A 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.