Updated: 11/09/2023

Chapter 26- Education and Culture

Content of the Chapter

Education, youth, sport and cultural policies are primarily under exclusive competence of the Member States, the EU envisages to promote cooperation within the framework of common policies such as increasing the quality of education, educational attainment, employability, cultural dialogue, preserving the cultural richness, common cultural heritage and to strengthen and support cooperation activities between member states (Treaty on the Functioning of the EU Article 165-167).

The acquis related to this chapter consist of recommendations, EU Council conclusions, actions plans, policy programmes and strategy papers and a Directive on education of the children of migrant workers. Additionally, Member States are expected to have the necessary implementing capacity in place to participate effectively in the EU Programmes (such as Erasmus+) related to this Chapter.

Cooperation to achieve common objectives under the European Education Area, Europe 2020, ET 2020 EU Youth Strategy, European Agenda for Culture, EU White Paper on Sports continues within the framework of Open Method of Coordination (OMC), policy priorities, indicators are set through actions plans, policy programmes and strategy papers are being prepared and working groups established.

The open method of coordination (OMC) aims at convergence of national policies and attainment of shared objectives through enhanced cooperation in these fields. In order to converge the policies of member states, through OMC, common objectives and common indicators are determined, national action plans are prepared and these plans are reported, monitored and evaluated, common learnings and best practices are shared in the fields of education and culture.


Education policy is primarily under the exclusive competence of the Member States. The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFUE) provides that the Union shall encourage cooperation between Member States and support and supplement their actions. 

Even though education and training policies in the European Union are determined primarily at the national level, with due respect to the principle of subsidiarity, the EU plays a supportive role to promote and strengthen the cooperation among member states in order to achieve common policy objectives. Cooperation in education and training policy is strengthened with the relevant policy strategies, action plans, statistical data, evaluation reports, road maps, working groups and programmes, special network structures and idea exchange platforms. These mechanism support policy improvement and harmonization.

Europe 2020 Strategy's goal in the realm of education has aimed at the rates of early school leaving below 10 % and ensuring at least 40% of 30-34–year-olds completing third level education. Indicators and European benchmarks identified for the period 2010-2020 accompanied these strategic objectives which are expected to help in terms of measuring the developments at European level and exposing which level has been achieved.

       ET 2020 Benchmarks

Realization by end-2019

EU 27

  1. to reduce the early leavers from education and training below 10% 


  1. to reach 40% tertiary educational attainment among 30 to 34-year-olds


  1. to reach 15% adult participation in learning


  1. to reach the employment rate of recent graduates of 82%


  1. PISA to reduce the underachievement in reading, maths and science below 15% (reading)*


  1. to reach the 95% participation in early childhood education and care*


Currently, European cooperation in education and training is to support and implement the European Education Area by 2025, through its initiatives and a common vision, in a spirit of co-creation. While moving towards the achievement of the European Education Area by 2025, the main goal of European cooperation in education and training is to support the further development of education and training systems in the Member States which are aimed at ensuring: a) the personal, social and professional fulfilment of all citizens, whilst promoting democratic values, equality, social cohesion, active citizenship, and intercultural dialogue; b) sustainable economic prosperity, the green and digital transitions, and employability. European cooperation in education and training for the period up to 2030 will be established in the context of a strategic framework spanning education and training systems as a whole, in an inclusive, holistic and lifelong learning perspective.

Within the framework of European Education Area, there are concrete actions such as the European Universities Initiative; European graduate tracking, recognition of qualifications and study periods abroad; and a European approach for micro-credentials, which are considered as instrumental to implement the European Education Area. Other key actions related to higher education include the European Student Card Initiative, the University Transformation Agenda, exploring the feasibility of a European degree and a European statute for European university alliances and other university alliances, and reviewing the European quality assurance system. The strategic priorities outlined below should accordingly be accompanied during the period 2021-2030 by indicators and by EU-level targets.

- Improving quality, equity, inclusion and success for all in education and training

- Making lifelong learning and mobility a reality for all

- Enhancing competences and motivation in the education profession

- Reinforcing European higher education

- Supporting the green and digital transitions in and through education and training

The Communication on Achieving the European Education Area sets out a series of means and milestones along seven dimensions:

- The share of low-achieving 15-year-olds in reading, mathematics and science should be less than 15%.

- The share of low-achieving eight-graders in computer and information literacy should be less than 15%, by 2030.

