Updated: 30/09/2020

Chapter 26- Education and Culture

Content of the Chapter

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

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 being prepared and reporting, monitoring and evaluation of these plans are being held, common learnings and best practices are shared in the fields of education and culture. The method enables countries to work together on shared objectives and learn from best practices.


Education policy is primarily the area of 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 is reducing the rates of early school leaving below 10 % and ensuring at least 40% of 30-34–year-olds completing third level education.

Within the framework of Europe 2020 Strategy, EU's education policy strategy aims at enabling countries to work together and to learn from each other experiences. Education policy is seen as a key development component in today's knowledge society. National economies through the provision of high quality education and training at all levels aims at the development of human resources equipped with knowledge and skills contemporary society needs. Education and Training framework, the Copenhagen process for vocational training, the Bologna process for European higher education are all aim at the improvement of the quality of education and training systems across Europe. 

Education and Training 2020: A Strategic Framework for European Cooperation in Education and Training 

The work programme Education and Training 2010, and the strategic framework Education and Training 2020 (ET 2020)integrate all actions at European level, towards improving and developing the quality of education and training systems. In the field of education under the guidance of Lisbon Strategy and its successor EU 2020 Strategy, Open Method of Coordination (OMC) is enforced in order to achieve common objectives and to converge national policies.

In accordance with the results obtained from the Education and Training 2010 work programme, Education and Training 2020 has been launched as an updated education and training strategic framework for European cooperation.The first concrete framework based on common goals "Education and Training 2010" working programme which lays foundation of European cooperation in the field of Education and training has been launched by European Council  within the context of Lisbon Strategy in Barcelona in March 2002. The purpose of this programme was to support countries to improve their education and training systems. This support envisages sharing of the good practices, enabling countries learn from each other and developing the supportive EU tools through OMC.

Until 2020 the primary objective of European cooperation has been determined as; to support a) individual, social and professional success and contentedness of all citizens b) further development of education and training systems of member states who aims to ensure democratic values, social harmony, active citizenship and intercultural dialogue.

For the period up to 2020, Education and Training 2020 which establishes European cooperation on education and training and sets education and training systems into the lifelong learning perspective as a whole identified four strategic objectives:

(1) Making lifelong learning and mobility a reality, (2) Improving the quality and efficiency of education and training, (3) Promoting equity, social cohesion and active citizenship, (4) Enhancing creativity and innovation, including entrepreneurship, at all levels of education and training.

In line with these objectives it is recommended that member states to develop cooperation in these fields up to 2020.

Indicators and European benchmarks identified for the period 2010-2020 accompany these strategic objectives which are expected to help in terms of measuring the developments at European level and exposing which level has been achieved.

In terms of accession to EU, participation to studies and compliance with the practices of Education and Training 2020 is important. Even if the education, training and youth fields are left to the member states themselves; harmonization of national policies and reaching shared goals through open method of coordination is the common goal. The targets set out in Education and Training 2020 is also the targets for Turkey in context of harmonization with the EU. Turkey, who has been actively participating in Education and Training 2010 Work Programme Coordination Group and in some sub-groups, is also participating to Education and Training 2020 studies and continues her work taking into account the benchmarks of Europe.

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 (2010-2018), which is based on a reinforced open method of coordination. Additionally, under the framework of Europe 2020 the Youth on the Move initative is launched. The initiative adresses 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. 


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 globalising 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 responsibility of member states of the EU. The national or sub-national levels remain the main actors responsible for cultural policies in the EU in accordance with the subsidiarity principle, strongly recommends that 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.

European Agenda for Culture finalized by European Commission following a public consultation was adopted in September 2007. The Agenda is founded on three major objectives:

• Cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue
• Culture as a catalyst for creativity
• Culture as a key component in international relations

Under the first set of objectives, the Union and all other relevant stakeholders are held responsible to work together to promote EU's cultural diversity as well as to foster intercultural dialogue and increase mutual understanding. In this context, the activities such as enhancing the cross-border mobility of artists and workers in the cultural sector and the cross-border dissemination of works of arts are suggested.

Under the second set of objectives, the promotion of culture as a catalyst for creativity in the framework of the Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs and its follow-up EU 2020 is focused.

The second set of objectives focuses on the promotion of culture as a catalyst for creativity in the framework of the Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs and its follow-up EU 2020. In this framework,the role of culture is highlightened by the EU in supporting and fostering creativity and innovation. Creativity is the basis for social and technological innovation, and therefore an important driver of growth, competitiveness and jobs in the EU.

Under the third set of objectives, promotion of culture is discussed as a vital element in the Union's international relations. The EU is party to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and the Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. In this context, the EU acts to have a more active cultural role in international relations and to highlight the cultural dimension as a vital element in the EU's dealings with partner countries and regions.

Current Stage of the Negotiations on the Chapter

Turkey shares the priorities and goals of the Union's policy in the fields of education and culture.
Turkey continues to take important steps to expand its infrastructure and capacity with a view to improving educational quality, equality and productivity. Turkey makes strides towards achieving the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy and the “Education & Training 2020” work programme and actively involves in the EU-related activities.
The Turkish Constitution guarantees the right of education and training. As and integral part of Turkey's EU accession process considerable reforms are undertaken. EU Directive concerning the education of children of migrant workers was enacted into the national legislation in November 2002. Turkey has achieved considerable progress especially in terms of particiaption 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. Turkey'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 education investments contributed to increase in enrolment rate and participation in education. Additionally, the investments to increase educational attaintment and for the ICT infrastructure have increased considerably.
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. Vocational Qualifications Authority has already completed the preparations for the creation of the National Qualifications Framework compatible with the European Qualifications Framework (EQF).
Turkey 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 is revised to meet the needs of the forthcoming 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.
In higher education area, Turkey has been involved in Bologna process by 2001 and achieved a good performance on the Bologna scorecard. In 2013, Turkey has gained impetus on international mobility in higher education. Also, “Study in Turkey” web-site (www.studyinturkey.gov.trwas designed to increase the number of foreign students in Turkey.

Turkey is committed to continue its efforts to improve the efficiency of the implementation of the Union Programmes, Bologna Process, Education and Training 2020 Work Programme.

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.

Regarding culture, Turkey shares the fundamental aims of the EU in encouraging the development of culture, promoting cultural diversity and protecting cultural heritage. In this regard; Turkey 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.

Turkey is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention (Turkey 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, Turkey 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. Turkey has been participating effectively in the Union Programmes Lifelong Learning and Youth in Action.   Turkish citizens increased their capacity on project preparing, hence intense attention on these programs yields to project applications from all regions of Turkey exceed the budget allocated for these Programs. Lifelong Learning and Youth in Action Programmes are replaced by "Erasmus For All" ERASMUS+ programme in 2014-2020 period. For further information visit the website of Turkish National Agency.

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: 30/09/2020 / Hit: 111,059