07.04.2014 change 07.04.2014

Minister of Science: Erasmus is a symbol of European integration

Budget of Erasmus+ inaugurated last Monday will be over 14 billion euros, about 40 percent higher than in the previous financial perspective. "Erasmus is a symbol of European integration" - believes Minister of Science Lena Kolarska-Bobińska.

In Poland, Erasmus+ was inaugurated last week with the conference "Erasmus+: mobility, innovation, development".

The EU program Erasmus+ has been launched in January 2014. It replaced several previous educational programs, including "Learning for Life" (Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci, Comenius and Grundtvig) and "Youth in Action". It will run until 2020. In Poland it is carried out by three ministries: of science and higher education , national education and sports and tourism.

"By launching Erasmus+, we attest to the usefulness of the European Union. This testimony is now more needed than ever" - said EU Commissioner for Financial Programming and Budget Janusz Lewandowski during the inauguration.

Although in the current financial perspective the EU budget is few tens of billions of euros lower, the decrease does not affect Erasmus+. "In the case of Erasmus+, there is a significant increase - it is about 40 percent more funds" - emphasised Lewandowski.

The seven-year budget of Erasmus+ will be over 14 billion euros. Poland will receive approximately one billion euros from this pool, including 102 million euros in 2014. More than one-third of these funds will be allocated to higher education, such as foreign exchange of students.

According to the Minister of Science and Higher Education Prof. Lena Kolarska-Bobińska, the Erasmus program "wildly popularised the ideas of mobility, travel, scholarships". "Poles appreciate European integration most for the free movement of people and goods. In the case of education, this means exchange programs and scholarships. Erasmus is a symbol of European integration" - Minister of Science told PAP.

She explained in the new financial perspective and after changes in the programme, will enable the collaboration between universities, and between universities and businesses. "The programme will contribute to improved international practices for Polish students" - emphasised the minister.

Agreements concluded between the universities under the programme will enable the exchange of teaching staff and curricula. "They will also allow for the inclusion of the skills acquired in non-formal system in the formal education process. I hope that this will strengthen our schools" - said the Minister of Science .

Director-General for Education and Culture of the European Commission Jan Truszczyński said that according to estimates, over the next seven years the Erasmus program in Poland "will cover 4 million education arrivals and departures of both learners and teachers".

According to Truszczyński, as of the academic year 2015/16, student mobility under the Erasmus programme will probably be possible also for students from Ukraine. As a result, they will be able to go take a semester of study in another country. Countries such as Ukraine and Egypt can already benefit from the joint inter-university projects that enable students to acquire a master\'s degree at a foreign university.

President of the Foundation for the Development of Education - National Agency for Erasmus in Poland - Mirosław Marczewski said that the programme had already recorded the first success in Poland. "We have close to 2 thousand projects submitted in the first round of the programme, which expired in mid-March. It is the fourth number of projects submitted in Europe, and only about 200 less than in Germany" - said Marczewski.

From the amount earmarked for the Poland for the Erasmus+ programme, more than 11 percent is directed to activities related to school education, 22 percent to vocational education and training, 10 percent to youth, 5 percent to the education of adults, and 33.3 percent to higher education. As a result, universities will be able to carry out foreign exchange of students, maintain the mobility of researchers, invite foreign lecturers.

PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland

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