- At least 96% of children between 3 years old and the starting age for compulsory primary education should participate in early childhood education and care, by 2030.

- The share of early leavers from education and training should be less than 9%, by 2030.

- The share of 25-34 year-olds with tertiary educational attainment should be at least 45%, by 2030.

- The share of recent graduates from VET benefiting from exposure to work-based learning during their vocational education and training should be at least 60%, by 2025.

- At least 47% of adults aged 25-64 should have participated in learning during the last 12 months, by 2025.

The Commission will regularly review progress toward these sets of targets and, where necessary, propose their extension and revision for 2030. The proposed European Education Area targets and those on adult learning, VET and employability presented in the Skills Agenda and the proposal for the Council Recommendation on Vocational Education and Training complement and mutually reinforce each other, while covering the full spectrum of education and training.

The new Erasmus Programme will be a key funding instrument in achieving the European Education Area by 2025 through learning mobility opportunities to all generations, facilitating digital transformation, strengthening cross-border cooperation and policy innovation, and supporting educational institutions at all levels. Together with other EU flagship programmes, such as Horizon Europe or Digital Europe, Erasmus will help drive the EU-level work on the European Education Area. Financial resources from Erasmus+, the European Structural Funds, REACT-EU, the Recovery and Resilience Facility, and other Union funding programmes and mechanisms should be used to enhance education and training systems in accordance with the overall objective of achieving the European Education Area and Member States’ priorities, within the strategic priorities of the new framework.

As has already been done towards creating a European Higher Education Area (EHEA), within the Bologna process, member states will continue working within the Bologna process. whilst creating further and stronger synergies with the European Research Area (ERA), avoiding parallel or double structures or instruments.

Bologna Process

The essence of the Bologna Process is the European Higher Education Area. The Bologna Process is compatible with Europe 2020 and ET 2020, and aims to ensure quality, mobility, employability and more comparable, compatible and coherent systems of higher education in Europe.  


Common objectives for the EU youth policies have been set out in the EU Youth Strategy (2019-2027), which is based on a reinforced open method of coordination. Additionally, under the framework of Europe 2020 the Youth on the Move initiative has been launched. The initiative addresses current issues on youth policy such as employment, education, social inclusion.


The first comprehensive policy document on sport at EU level was the White Paper on Sport, adopted by the European Commission in July 2007. In December 2009, the Lisbon Treaty (TEU and TFEU) entered into force, including for the first time specific provisions in the field of sport. Article 165 of TFEU gives the EU a competence to support, coordinate and supplement sport policy actions by EU Member States.In this context, the Commission introduced the Communication on the Developing the European Dimension in Sport on 18 January 2011, and currently the EU Work Plan for Sport (2021-2024) was published on 4 December 2020.  


As regards cultural policy, Member States need to uphold the principles enshrined in Article 167 of the TFEU and, in particular, ensure that their international commitments allow for the development and implementation of policies and instruments aimed at preserving and promoting cultural diversity. The Commission Communication on a European Agenda for Culture in a globalizing world introduced a structured dialogue with the cultural sector and an open method of coordination, in order to implement three common sets of objectives: cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue; culture as a catalyst for creativity; and culture as a key component in international relations. Cultural policy received its own legal basis only with the adoption of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. Later on the cultural cooperation among member states began to be entitled in Union's realm.

The area of culture is mainly under the competence of the member states. The national or sub-national levels remain the main actors responsible for cultural policies in the EU in accordance with the subsidiarity principle, hence the EU encourages and facilitates better coordination of cultural policies at all levels. However support to cooperation and activities among member states in order to protect and improve cultural richness is foreseen (TFEU Art.167, EEC Art. 151). The EU also recommends the necessity of integrating the cultural dimensions into other Union policies.

Cultural industries are important in terms of EU's economy and the competitive force. Culture is considered as one of the components leading to creativity in social and technological innovation areas contributes to growth and employment in EU.

New European Agenda for Culture finalized by European Commission following a public consultation was adopted in May 2018. The New Agenda consists of three strategic areas, with specific objectives corresponding to social, economic and external dimensions.


