Wednesday, 30 November 2011

EU: European Commission proposal on ERASMUS for ALL as new programme for Education, training, youth and sport

Erasmus for All is the new EU programme for education, training, youth and sport proposed by the European Commission on 23 November 2011. This programme would bring together all the current EU and international schemes for education, training, youth and sport, replacing seven existing programmes with one from 2014 - 2020. The new programme for education, training and youth would allocate €19.5 billion (+ 70%) over seven years. The proposal is now under discussion by the Council (27 Member States) and the European Parliament who will take the final decision.

The most issues around the Erasmus for All programme have already been discussed in the last issue of e-DARE: See here especially the so far not solved problem related to the future of youth programme targeted solely on education in a streamlined programme!

The new programme will comprise three main lines of action:

(1) Trans-national learning mobility (65% of the budget foreseen) - as many as 800,000 EU citizens, mainly students, could be helped to be mobile each year.
(2) Co-operation activities between education institutions (25 % of the foreseen budget) and the world of work will be supported to promote the modernisation of education, innovation and entrepreneurship.
(3) Policy support (4% of the foreseen budget) will be provided to gather evidence on the effectiveness of education investments and to help Member States implement effective policies.

The streamlined programme will be facilitated via a single national agency and it is predicted to have reduced administration load compared to the current line of programmes. Instead of currently 6 subprogrammes, with 50 Priorities and 60 actions targeted to the specific needs of the sectors (which is in fact a big plus of the current programme) the new integrated programme will focus on the above 3 main lines of action with cross- sectoral priorities:

Contentwise the basis for the new programme is set on a bunch of pillars. It is designed to support the following initiatives (all of them contain issues relevant for EDC/HRE)

1. the EU 2020 strategy
2. the youth on the move initiative
3. the Education and Training Strategy 2020 (ET 2020)
4. the European key competences for Lifelong Learning
5. the European Youth strategy
6. the new European Agenda for Adult learning


It is important to mention that the forseen increase of the budget on ~70% compared to the current line of programmes exists so far only on the paper and is not confirmed by any Council decision (tba for 2nd half of 2012). Taking into consideration the effects of the current financial crisis on state budgets, it is hard to predict if the proposed budgetary increase will  be accepted by a decision of the Council of Ministeres and the EU member states. In the worst case Erasmus for All stays financially on the same level as the current generation of programmes 2007 - 2013, which means for adult eduaction and youth purposes in fact a decrease in the budget compared to the current budget and streamlined towards labour market related skills, with a large focus on learning mobility higher and vocational education.
In an integrated programme there is the risk that "big tankers" (as universities etc.) will be in the position to dominate the whole programme as they have a better and far more competitive infrastructure than small educational providers and especially NGO´s, and thus are in a far better position to be successfull within the new educational programme.

The fact that the current generation of EU-Programmes was tailormade to the specific needs of each educational sector is a criterium of high quality which threatens to get lost in the the new Erasmus for All programme. This risk should be communicated to all relevant stakeholders on the political level.