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International Partnerships
Investing in education to change the world

The European Union is the main investor in education worldwide. It dedicates to global education in a life-long learning approach more than 10% of its International Partnerships budget, over €6 billion. This figure is an estimate for the 2021-2027 period.

Equity and inclusion

Education is a powerful mechanism to address inequality and poverty, boosting human potential, opening doors, and enabling investments in the digital and green transitions to succeed in an equitable and sustainable manner.

The EU seeks to ensure that also girls, refugees, minorities, and children and young people in fragile and crisis contexts can benefit from quality education and training.

  • Over 90% of the education programmes funded from the EU international partnerships budget since 2021 target gender equality, significantly increasing investments to enhance girls’ education and skills

  • The EU supports children and youth caught up in conflicts and disasters to continue their education in safe spaces: fragile states make up 65% of the countries supported by EU

Improving migration management

To reach learners caught up in crisis in innovative ways, the EU developed the programme Building Resilience: education opportunities in fragile and crisis affected environments (BRiCE). From 2018-2022, BRiCE provided access to education for 234 000 students in seven conflict-affected countries while improving their protection and well-being.

Tedia now in formal school

In 2022, more than half of the world’s 14.8 million school-aged refugee children were missing out on formal education. Read how Tedia caught up with her schooling after escaping from Burundi to a refugee camp in Tanzania.

Quality teaching and learning

Teachers are key to good learning outcomes. They are the backbone of education systems, central to transforming education and accelerating progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4. Yet, there is a severe shortage in qualified teachers.

Teachers and the teaching profession – ensuring quality education for all children and youth by filling the gap in qualified teachers – is at the heart of the EU’s Global Gateway education investments.

  • Thanks to the EU’s partner the Global Partnership for Education, 67 million more children have gained access to professionally trained teachers in partner countries.

The EU launched its truly transformative Regional Teachers’ Initiative for Africa in 2023, investing €100 million in bringing more qualified teachers to classrooms by improving teacher education and training and addressing their qualifications, professional development needs, working conditions and status together with partners.

The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) focuses on providing quality education to children in lower-income countries. The European Union is an important partner to GPE. The EU and Team Europe represent 53% of total donor contributions to GPE. In 2022, 9 in 10 GPE implementation grants included support for teachers, trainings and teaching materials, and 675 000 teachers were trained with GPE funding.

Arsenia Saldívar, one of the backpacking teachers

For more than a decade, the European Union in Paraguay has been working together with key partners to promote inclusive quality education for everyone. Read how the mobile 'backpacking teachers' bring education to remote communities.

Skills for life

Higher education, Vocational Education and Training (VET) and research systems are at the heart of social and economic transformation to achieve equitable green and digital transitions. They are key to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4 by providing adequate skills to youth that match the needs of their societies and of changing labour markets.  

Many education systems are not designed considering global value chains and skills for industrial specialisations. Higher education, VET and research are therefore a priority of Global Gateway, paving the way for multiple opportunities for investment and cooperation.  

  • 2.1 million young people benefited from vocational education and training (VET) or skills development interventions backed by the EU between 2018-2022.

This will promote youth exchanges and mobility in Africa and between Africa and Europe.

Youth Mobility for Africa supports demand-driven, responsive and transformative vocational education and training and higher education across Global Gateway pillars – digital, climate and energy, transport, health, and education and research - in line with the priorities of each country.

Erasmus+ is the EU programme for education, training, youth and sport. It funds academic mobility and cooperation programmes between EU Member States and a wide range of countries around the world. Capacity-building projects under Erasmus+ promote cooperation between Europe and Africa and contribute to curriculum development, modernisation of higher education institutions and strengthening the relevance of higher education for economic and social development. Support is also available for a joint masters programme, for capacity-building in VET and for European studies.

A new €9.3 million ASEAN-EU higher education programme, SCOPE-HE, will support people-to-people connectivity, notably in the area of higher education and research. Its capacity-building support will help to scale up intra-ASEAN mobility for students and academics/researchers, in the areas of scholarship management, credit transfer system and digital credentials, with a special focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Related links

See more Global Gateway education and research projects

Global Gateway High-Level Education Event - Co-hosted by the European Commission and the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU on 11 April 2024 in Brussels, the Global Gateway High-Level Education Event aims to highlight EU's role in transforming global education and bridging skills gaps.