Relevant and high-quality higher education

The EU faces skills shortages, in particular in the STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and maths, but also in some medical professions and teaching.  The Union needs to act if it is to ensure the continuous development of skills and to remain economically competitive. More citizens must be encouraged to study subjects in which skills shortages and labour demand exist. Furthermore, all students need to acquire advanced transversal skills and key competences that will allow them to succeed after graduation. 

These skills include high-level digital competences, numeracy, critical thinking and problem-solving. There is also a strong need for flexible, innovative teaching and learning techniques designed to improve the effectiveness of education while creating more capacity for students in higher education institutions. One way of facilitating this could be the applied use of ICT and emerging technologies to enrich teaching and support personalised learning, as detailed in the Commission Communication on Rethinking Education

What is the EU doing to ensure the relevance of higher education?

As part of the ET 2020 framework for European Policy Cooperation in the fields of education and training, EU leaders have agreed to a target of 40% of 30-34 year olds obtaining a higher education (or equivalent) qualification by 2020.  Yet, while higher education enhances the employability of its graduates, its curricula often prove too slow to anticipate and adapt to changing needs on the labour market. The Commission study Promoting the relevance of higher education determines that higher education remains relevant if it:

  • promotes sustainable employment
  • fosters personal development
  • encourages active citizenship

To improve knowledge at national and EU-level on the career progression of graduates, the Commission has launched a European initiative to track graduates after the completion of their studies. The data collected can support the provision of career guidance, the design of more relevant higher education programmes, as well as better targeted institutional strategies and policymaking.  The Council Recommendation on tracking graduates initiated international cooperation to improve graduate tracking. This activity has been furthered by the establishment of an informal expert group set up by the Commission. In addition, the Commission has established a pilot European graduate survey, which aims to collect comparative data from eight pilot countries on the relevance of skills and qualifications acquired in higher education on an evolving labour market. The pilot survey will prepare the ground for full deployment across all EU Member States.

The Commission is also championing the STEAM approach, which incorporates interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral aspects into the teaching and learning of STEM subjects. This approach encourages the inclusion of transversal skills, digital competencies, critical thinking and problem-solving, management, and entrepreneurial skills into education.  The STEAM approach also promotes the integration of creativity and design into education curricula to drive innovation, as well as incorporating contemporary socio-economic and environmental issues into higher education studies to foster progress in these areas. In support of this, the Commission has launched a STEAM action to bring together diverse higher education, business and public sector stakeholders to promote the uptake and modernisation of relevant STEM subjects and other curricula, including studies related to ICT and artificial intelligence. 

Study a Master’s in Europe Scholarship: €5,000 Award

With world-class education, it’s no wonder that many people flock to Europe to study. Through the Study a Master’s in Europe Scholarship, you can also experience the outstanding education system many European countries have to offer! The Study a Master’s in Europe Scholarship is awarded by, a global platform for students looking to study abroad. […]

Over 5,700 people take part in the first annual European Student Card Survey

The survey captured a snapshot of awareness levels around the card and how it’s being used in higher education institutions. All-inclusive for more accurate feedback The first annual online European Student Card (ESC) survey attracted 5,703 participants from across the spectrum of users. The aim was to gather as wide feedback as possible to understand […]

10 Best Scholarships in Germany for International Students

Studying in Germany opens up a lot of opportunities in today’s incredibly competitive job market. The country has a large number of universities for undergraduates looking to make their mark. Germany also offers to be a promising destination for those chasing after their post-graduate programs.The idea of studying in Germany can be very attractive, but on the financial […]

New International Master: SMACCs

The programme is designed to educate the next generation of engineers and researchers in Smart Cities and Communities by learning best practice from 4 of Europe’s most prestigious universities and by fostering collaboration with industry through research. Students will have the opportunity to acquire new and valuable skills and benefit form state-of-the-art research at regional […]

How to choose a Master? Leiden University advices you

In order to choose your master, it is important to do some soul searching. If you know who you are, what you want, and what you find important in life, you will be better able to assess what suits you and what can help you to come to the right decision. Soul searching Maybe you […]

The European Student Card keeps expanding

The interest in the European Student Card (ESC) is growing as our numbers are steadily increasing, and it’s because of you! The number of students has more than doubled since a year ago, and the number of Higher Education Institutions issuing ESCs has increased by 120% compared to last year. An active ESC incorporates the […]