The success of the European project depends on the EU’s capacity to build a better future for European citizens. This is a key message of the Commission’s White Paper on the Future of Europe. It is also at the heart of the initiative 'Investing in Europe's Youth' and the New Skills Agenda for Europe. These made clear that effective education and training systems are a foundation of fair, open and democratic societies and of sustained growth and employment. The EU's 'pillar of social rights' and recent reflection paper on harnessing globalisation identify education and skills as a priority for European cooperation.
Well-designed higher education programmes and curricula, centred on students’ learning needs, are crucial for effective skills development. A wider range of course choices, including two-year degrees and options for continuous professional development, help higher education respond better to people's needs. Technology offers new ways to structure the way learning and teaching are organised, including through open, online and blended learning to increase flexibility and teacher-student interaction. Open educational resources (OER) and learning analytics 16 have potential to improve learning, but remain under-exploited. While much teaching in higher education takes place in research-performing institutions, research is not exploited enough as input for teaching, while undergraduates are often not involved in research. This limits students’ opportunities to explore contemporary issues and develop their research skills. Digitally-enabled open science 17 opens up new possibilities to address this.