International cooperation on education

International cooperation on education and training has four main goals for the EU:

  • supporting modernisation in non-EU countries,
  • promoting common values between different peoples and cultures,
  • advancing the EU as a centre of excellence,
  • improving EU human resources through mutual learning and exchange of good practice.

Through the Bologna Process, the EU has also improved the intra-European compatibility of education and made educational qualifications mutually recognisable. This, in turn, has increased the mobility of teachers and led expertise to be shared across the Union.

Programmes operated by the European Commission

A number of programmes promote international exchanges and cooperation.

One prominent example is TEMPUS (the Trans-European Mobility Programme for University Studies), which supports the modernisation of higher education bodies and systems in the countries bordering the EU. The programme funds partnerships between EU and non-EU institutions, allowing them to exchange best practices and implement structural measures.

Another widely known example is Erasmus Mundus. This programme helps higher education institutions in European and non-European universities set up postgraduate partnerships. It also supports individual students, researchers and university staff who hope to contribute to these partnerships. Finally, Erasmus Mundus backs projects that make European higher education more visible across the globe.

The funding for these programmes depends on the EU's general budget and is set in five-year cycles. The current cycles runs from 2014 to 2019.