On 22 October, the Committee on Culture and Education discussed the new Erasmus programme on the basis of the European Parliament’s draft report (rapporteur Milan Zver, EPP) which reflects the European Commission’s proposal of May this year.
The Guild welcomes Parliament’s call for tripling the budget of the future Erasmus programme if we want to sustain the level of funding post-2020 and fund new initiatives such as DiscoverEU and European Universities. This is especially important in light of removing obstacles to participation for those individuals or groups who have not yet benefitted from the programme. Shorter and flexible mobility formats could support groups such as student parents, PhD students or working students. Therefore, The Guild agrees with Parliament’s efforts to put greater focus on inclusion in the next Erasmus programme and physical mobility as the main Erasmus instrument.
Although improved access to the programme and a greater number of participants are important, we should not risk the quality of these mobility experiences. The next programme should go even further with regards to quality. In a rapidly changing world, young people need to acquire transferable, intercultural, critical thinking and language skills which are crucial for their employability. Also, support should be offered to teaching and administrative staff in higher education institutions, e.g. on how to engage with cultural diversity in teaching or career counselling. The new programme should reinforce Erasmus staff mobility and maximise its potential and relevance for higher education institutions.
We support Parliament’s calls for synergies with other funding programmes, particularly with Horizon Europe if we wish to create meaningful links between education, research and innovation. Alongside European Universities, these links should be encouraged for students and staff in Horizon Europe projects or Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions.
The Guild is committed to supporting the next Erasmus programme through the engagement of our universities, and we look forward to bringing detailed proposals on the Parliament’s draft reports in the coming weeks.