Aimed at harnessing the power of culture and cultural diversity for social cohesion and well-being, the Agenda seeks to

  • foster the cultural capability of all Europeans by making available a wide range of cultural activities and providing opportunities to participate actively
  • encourage the mobility of professionals in the cultural and creative sectors and remove obstacles to their mobility
  • protect and promote Europe's cultural heritage as a shared resource, to raise awareness of our common history and values and reinforce a sense of common European identity


With the goal of supporting culture-based creativity in education and innovation, for jobs and growth, the objectives of the Agenda are

  • promote the arts, culture and creative thinking in formal and non-formal education and training at all levels and in lifelong learning
  • foster favourable ecosystems for cultural and creative industries, promoting access to finance, innovation capacity, fair remuneration of authors and creators and cross-sectoral cooperation
  • promote the skills needed by cultural and creative sectors, including digital, entrepreneurial, traditional and specialised skills


The goal is to strengthen the EU’s international cultural relations through three objectives

  • support culture as an engine for sustainable social and economic development
  • promote culture and intercultural dialogue for peaceful inter-community relations
  • reinforce cooperation on cultural heritage

Current Stage of the Negotiations on the Chapter

Türkiye shares the priorities and goals of the Union's policy in the fields of education and culture.

Türkiye continues to take important steps to expand its infrastructure and capacity with a view to improving educational quality, equality and productivity. Türkiye has been making strides towards achieving the objectives “Education & Training 2020” work programme and currently European Education Area and actively involved in the EU-related activities.

The Turkish Constitution guarantees the right of education and training. As part of harmonization with EU acquis and policy convergence, Türkiye undertakes activities relevant to the Chapter. EU Directive concerning the education of children of migrant workers was enacted into the national legislation in November 2002. Türkiye has achieved considerable progress especially in terms of participation in Union Programmes in the realms of education and youth, higher education (Bologna Process), reduction of gender gap in primary education and increasing the enrolment rates in schools. Türkiye's success has been underlined on several platforms regarding the developments in Primary, Secondary, Vocational Education and on "Girls let's go to School" Campaign.

Increasing investment in education contributed to rising enrolment rates in Türkiye. Enrolment rates and girls’ school attendance rates have increased substantially through the transition to 12 years of compulsory education. Additionally, investments to increase educational attainment and ICT infrastructure have recently increased considerably. Continuing reforms aim to upgrade the quality of Türkiye’s educational system and focus on the performance of students, teachers and schools’ performance. Additionally, there is considerable progress in strengthening the relations between employment and education and training systems.

Vocational Qualifications Authority (VQA), which was established in 2006, continues its work regarding the recognition and certification of professional competences, determining the principles of national qualifications in technical and vocational fields. Under the coordination of the Vocational Qualifications Authority (VQA), centres for 'sectoral occupational standards development, skill and knowledge testing and certification' were established and started to develop occupational standards and infrastructure for knowledge and skills tests in cooperation with relevant NGOs and private-sector organisations. VQA completed the preparations for the creation of the National Qualifications Framework compatible with the European Qualifications Framework (EQF). As stated in Türkiye’s National Action Plan for EU Accession, the By-Law on the Procedures and Principles of the Implementation of Turkish Qualifications Framework was adopted by the Official Gazette No. 29537 of November 19, 2015. Subsequently the Communique related to Turkish Qualifications Framework which is the annex of the By-Law, has been published on the Official Gazette No. 29581 of January 2, 2016. The process of referencing NQF with EQF and Referencing Report has been completed on 29 March 2017 in the meeting of EQF Advisory Board in Brussels. The recognition of qualifications, quality assurance and establishment of national qualifications framework based on the EQ, promoting European collaboration in developing European quality assurance in vocational education and training remains as an issue.

Active participation in the Union Programmes in the area of education and youth is regarded as an important indicator of harmonization with the EU in this chapter. Türkiye is participating effectively in Erasmus+ Programme. 

Türkiye has accepted the Lifelong Learning Strategy in 2009. Subsequently, the Action Plan of this Strategy was adopted in February 2010. This strategy with extensive coverage was designated for effective collaboration of all relevant public institutions, civil society organizations, universities and local governments and it covers disadvantaged groups, girls of school age and all adults who want to reach education. Lifelong Learning Strategy covering the period 2014-2018 has been revised to meet the needs of the coming period. National Lifelong Learning Web Portal (www.hayatboyuogrenme.gov.tr) was launched and provided access to the content including all kinds of trainings, learning opportunities, open postings on IŞKUR system, learning opportunities throughout the European Space through PLOTEUS and Vocational Information System which offers guidance and counselling services. Participation into lifelong learning increased to 4.8 % in 2017, which has been a significant increase when compared with 1.8 % in 2006.

In higher education area, Türkiye has been involved in Bologna process by 2001 and achieved a good performance on the Bologna scorecard. Türkiye is at an advanced stage of implementing the Bologna process. Additionally, Study in Türkiye” web-site (www.studyinturkey.gov.tr) was designed to increase the number of foreign students in Türkiye.

Established within the Council of Higher Education in 2015, the Turkish Higher Education Quality Council (THEQC) became an independent and autonomous national authority in the field of quality assurance with a legal amendment introduced on 1 July 2017. In Türkiye, quality assurance endeavours are maintained with two methods, namely program accreditation and institutional evaluation. Currently, THEQC became a member of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), on 28 April 2020. In addition to ENQA, the institution is a member of the Asia-Pacific Quality Network (APQN), the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation-International Quality Group (CHEA-CIQG).

Through the establishment of Ministry of Youth and Sport efforts on restructuring youth supporting mechanisms and measures and developing national youth policy began to be handled within the Ministry. The Council of Ministers approved on 26 November 2012 the National Youth and  Sports  Policy Paper, which serves as a national guide for  achieving policy objectives in the framework of a common understanding and vision on youth and sports affairs and ensuring coordination in services and operations of the public institutions and organizations concerned, including the Ministry for EU Affairs, NGOs and other stakeholders.In the recent years, raising awareness on the individual and social benefits of sports has become a priority on the EU agenda as well. European Sports Commission and The Ministry of Youth and Sport has granted the authority to coordinate the whole set of events under the scope of European Sports Week 2020 to HIS (Turkish Sports for All) Federation. The main goal of the European Sports Week is to encourage about 4.5 million people to participate in the Week’s events regardless of their age, gender or ethnic background.

Regarding culture, Türkiye shares the fundamental aims of the EU in encouraging the development of culture, promoting cultural diversity and protecting cultural heritage. In this regard; Türkiye signed UNESCO Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, and the internal ratification procedures has been completed with the Law No. 6892 on the ratification of the Convention published in the Official Gazette No. 30018 on 27 March 2017. Türkiye recognizes the value of culture in development policies. It participates to the works carried out at EU level in the framework of European Agenda for Culture.

Türkiye is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention (Türkiye in World Heritage). 

Tukey's Participation in Union Programmes in the area of Education, Youth and Culture

In the field of education, training and youth, Member States need to have the legal, administrative and financial framework, as well as the necessary implementing capacity in place, to ensure sound management, including financial management, of decentralised EU programmes. Union Programmes are the actions that all member states are obliged to participate. Within the framework of this chapter, participation in Union Programmes related to education and culture is essential.

In this context, as a candidate country, Türkiye participates in these programmes which strengthen the integration with the EU. In 2002 the Centre for European Union Education and Youth Programmes (Turkish National Agency) was established. Türkiye has been participating effectively in the Union Programmes Lifelong Learning and Youth in Action. Lifelong Learning and Youth in Action Programmes are replaced by "Erasmus For All" ERASMUS+ programme in 2014-2020 period. Turkish citizens increased their capacity on project preparing, hence intense attention on these programs yields to project applications from all regions of Türkiye exceed the budget allocated for these Programs. For further information visit the website of Turkish National Agency.

Türkiye participated in the Culture Programme (2007-2013) and its successor Creative Europe Programme (2014-2020). Following the Commission's decision regarding the inclusion of third countries in the program, Turkey's participation in and contribution to the next Culture Programme (2021–2027) is regarded as advancing Türkiye's relationship with the EU. Workings regarding participation in the Creative Europe Program (2021-2027) and may be the main driving force of Türkiye-EU cultural cooperation, are carried out under the coordination of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. 

Related Working Group Meetings:

Screening Meetings:

Presentations of the Explanatory Screening Meetings (26 October 2005)
Presentations of the Detailed Screening Meetings (16 November 2005)
Screening Report    (PDF Format - 39 KB)

Related Sub-Commitee Meetings:

Subcommittee No:5 on Innovation

Related Links

European Commission DG Education and Culture

Ministry of National Education

Ministry of Culture and Tourism

Ministry of Youth and Sport

Council of Higher Education

Updated: 11/09/2023 / Hit: 139,498