Principle 1

Education, training and life-long learning

"Everyone has the right to quality and inclusive education, training and life-long learning in order to maintain and acquire skills that enable them to participate fully in society and manage successful transitions in the labour market."

- European Pillar of Social Rights Principle 1

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Education, training, and life-long learning as a determinant of a healthy life

We live in a fast-changing world of work, affected by demographic trends and changing needs for skills and competences. Access to education and continuous training opportunities is a human right, which helps people find secure and safe work, with decent pay and opportunities for growth. 

However, not everyone is able to fully enjoy their right to education and training. People from under-served communities often have fewer opportunities to participate in meaningful training and initiatives to improve their skills and career prospects.  

What does the EPSR Action Plan say?

The EPSR Action Plan sets out several overarching goals for EU Member States to be reached by 2030:

  • At least 60% of all adults should participate in training every year, and at least 80% of those aged 16-74 should have basic digital skills.

  • Regions and companies within industrial eco-systems should collaborate, share information and develop joined initiatives for skills intelligence (insights in existing skills and training needs) and up-skilling that is tailored to the individual, in line with the EU Pact for Skills. 

  • Member States should implement the policies and objectives set out in the Council Recommendation on Vocational Educational and Training. 

  • Member States should develop comprehensive policies to provide access to quality education for all and provide targeted support to disadvantaged learners. 

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Where are we now?

The Social Scoreboard measures progress on the principles of the EPSR. Linked to Principle 1 on Education, training and life-long learning, the Scoreboard outlines that in the EU:

  • 53.9% of individuals aged 16-74 had basic or above basic digital skills in 2022.

  • The percentage of young people neither employment nor education and training (NEETs) (aged 15-29) decreased from 11.1% in 2014 to 9.6% in 2022.  

  • Adult participation in learning (for population aged 25-64) increased from 9.9% in 2013 to 11.9% in 2022.  

  • General government expenditure for education decreased from 4.9% in 2020 to 4.8% of GDP in 2021. 

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What are public health, social and education actors doing?

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The following actions taken by public health actors at (sub)national level can support the implementation of EPSR principle 10.

Click on a country to learn about initiatives taking place.

Other tools that help implement Principle 1

There are EU policies and instruments that can help relevant actors in the field, including public health, to work together to achieve EPSR Principle 1.

More information about the EU institutions and programmes is available on EuroHealthNet's Health Inequalities Portal.

The EU Child and Youth Guarantee

The EU Child Guarantee sets out recommended actions in early childhood education and care, inclusive education, and healthcare including access, affordability, and cross-sector services to address children’s health needs and potential. Similarly, the Youth Guarantee aims to provide good quality employment, continued education or traineeships. The Erasmus+ vocational training and volunteering schemes can support this. 

The EU Youth Strategy
Digital Education Plan
The European Education Area Framework
European Skills Agenda
EU financial instruments

Available resources

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Have your say

Would you like to share promising policies or practices carried out by your public health institute, which support the implementation of this EPSR principle?

Feel free to reach out to our EuroHealthNet colleague Vania Putatti.

About EuroHealthNet

Building a healthier future for all by addressing the determinants of health and reducing inequalities.

EuroHealthNet is the Partnership of public health agencies and organisations building a healthier future for all by addressing the determinants of health and reducing inequalities. Our focus is on preventing disease and promoting good health by looking within and beyond the health system.

Structuring our work over a policy, a practice, and a research platform, we focus on exploring and strengthening the links between these areas.

Our approach focuses on integrated concepts to health, reducing health inequality gaps and gradients, working on determinants across the life course, whilst contributing to the sustainability and wellbeing of people and the planet.

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EuroHealthNet is co-funded by the European Union. However, the information and views set out on this website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Commission. The Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included on this website. Neither the Commission nor any person acting on the Commission's behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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