Erasmus+: Cooperation in school education and youth with partners from the Eastern Partnership region

05 November 2013, Last updated at, 17:29 EEST
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author: PantherMedia/Scanpix

As far as school cooperation is concerned, the internal eTwinning programme was extended to Eastern Partnership countries in March 2013. It has allowed schools from this region to participate in the European community for schools and have access to the free and safe platform for teachers to connect, develop collaborative projects and share ideas. More than 300 schools from the Eastern Partnerships countries are involved in eTwinning, out of which, 157 already participate in projects with other schools from across Europe.

An example of such projects, "Eurotrain", involves pupils between 10 and 15 in a ‘Getting to know you’ project founded by teachers in Turkey and Lithuania. This project also involves schools in Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Bulgaria, as well as Specialised school number 17 in Cherkasy, Ukraine. Another one, "My country", involves children aged 11-14 who are developing an interactive e-book. Schools in 5 countries, including Yerevan Primary School #177 in Armenia are working together to produce an e-book, which will highlight various aspects of life in each country.

The EU Programme Youth in Action has supported youth cooperation with Eastern Partnership countries throughout the current programming period (2007-2013). This cooperation was significantly strengthened with the implementation of the so-called "Eastern Partnership Youth Window", with which an additional 31.5 MioEUR were made available to involve in 2012 and 2013 more than 21,000 young people and youth workers in joint activities such as youth exchanges, the European Voluntary Service and training and networking activities.

The Eastern Partnership Youth Window has allowed organisations from Eastern Partnership countries for the first time not only to participate as partners in projects but also to apply directly to the Education, Audio-visual and Culture Executive Agency in Brussels, increasing their ownership in these projects. The increased funding opportunities met a lot of interest across Europe. By the end of 2013, more than 30,000 young people and youth workers will have participated in the activities co-funded by the Eastern Partnership Youth Window.

One example for a project implemented within the framework of the Eastern Partnership Youth Window is the European Voluntary Service project "Learning for Life" which involved eight young volunteers from France, Germany, Latvia, Sweden and the United Kingdom for 12 months in voluntary activities in Moldova. The volunteers worked in care centres specialised on the social re-integration of young Roma, orphans and children and young people with physical disabilities.

Another project, the "Human Rights Caravan" brought together 5 Georgian volunteers and 5 European Voluntary Service volunteers from Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden and Turkey in Georgia, to share knowledge and skills in Human Rights education from the various regions and to disseminate this information in Georgian local communities. Activities included workshops, discussions, screening of relevant movies, street action and environmental activities..

Under Erasmus+, young people and youth workers from Eastern Partnership countries will continue to participate in joint projects with "Programme countries". Notably, they will continue being involved in activities such as youth exchanges and European Voluntary Service. Youth workers from Eastern Partnership countries will participate in training and networking activities to support their professional development.

Young people and youth workers from Eastern Partnership countries will also be able to participate as partners in meetings between young people and decision makers in the field of youth, in line with the Youth Structured Dialogue, which involves young people, governments and administrations, including the EU institutions, in a debate that allows for joint conclusions that feed into policy making.

The European Commission and the National Agencies in charge of implementing parts of Erasmus+ actions, will continue in 2014 to promote as widely as possible in EaP countries, the new cooperation opportunities offered through Erasmus+.

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