Tag: Erasmus

News: Establishing of ESAA met with both enthusiasm and critique

DG EAC formally announced the launch of Erasmus+ Students and Alumni Association (ESAA) this Friday, 12th of June with a kick-off conference. About 250 participants were invited, including founding associations, representatives from the European Comimsion, and stakeholder representatives who have been involved in ESAA.

The new association is supported by DG EAC and represent uniting for existing associations under one umbrella, Erasmus Student Network (ESN), Erasmus Mundus Student and Alumni Association (EMA), the garagErasmus Foundation and Erasmus+ Oceans.

The website highlights ESAA aim to  be a “dynamic platform for networking, professional development and intercultural learning while promoting European Higher Education and worldwide cooperation”. On the press site, it is also highlighted that the foreseen aim is to develop projects and improve quality of education, in addition to providing an alumni network. You can view the presentations from the launch here, where they highlight the aims of the new organization.

The Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport,  Tibor Navracsics, said about ESAA in the press release: “Erasmus+ is one of Europe’s flagship projects, and rightly so. Studying in another country, whether for a short or longer period, is a great experience for young Europeans: It helps them to enhance their skills as well as to understand and accept cultural and other differences. Student and alumni associations offer crucial support to help young people make the most of this opportunity – before, during and after their stay abroad. That is why I am very pleased that ESAA will help to channel this support and know-how even more effectively. I am looking forward to seeing new activities that will further improve the mobility experience, encourage networking and help promote the opportunities Erasmus+ offers to a wider audience.”

It appears that the event was marked with enthusiasm by those attending, and in social media the role of networking amongst members was frequently highlighted. For discussions and photos from the event – follow the #ESAAkickoff hashtag on Twitter.

However, the establishment of ESAA has also been met with considerable critique from ESU – the European Student Union, who has raised concerns about the representative nature of ESAA, Commission involvement in shaping a student organization and the kind of policy agenda that is being pushed.

Erasmus impact study – key results published today!

EUThe Erasmus Impact study was conducted by the Erasmus Student Network (ESN), CHE Consult (DE), Brussels Education Services (BE) and the Compostela Group of Universities (ES).

The study was lauched in spring of 2013 and covered current, former, mobile and non-mobile students across Europe through a quantitative and qualitative analysis. The study had two core aims. The first aim was to identify the effects of Erasmus mobility programme on skills enhancement, employability and institutional development of the individual students. The other main focus was on examining the impact of Erasmus staff/teaching mobility.

In the quantitative student surveys, over 50 000 students participated, in addition to more than 18 000 alumni and almost 5000 staff members from higher education institutions, as well as employer representatives and institutional responses. In total, there was almost 79 000 responses analysed. 

The key results from the study were published today. Five key findings are highlighted – related to the rationales to undertake Erasmus mobility, its relationship to employability, influence on future career, personal relationships and the benefits to staff and higher education institutions.

Perhaps unexpected, 90% of mobile students highlight the importance of having experience with living abroad as a rationale for Erasmus, along with language improvement and benefits to employability. Furthermore, the results highlight the inclusiveness of Erasmus, as very few of non-mobile students report barriers due to selection.

Erasmus+ now approved in the European Parliament

EUA few days ago, on Tuesday, the European Parliament approved the new Erasmus+ programme and budget for 2014-2020. Erasmus+ represents a new approach by the European Union to approach its various programmes where existing programmes for education, training, youth and sport will be merged into one unified programme with a growing budget that will begin in January 2014.

The budget for the new programme is €14.7 billion which represents a 40% increase in comparison to current budgets. The name follows up on the existing Erasmus programme which is a successful mobility scheme for European higher education students. Erasmus has since its introduction in 1987 been the flagship project for education in the European Union, and in July 2013 the number of Erasmus students reached 3 million.

In the new Erasmus+ programme, existing EU programmes will be merged into one, including the Lifelong Learning Programme (Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci, Comenius, Grundtvig), Youth in Action and five international cooperation programmes (Erasmus Mundus, Tempus, Alfa, Edulink and the programme for cooperation with industrialised countries). This also represents a more holistic perspective on education promoted by the EU in recent years where there is a clear aim of more policy coordination between various educational sectors but also with relevant adjacent policy areas.

The new programme will provide mobility grants for 4 million individuals, the press release highlighted that this includes 2 million higher education students, 650 000 vocational training students and apprentices, and half a million youth in exchange programmes as well as volunteers. Furthermore, funding will be provided for education and training staff, youth workers and for partnerships between universities, colleges, schools, enterprises, and not-for-profit organisations, following up on existing instruments and programmes.

Number of Erasmus students has reached 3 million

Newest statistics launched by the EU show that the number of students who have spent parts of their studies abroad with an Erasmus grant has now passed 3 million. Erasmus mobility programme was introduced in 1987 and is considered one of the definite success stories of European initiatives in the area of education. The programme includes at this point 33 countries (EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey).

Number of students annually (Source: Europa.eu)

Number of students annually (click to view full size image)
(Source: Europa.eu)

26 years ago when the programme was introduced it attracted 3,244 students Europe wise. The numbers for the 2011/2012 academic year indicate a new record – over 250 000 students spent either part of their studies abroad or had a job placement with a foreign company. Furthermore, well over 45 000 staff members, both academic and administrative received support to teach or train abroad. Over 33 ooo of these were teaching assignments, marking a 5.4% increase compared to the previous year.

The highest growth amongst outbounding students was in Croatia with 61,8%, potentially explained with their recent joining with the programme. However, high growth rates were also shown in Denmark, Slovenia and Turkey. The country sending out most students was Spain, followed by Germany and France – all three being among the larger countries in Europe. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Spain was also the most popular destination country with a clear margin, followed by France and Germany.

The Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Androulla Vassiliou commented on the recent numbers: “Erasmus is more important than ever in times of economic hardship and high youth unemployment: the skills and international experience gained by Erasmus students make them more employable and more likely to be mobile on the labour market. Erasmus has also played a tremendous role in improving the quality of higher education in Europe by opening up our universities and colleges to international cooperation. Looking to the future, I’m delighted that our new Erasmus+ programme will enable 4 million young people to study, train, teach or volunteer abroad in the next seven years.”

Have you had experience with an Erasmus programme? How did the experience contribute to your studies?

Erasmus for All – new EU programme announced

Yesterday, the European Commission announced its follow-up programme for the current Lifelong Learning Programme, termed Erasmus for All, that is now being discussed in the Council and Parliament. The central idea is that all of the various EU and international schemes for education, training, youth and sport would be brought under one umbrella to increase efficiency. The activities will be focused on three areas: mobility grants, institutional cooperation and support to modernise educational systems in the member states. One of the goals is to provide grants for up to 5 million people overall (incl. about 3 million HE and VET students), which is almost twice as many as now.

The rationale? “We need to invest more in education and training at all levels, so that we can provide the skills that are needed to be able to compete with the best in the world. Studying abroad boosts people’s skills, personal development, adaptability and employability“, says Androulla Vassiliou, the Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism, Sport, Media and Youth. She continues: “The future of Europe depends on the knowledge, the skills and the capacity of its people to innovate“. So, education has moved from being an area where EU should not really get involved, to being the key to prosperity in European future. And consequently, something that really needs European involvement, right?