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Erasmus celebrates 30 years of moving Europe

 The New Year commences with Erasmus celebrating 30 years of creating European mobility opportunities. Kicked off this February at the European Parliament in Brussels, a celebratory campaign of the 30th anniversary will carry on throughout 2017 and feature a series of events, ranging from conferences, to dialogues and debates across the Union, weaving the European mobility narrative.

The Erasmus Impact Study – effects of mobility on the skills and employability of the students and the internationalisation of higher education institutions released by the Commission 2014, and its 2016 follow up Regional impact study; tell the story and achievements of three decades of Europe’s most celebrated programme for education, youth and sport.  Erasmus, since its launch in 1987 had steadily increased its popularity and enabled over 3 million students to pursue study and training opportunities abroad. Findings revealed Erasmus to show much promise in raising employability, with international mobility to notably reduce chances for long term unemployment of alumni- successes in this area particularly attributed to ’Erasmus work placements’.

2014 marked a well-known turning point for Europe’s mobility programme that saw a rebranding to Erasmus +, merging seven separate programme areas, boosting the budget by 40% and setting a prime target to make mobility in studies, training, work or volunteering a reality for over 4 million young Europeans and students globally. The Regional Impact analysis showed that Erasmus had motivated students’ ambitions to stay mobile with the pursuit of an international career (particularly those from Northern Europe) and that Eastern Europe stood out in benefiting from Erasmus with a particularly high percentage (70%) of alumni holding positions with managerial status.

A millstone move as that to Erasmus+, cannot take place without a perspective to continuous improvement, reaching the key goal of a ‘streamlined’ programme. For the European Parliament, ACA conducted a study on the first experiences of Erasmus+ National Agencies (NAs) with the implementation of the new programme, released last year in June. Mapping the biggest advantages and challenges to date, brought to light the plusses of more cross-sectorial cooperation and mutual learning, simplified financial management and budget flexibility, potential for wider impact and indeed the streamlined architecture and resulting harmonisation effects.  Combined with critical improvements in IT tools and their sheer number, red tape, and an over-focus on large-scale projects, the study painted a picture of next steps in the programme close to stakeholder needs.  Questions remain as to what extent the many impact findings are attributable to the ‘’Erasmus effect’ or the rise of internationalization in itself. Beyond creating mobility opportunities, promoting international ambitions and cross cultural competences in students, 30 years of Erasmus has shaped European identity for a new generation of learners. Stakeholders interested in contributing to the Europe wide, year long, celebratory campaign are welcomed to register their event with the Commission. European Commission- Erasmus 30th Anniversary See also ACA Newsletter: