BRUSSELS – “Erasmus needs to become more inclusive - the grant scheme must set clear targets for disadvantaged students”, said Allan Päll, Chair of the European Students’ Union, at the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Erasmus programme on 30 January.
Päll added: "Erasmus student exchange has been wildly successful and proven the added value of mobility to students' personal development as well as towards instigating institutional change towards internationalisation. However, we can and must do better to make this experience accessible for all. “
Almost 3 million students and academic staff from all around Europe have received funding from the European Commission to study or teach abroad. The added value of mobility is significant, according to several studies, especially when it comes to boosting language skills and improving an individual’s adaptability, which might increase one’s chances of getting a job, but also give students a better sense of what it means to be a European citizen.
Currently 33 European countries participate in the Erasmus scheme (the 27 EU countries, Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey). At the moment, demand for grants exceeds the availability. The European Commission has called for a significant increase in EU support for higher education mobility under its proposed new programme for education, training and youth ('Erasmus for All'), which is due to start in 2014.
Päll concluded: “For us, the key in the next years will be to start looking at who gets access to mobility opportunities since there is more evidence around to show that Erasmus is mostly used by students with higher socioeconomic backgrounds.".
ESU hopes that during negotiations on the next EU’s long-term budget, to take place this year, governments will show a clear commitment towards long-term investments, such as investing into education and research, which will help Europe to overcome the crisis and build a sustainable future for all.
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Published: 30 January 2012
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