Kaunas to host Erasmus+ info event for Eastern Partnership countries

24 October 2013, Last updated at, 10:08 EEST
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author: PA Wire/Scanpix

Erasmus+, the EU’s new programme for education, training, sport and youth, will provide more opportunities for students and staff in Eastern Partnership countries to study or train in the European Union – and vice versa. Kaunas University of Technology in Lithuania will host an information event on 24-25 October, which will enable the European Commission to present in detail how the international dimension of the higher education part of the new programme will work. Teaching staff and managers from the main higher education institutions in the region will also receive a briefing on the Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions, which funds research fellowships.

The event brings together around 150 government officials, higher education staff, academic representatives and students' organisations from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine and EU Member States. The conference will also be an opportunity to take stock of the current Tempus and Erasmus Mundus programmes.

Tempus and Erasmus Mundus have been great success since their launch in the region and I am happy to say that we will be able to support even more exchanges under our new programme. Education is instrumental for the prosperity and stability of our societies, because without well-performing education systems, there can be neither growth nor development," said Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.

"Increasing academic cooperation with our neighbours is a unique way to bring our regions and people closer to each other. I therefore urge universities on both sides to seize the opportunities offered by the new programmes", said Dainius Pavalkis, Minister of Education and Science of Lithuania.

Erasmus+, to be launched in January 2014, will promote cooperation between the EU and Eastern Partnership countries, in particular by supporting short-term student and staff mobility. More students and higher education institutions will be able to take part in the programme compared with under current programmes. Students from Eastern Partnership countries will also be able to receive grants to participate in excellent joint Master programmes. Doctoral fellowships will be financed by the new Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions, part of the new Horizon 2020 programme for research and innovation. Erasmus+ will also support the modernisation of higher education institutions and systems and staff development in partner countries.

This event is organised in the context of the Eastern Partnership Platform 4 on contacts between people and the Eastern Partnership Youth Forum.

Background

Impact of Erasmus Mundus and Tempus (2007-2013)

The existing Erasmus Mundus programme (which will be part of Erasmus+ from January) aims to enhance quality in higher education through mobility and academic cooperation between Europe and the rest of the world. The programme offers financial support for institutions and scholarships for individuals. Funding is available for:

  • European joint Masters and Doctorates (including scholarships and fellowships)
  • Partnerships with non-European higher education institutions and scholarships for students and academics
  • Projects that promote European higher education worldwide.

Under Erasmus Mundus, the EU has provided nearly €150 million in grants to enable 6 000 students from the Eastern Partnership region to spend part of their studies in Europe. More than 200 universities, including 160 in Eastern Partnership countries, are involved in these exchanges. In 2012, the Erasmus Mundus budget was doubled which meant that more than €35 million was available to fund 9 partnerships. This will allow more than 1500 non-EU and 400 EU nationals to study or learn abroad.

The Tempus programme (which will also come under Erasmus+ in future) promotes institutional cooperation for the modernisation of higher education systems in the Neighbouring Countries, including those in the Eastern Partnership. Projects typically have a budget of up to €1.5 million and focus on areas such as the development of new curricula, modernisation of teaching and learning, improved partnerships with businesses and better university governance.

Since 2007, Tempus has invested nearly €120 million in projects to develop new curricula, train teachers and invest in equipment in Eastern Partnership universities. EU funding for the region under Tempus increased from nearly €13 million in 2011 to €42.5 million in 2012, which will allow the EU to support nearly 50 projects in Eastern Partnership countries.

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