Launched in 2014 and running until 2020, we’re now halfway through the Erasmus+ programme. The European Commission is now conducting a midterm evaluation of the programme, gathering feedback and comments from various stakeholders, as well as the general public. As one of these key stakeholders, speaking on behalf of our members and practitioners in the field, we’ve contributed to this midterm review by outlining what we see as important for launching the coming programme. In our minds, two things are paramount in ensuring the programme’s future success: funding and simplification.
Full deployment through funding
Thanks to the Erasmus+ contribution, mobility and all its underlying benefits don’t have to be a privilege of the wealthy. However, further resources, funding in particular, need to be allocated in order for this to happen. We suggested broadening access to mobility by coordinating with other European funds (both social and regional). The introduction of new types of mobility could also be used to align with current trends in international education, and serve as a tool to attract and engage more participants in a cost-effective way. As for the grant agreement period in KA2 capacity-building projects, we would like to see it be again extended to cover a period of five years. This is a direct result of the fact that setting up Joint Programmes, for example, requires a rather intensive time investment and the extended time period corresponds much better to the learning curve in capacity building processes. In all projects, though, a stronger financial support is definitely necessary as these projects can play a key role in European engagement with the Sustainable Development Goals – one of the key elements in the EAIE’s 2016–2020 strategy.
In our eyes, simplification is the buzzword for the future. While Erasmus+ has a far more comprehensive approach and simpler architecture compared to previous programmes, there is plenty of room for improvement. This is especially the case, when it comes to online tools and the complexity of procedures. Clearer structures and processes will raise the overall quality of future programmes. In order for this to happen though, the flow of information and communication among individual institutions, the National Agencies and the European Commission has to be enhanced as well. The EAIE offered to help facilitate this clarity in any way possible, whether that be consulting in focus groups, or testing and piloting new ideas and initiatives.
The full monty
These broad notions are the fundamental aspects of the EAIE’s thoughts on projecting the Erasmus+ programme into the future. In addition, we see the UK’s integration in follow-up programmes of both Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ to be of the utmost importance. Are you interested in reading our full position? Read the paper we submitted to the European Commission for more information on our thoughts about broadening access through further funding, and simplifying Erasmus+ to make it more manageable and understandable, among other suggestions.
Markus Laitinen is President of the EAIE and Sabine Pendl is the EAIE’s Vice-President.