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A joint Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps Inclusion and Diversity Strategy has recently been published to support the implementation of the Inclusion and Diversity, currently a top horizontal priority in the two programmes.
These implementation guidelines aim to establish common understanding of those who may be considered people with fewer opportunities, increase commitment from all actors involved and support beneficiary organisations in establishing projects of increased quality involving people with fewer opportunities. This would lead to reducing barriers to participation in the programmes while developed experience and competences need to be sufficiently recognised. Finally, the strategy is aiming to ensuring the focus on inclusion and diversity is taken into account at all stages of the programmes’ management and life-cycle along with increased visibility.
The strategy outlines eight types of barriers in accessibility and outreach based on previous experience. These are:
People who fall under one of these types of barriers are entitled to take part in the programmes which are now equipped with mechanism to support inclusion and diversity in the assessment process while ensuring better accessibility and user-friendliness for the beneficiaries. Funded projects can get support for preparatory visits, reinforced mentorship, and dedicated financial support among other mechanisms.
The strategy also defines the roles of organisations implementing the projects, as well as the role of National Agencies (NA), Resource Centres and the European Education and Culture Executive Agency. Next to information and awareness raising and supportive approach, NAs must develop a national Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps action plan based on their local realities as well as appoint at least one Inclusion and Diversity Officer to coordinate such actions.
With exciting times for Inclusion and Diversity in international higher education ahead, these implementation guidelines should pave the way forward for all actors involved in further developing their existing practices as well as designing new ones, from institutional to policy levels.
More information on all of the above is available in the Inclusion and Diversity Strategy.