming and EU Higher Education programmes. Since 2004, the EU has helped to get 9 million pupils in developing countries into primary education, but many children still often leave school without essential literacy or numeracy skills. Education is the best possible investment against exclusion, inequalities and poverty. It is estimated that if all children in poor countries could read, global poverty would fall by 12 per cent.

UNESCO’s Education for All goals build on the Millennium Development Goals and provide concrete benchmarks for education including access, equality and skills level. The goals were established in 2000 to promote progress in education and establish a global dialogue around education and targets that should be met by 2015.

Literacy is a big challenge for Europe: 1 in 5 pupils and more than 73 million adults have difficulties with reading and writing. Improving literacy across Europe is a top priority for the Commission. Therefore, the Commission launched a high level group for literacy in 2011 to identify best-practices and promote cooperation in this area across Europe. The group delivered its report in September 2012. The European Commission has a dedicated website on literacy and the ‘Europe Loves Reading’ campaign. It plans to shortly establish a European network of national literacy organisations.

For more information

Factsheet – Education

Conference Website with background documents:

To watch a video on our education projects in Somaliland and Puntland, go to:

Website of DG Development and Cooperation- EuropeAid

Website of the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs

Website of DG Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth

Website of the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Androulla Vassiliou

Twitter @VassiliouEU

Contacts :

Alexandre Polack (+32 2 299 06 77)

Dennis Abbott (+32 2 295 92 58)

Dina Avraam (+32 2 295 96 67)

Maria Sanchez Aponte (+32 2 298 10 35)


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