By ; Saber Mohamed
The Commission adopted the first annual work programme of Erasmus+ 2021-2027. With a budget of €26.2 billion, (compared to €14.7 billion for 2014-2020), complemented with about €2.2 billion from EU's external instruments, the new and revamped programme will fund learning mobility and cross-border cooperation projects for 10 million Europeans of all ages and all backgrounds. It will seek to be even more inclusive and to support the green and digital transitions, as set out in the European Education Area. Erasmus+ will also support the resilience of education and training systems in the face of the pandemic.
Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said: “I welcome the launch of the new Erasmus+ programme, which has affirmed itself as one of the great achievements of the European Union. It will continue to offer learning opportunities to hundreds of thousands of Europeans and beneficiaries from associated countries. While providing a life-changing experience of mobility and common understanding amongst fellow Europeans, the programme will also help us to deliver on our ambitions for a more fair and greener Europe.”
Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, said: “The fact that the Erasmus+ budget for the next seven years has almost doubled shows the importance given to education, lifelong learning and youth in Europe. Erasmus+ remains a unique programme in terms of its size, scope and global recognition, covering 33 countries, and accessible to the rest of the world through its international activities. I invite all public and private organisations active in the fields of education, training, youth and sport to look at the newly published calls for proposals and apply for funding. Thanks to Erasmus+, we will make the European education area a reality.”
Today's adoption of the annual work programme paves the way for the first calls for proposals under the new Erasmus+, also published today. Any public or private body active in the fields of education, training, youth and sport can apply for funding, with the help of Erasmus+ national agencies based in all EU Member States and third countries associated to the programme.
The new Erasmus+ programme provides opportunities for study periods abroad, traineeships, apprenticeships, and staff exchanges in all fields of education, training, youth and sport. It is open to school pupils, higher education and vocational education and training students, adult learners, youth exchanges, youth workers and sport coaches.
In addition to mobility, which counts for 70% of the budget, the new Erasmus+ also invests in cross‑border cooperation projects. These can be between higher education institutions (e.g. the European Universities initiative); schools; teacher education and training colleges (e.g. Erasmus+ Teacher Academies); adult learning centres; youth and sport organisations; providers of vocational education and training (e.g. Vocational Centres of Excellence); and other actors in the learning sphere.
The main features of the Erasmus+ 2021-2027 programme are:
- Inclusive Erasmus+: providing enhanced opportunities to people with fewer opportunities, including people with diverse cultural, social and economic backgrounds, and people living in rural and remote areas. Novelties include individual and class exchanges for school pupils and mobility for adult learners. It will be easier for smaller organisations, such as schools, youth associations and sports clubs to apply, thanks to small-scale partnerships and the use of simplified grants. The programme will also be more international, to cooperate with third countries, building on the successes of the previous programme with exchanges and cooperation projects around the world, now also expanding to sport and the vocational education and training sectors.
- Digital Erasmus+: The pandemic highlighted the need to accelerate the digital transition of education and training systems. Erasmus+ will support the development of digital skills, in line with the Digital Education Action Plan. It will provide high-quality digital training and exchanges via platforms such as eTwinning, School Education Gateway and the European Youth Portal, and it will encourage traineeships in the digital sector. New formats, such as blended intensive programmes, will allow short-term physical mobility abroad to be complemented with online learning and teamwork. The implementation of the programme will be further digitalised and simplified with the full roll-out of the European Student Card.
- Green Erasmus+: In line with the European Green Deal, the programme will offer financial incentives to participants using sustainable modes of transport. It will also invest in projects promoting awareness of environmental issues and facilitate exchanges related to mitigating the climate crisis.
- Erasmus+ for young people: DiscoverEU now becomes an integral part of Erasmus+ and gives 18 year-olds the possibility to get a rail pass to travel across Europe, learn from other cultures and meet fellow Europeans. Erasmus+ will also support exchange and cooperation opportunities through new youth participation activities, to help young people engage and learn to participate in democratic life, raising awareness about shared European values and fundamental rights; and bringing young people and decision-makers together at local, national and European level.
The Erasmus+ resilience effort in the context of the pandemic will mobilise hundreds of thousands of schools, higher education institutions, vocational training institutes, teachers, young people, youth and sport organisations, civil society and other stakeholders. The programme will help accelerate new practices that improve the quality and relevance of education, training and youth systems across Europe, at national, regional and local level.