Neth-ER: Erasmus+ needs a bigger budget to realise full potential!
Neth-ER argues that at least 2.5% of the EU budget should be dedicated to Erasmus+’s successor programme, with an absolute amount of at least 3 billion euro’s per programme year. This is Neth-ER’s main recommendation in its position paper on the mid-term evaluation of Erasmus+.
Neth-ER identifies three key messages. Firstly, the EU’s ambition to realise a strong knowledge economy and create jobs and sustainable growth requires an Erasmus+ budget that will allow for the realisation of these ambitions. Secondly, Erasmus+ should be used as a tool to find solutions for the many challenges related to the completion of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and the Copenhagen process. Lastly, the administrative burden of Erasmus+ is still too high, thereby hindering the fulfilment of the ambitions. Both the European Commission and national institutions have many opportunities to tackle this problem by simplifying documents and procedures.
Ambitions for internationalisation and vision on Erasmus+
Neth-ER sees internationalisation as a vital tool to keep European institutions competitive and to support the European knowledge economy. If Europe is serious about its agenda for growth and jobs and its emphasis on smart, sustainable and inclusive growth to build a strong knowledge economy, the Erasmus+ programme needs a bigger budget. Neth-ER argues that at least 2.5% of the EU budget should be dedicated to the Erasmus+’s successor programme, with an absolute amount of at least 3 billion euro’s per programme year. The Dutch knowledge field also addresses the need for assistance for students from a disadvantaged background, and less experienced VET institutions. In addition, cross-sectoral collaboration within Erasmus+ and synergies between Erasmus+ and other EU programmes need further development.
Support from Erasmus+ for the EHEA and the Copenhagen Process
The completion of the EHEA is considered to be of utmost importance for European higher education institutions. Too many countries have not fully implemented key parts of the EHEA. Compliance is necessary for scaling up mobility in order for mobility to become the standard rather than the exception. The Erasmus+ Programme must be a viable tool in addressing problems such as the facilitation of credit recognition. In addition, to succeed at obtaining the objective of the Copenhagen Process, the VET sector needs a critical mass of school leaders and companies that support (and implement) the link between international cooperation, mobility and quality education. Erasmus+ is the main programme to realise this objective and must provide adequate support.
Efficiency of the programme
The Dutch knowledge field has identified several issues in the Erasmus+ programme that need to be tackled in order to improve the efficiency of the programme. Neth-ER believes that the administrative burden for both students and institutions is still too high. Unfortunately, the integration of different Life-Long Learning programmes into Erasmus+ has not led to a lower administrative burden. Forms such as the learning agreement must reflect the purpose they serve and not lead to excessive paperwork. The opportunity exists for both the European Commission as well as national education institutions to simplify the documents, and to provide appropriate support for participants. Additionally, obtaining the Erasmus Charter for Higher Education and the Erasmus+ VET Mobility Charter must reap more benefits for the institutions. After obtaining the Charter, the administrative burden for institutions should decrease considerably.
On the paper
This policy paper is drafted by Neth-ER as input for the mid-term evaluation of Erasmus+. This paper represents the perspectives of Neth-ER on the functioning of the Erasmus+ programme. The position paper has been created parallel to the official evaluation, which is the responsibility of the Dutch ministries involved. The position paper serves as a tool for the Neth-ER members to voice their perspectives but is not part of the official evaluation.