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Erasmus+ gains good grades, one year on

Posted by Nick Prag at 28 January 2016, 16:00 CET |
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Three reviews of the EU's education funding out this week provided a positive evaluation of the first year of the Erasmus+ programme for education, training, youth and sport between 2014-2020.

Erasmus+ gains good grades, one year on

Photo © lightpoet - Fotolia

The seven year Erasmus+ programme will provide opportunities for over 4 million Europeans to study, train, gain work experience and volunteer abroad, and has a budget of EUR 14.7 billion.

The reports focus on the first year of implementation, figures on student and staff mobility numbers in the last academic year, and a regional analysis of the benefits of the Erasmus programme.

High marks are awarded to the new Erasmus in year one, having already offered more than one million people the opportunity to take part in some 18,000 funded projects.

The initial budget of over EUR 2 billion has enabled more flexible opportunities for collaboration across sectors, helping Europe's education, training, youth and sport systems to try out innovative practices and contribute to reform and modernisation.

A record 650,000 mobility grants were awarded to students, trainees, teachers, volunteers and other young people, some of which paved the way for the first student loans for a full Masters degree abroad.

Also for the first time, the programme funded policy support projects involving public authorities and international organisations and provided funding for projects in the field of sport.

Improvements from the previous programme show increased benefits for those taking part. They have gained from improved recognition of studies abroad once they return to their home countries. And teacher and staff mobility has been integrated better into professional development strategies backed by their home institutions.

A more open Erasmus has also resulted from a strong focus on promoting social inclusion, active citizenship and tolerance. This is a consequence of more financial support for participants with fewer financial means, or with special needs.

A further EUR 13 million is also now committed for 2016 to fund projects tackling issues such as social inclusion of minorities and migrants and other disadvantaged social groups.

Finally, the programme has strengthened initiatives to improve young people's employment prospects and facilitated their transition from education to work. This has seen an increase in traineeship and apprenticeship opportunities in the programme.

Tibor Navracsics, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, welcomed the reports, saying: "the programme is making a difference in improving young people's employment prospects, helping them acquire new skills and experiences and supporting the modernisation of Europe's education, training and youth systems.”

He promises that the programme would continue to “reach out to more people with different interests, profiles and social backgrounds.”

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Nick Prag

Nick Prag

Nick Prag is founder and managing editor of Prior to EUbusiness, he was senior editor at Europe Online SA in Luxembourg, where he played a major part in the launch of Europe Online International.