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Proposals under this Horizon Europe Programme's call 'Addressing poor learning outcomes in basic skills and early school leaving at the national, regional and local level in Europe' should concentrate on the institutional, socioeconomic, cognitive, cultural, linguistic gender, psycho-emotional and well-being determinants, as well as the root causes of underachievement and school dropout at primary, secondary and post-secondary levels of education. They should adopt general life-long learning (LLL) approach, in which the development of the key competence of learning to learn is crucial.

Proposals should take into account inequalities and the educational actions to overcome them. In addition, the action should examine the causes of underachievement related to the availability and quality of early childhood education and care (ECEC). This should enable the formulation of novel policy measures and targeted actions aimed at reducing the compounded impact of underachievement and school dropout on socio-economic fairness and intergenerational mobility in Europe. The action could also consider experimental research in order to better test the tools, the methods and the organisation of education by involving social and civil society actors, as well as relevant stakeholders.

The projects should develop a specific diagnosis and targeted methodologies for combatting persistent low levels and negative trends in learning outcomes in Europe, by devising strategies and policy recommendations to improve social inclusion, learning and cognitive skills. The action should focus on student proficiency in reading, mathematics and science, while also taking into account the importance of supporting and reinforcing the development of other key competencies and basic skills. It should look equally at the effects of tracking between different educational pathways and the impact on different target groups, especially vulnerable and marginalised communities. The action should provide a comparative assessment of existing policies targeting the achievement gap. Proposals should focus especially on the socio-economic background of multi-disadvantaged learners and their educational outcomes, as well as on the issue of persons not in education, employment or training (NEETs). Finally, they should involve relevant educational stakeholders with a double goal of allowing co-creation and enhancing societal impact in the future.

Projects should contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:

  • Support research and policy action to address low achievement in basic skills as well as in digital skills, prevent school dropout, thereby increasing social upward mobility in Europe.
  • Examine the quality of learning outcomes for primary and secondary school pupils and their determinants, including the influence of high-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC).
  • Analyse and recommend possible policy approaches to address underachievement, evaluate successful and less successful policies and practices based on scientific research and evidence, as well as mobilise stakeholders to design innovative policy solutions, which can be scalable and replicable by other projects and stakeholders.
  • Understand, explain and tackle better the challenge of underachievement in relation to school dropout mentioned above, i.e. in the context of early tracking policies, while focusing in particular on students belonging to vulnerable populations most affected by dropout (socio-economically disadvantaged groups, Roma, migrants, refugees, etc.).
  • Explore good practices in school guidance, orientation and tutorial actions in current educational contexts, addressing low-achievement in basic skills as well as tackling early school leaving, in order to support educational stakeholders and foster school inclusiveness.

The application deadline is 7 October 2021 at 17:00:00 Brussels time.

Opportunity Details

Target audience
Digital skills in education.
Digital technology / specialisation
Digital skill level
Geographic scope - Country
Industry - field of education and training
Generic programmes and qualifications not further defined
Type of initiative
EU institutional initiative
Form of funding

Any legal entity, regardless of its place of establishment, including legal entities from nonassociated third countries or international organisations (including international European research organisations is eligible to participate (whether it is eligible for funding or not), provided that the conditions laid down in the Horizon Europe Regulation have been met, along with any other conditions laid down in the specific call topic