Unit 2.1. – Erasmus+ – An Introduction

The Erasmus programme was established by the European Union in 1987 and it was set up as an exchange programme for higher education students.

At the time only eleven European countries participated. However, over the years, the Erasmus+ programme continued to evolve and today, it offers a wide range of opportunities in higher education, vocational education and training, school education, adult education, youth and sport. These opportunities are now open to learners, educators and youth workers.

Undoubtedly, the programme has given millions of people the chance to study, volunteer, train and gain professional experience abroad. In this manner, the programme contributes towards achieving the objectives of the EU Youth Strategy.

Overview of the Erasmus+ Programme

Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission which aims to support education, training, sport and youth in Europe. It also promotes a range of sports events and funds actions in the field of sports.

The Erasmus+ Programme also funds a number of partnership projects across education, training and youth sectors. These projects address key issues related to the quality of teaching and training, employability, new technologies and digital skills and the promotion of inclusion and tolerance.

The programme offers opportunities to people of all ages, helping them to share and develop knowledge and experience at institutions and organisations within different countries. It also involves a wide range of organisations, including education and training providers, universities, research organisations and private businesses.

The programme is designed to support participating countries in their efforts to efficiently and effectively enhance the potential of human talent and social capital, while embracing the principle of lifelong learning. The latter is achieved by linking support to formal, non-formal and informal learning throughout the education, training and youth fields.

The Erasmus+ Programme tackles the following issues:

  • Reducing unemployment, especially among young people;
  • Promoting adult learning, especially for new skills and skills required by the labour market;
  • Encouraging young people to take part in European democracy;
  • Supporting innovation, cooperation and reform;
  • Reducing early school leaving;
  • Promoting cooperation and mobility with the EU’s partner countries.

Mobility Exchanges and Cooperation Projects

Erasmus+ contributes towards enhancing mobility within the European countries. Mobility helps to provide people with the education, skills and competences required to lead independent and fulfilling lives. This has undoubtedly given people a European experience and sense of belonging to a community.

In addition to enhancing the element of mobility, the Erasmus+ Programme strengthens cooperation between organisations active in the fields of education, training, youth and sport. Such organisations are able to form partnerships with each other as well as other stakeholders in the field. Furthermore, cooperation projects increase quality and drive innovation.

Management of the Erasmus+ Programme

The overall management of the Erasmus+ programme is handled by the European Commission, which is responsible to manage the budget, set priorities, identify targets and criteria, monitor and guide its implementation, and evaluate its applicability.

The Education, Audiovisual, and Cultural Executive Agency within the European Commission is in charge of managing particular central elements of the programme, mainly promoting the programme, launching calls for proposals, reviewing grant requests, contracting and monitoring projects, and communicating results achieved.

The Erasmus+ programme is also managed by National Agencies in EU countries. Outside the EU, this role is filled by the National Erasmus+ Offices. These offices provide information on the programme, monitor and evaluate the implementation of the projects and support people and organisations taking part in the programme.

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