The European Commission is currently conducting the mid-term review of Erasmus+ in order to prepare the new programme for 2020. In this effort, the Commission has scheduled a public consultation from February to March 2017. As it is very important that higher institutions as key stakeholders take an active stand in these discussions, EUA consulted its members on their experiences with Erasmus+.
The report, “EUA member consultation: A contribution to the Erasmus+ mid-term review,” showcases the responses of more than 200 higher education institutions from 36 countries that participated in the survey. There are some clear lines of agreement that emerge from the findings:
Institutions appreciate the new streamlined programme structure, the opportunities for more cooperation and exchange with universities outside of Europe, and cooperation with non-university entities. However, many feel that there has been no real simplification, that flexibility has not improved and that administrative burdens have increased. In addition, respondents report issues with management support and tools. While the majority of institutions agree that assistance from the National Agencies and from the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency is quite efficient, they struggle with cumbersome processes, complicated and patchworked instructions and support tools that are welcome, but need improvement.
Another key issue addressed in the findings is funding and funding rules, which are likely to have a negative impact on participation especially considering the complex differences between the economic situations of member states. Survey respondents widely acknowledge that Erasmus+ funding is insufficient. Meanwhile, they describe rules and conditions as being rather clear, but unfavourable to institutions and individuals. Importantly, respondents also appeal for more support for the inclusion of priority groups of vulnerable learners, such as refugees.
In general, while universities are satisfied with the overall structure and approach of the Erasmus+ Programme, they call for institutional realities and needs to be better considered, more simplification and streamlining of administrative processes and more user-friendly IT instruments.
The survey results also include specific findings on the three Erasmus+ Key Actions. To read the full report, please click here.
To read the special edition EUA newsletter, which includes some further reflections and opinion pieces from several higher education institutions on the Erasmus+ programme, please click here.
EUA would like to offer its gratitude to those who participated in the consultation. In the coming months, the Association will work with its members to develop the findings into recommendations for the 2020 programme.