“More and bet­ter op­por­tu­ni­ties to sup­port Europe’s fu­ture gen­er­a­tions”

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

In its first year, Eras­mus+, the en­hanced EU pro­gramme for education, train­ing, youth and sport with a bud­get of over EUR 2 bln, has al­ready of­fered more than 1 mln peo­ple the op­por­tu­nity to take part in 18,000 funded projects.

More flex­i­ble op­por­tu­ni­ties for col­lab­o­ra­tion across sec­tors are also help­ing Europe’s education, train­ing, youth and sport sys­tems to try out in­no­va­tive prac­tices and con­trib­ute to re­form and mod­erni­sa­tion, the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion an­nounced in Brus­sels.

Cyprus, too, has ben­e­fited gen­er­ously from the pro­gramme, with nearly half of the EUR 5.52 mln for study­ing, train­ing or vol­un­teer­ing abroad al­lo­cated to higher education, while co­op­er­a­tion projects ab­sorbed a fur­ther EUR 2.73 mln, rep­re­sent­ing 14 strate­gic part­ner­ship and 79 or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Of the nearly 3,600 peo­ple who stud­ied, vol­un­teered or trained abroad, the ma­jor­ity ended up in Greece, Spain, UK, Bel­gium and Italy, while Cyprus also re­ceived stu­dents from Poland, Ger­many, France, Lithua­nia and Greece.

Com­pared to the pre­de­ces­sor “Eras­mus ex­changes” pro­gramme, over the past seven years the num­bers have more than dou­bled for out­go­ing and in­com­ing stu­dents, as well as staff.

“Dur­ing the first year, Eras­mus+ has proved a true suc­cess. The im­pres­sive num­ber of par­tic­i­pants is proof that 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,” said Ti­bor Navrac­sics, EU Com­mis­sioner for Education, Cul­ture, Youth and Sport.

“We will con­tinue to build on this pop­u­lar­ity to reach out to more peo­ple with dif­fer­ent in­ter­ests, back­grounds.”

The fig­ures re­veal that in 2014, Eras­mus+ al­ready ben­e­fited more peo­ple through a wider range of op­por­tu­ni­ties. In its first year, the pro­gramme sup­ported a record 650,000 mo­bil­ity grants for stu­dents, trainees, teach­ers, vol­un­teers and other young peo­ple and paved the way for the first stu­dent loans for a full Mas­ter de­gree pro­vided abroad.

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

A strength­ened Eras­mus+ de­liv­er­ing stronger sup­port ben­e­fi­cia­ries.

This can be seen in im­proved recog­ni­tion of stud­ies abroad once stu­dents re­turn to their home coun­tries.

More­over, teacher and staff mo­bil­ity is be­ing in­te­grated bet­ter into pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment strate­gies backed by their home in­sti­tu­tions.

The new Eras­mus+ is also more open, with a strong fo­cus placed on pro­mot­ing so­cial in­clu­sion, ac­tive cit­i­zen­ship and tol­er­ance. To achieve this, more fi­nan­cial sup­port than ever has been made avail­able to par­tic­i­pants with fewer fi­nan­cial means or those with spe­cial needs.

A fur­ther EUR 13 mln has also been com­mit­ted for 2016 to fund projects tack­ling is­sues like so­cial in­clu­sion of mi­nori­ties and mi­grants and other dis­ad­van­taged so­cial groups.

The pro­gramme has also strength­ened ini­tia­tives to i mprove young peo­ple’s em­ploy­ment prospects and fa­cil­i­tate their tran­si­tion from education to work. This has seen an in­crease in trainee­ship and ap­pren­tice­ship op­por­tu­ni­ties in the pro­gramme.

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In a sep­a­rate re­port, the Com­mis­sion also pub­lished the sta­tis­tics on stu­dent and staff mo­bil­ity for the fi­nal aca­demic year (20132014) of the for­mer Eras­mus pro­gramme for higher education, which formed part of the um­brella Life­long Learn­ing Pro­gramme. The data re­veals that a record num­ber of stu­dents (272,000) and staff (57,000) took part com­pared to any pre­vi­ous year. Spain, Ger­many and France re­mained the three most pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tions for Eras­mus stu­dents to study or train abroad in 20132014.

In ad­di­tion, Im­pact Study a new Eras­mus Re­gional

con­firms that while un­der­tak­ing an Eras­mus stu­dent ex­change sig­nif­i­cantly im­proves young peo­ple’s chances of se­cur­ing high qual­ity, man­age­rial jobs, this is es­pe­cially true for stu­dents com­ing from South­ern and East­ern Europe.

The seven year pro­gramme (2014-2020) of the Eras­mus+ has a bud­get of EUR 14.7 bln - a 40% in­crease com­pared to pre­vi­ous spend­ing lev­els, re­flect­ing the EU’s com­mit­ment to in­vest in th­ese ar­eas. Eras­mus+ will pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties to over 4 mln Euro­peans to study, train, gain work ex­pe­ri­ence and vol­un­teer abroad.

For the first time, the pro­gramme also of­fers ded­i­cated fund­ing for ac­tions in the area of sport to con­trib­ute to de­vel­op­ing its Euro­pean di­men­sion and tackle ma­jor cross­bor­der threats such as match fix­ing and dop­ing. The pro­gramme also sup­ports the de­vel­op­ment of teach­ing and re­search on Euro­pean in­te­gra­tion through Jean Mon­net ac­tions.

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