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Boost to Erasmus good news for Copenhagen

A 70 per cent increase in Erasmus programme funding will help universities send and receive more students from abroad. Good news, says International Office to the University Post

The EU is to merge seven student exchange programmes and to merge them into the biggest one, Erasmus, under the heading ‘Erasmus for All’. The seven-year programme, which starts 2014, will get a total budget of EUR 19 billion. This is a 70 per cent increase on the current programme, reports the EU Commission.

The present Erasmus programme is just one of several programmes which includes Leonardo da Vinci, Comenius, Grundtvig, Tempus, Alfa, and Edulink.

»We need to invest more in education and training at all levels, so that we can provide the skills that are needed to be able to compete with the best in the world,« says EU Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou.

Education for growth and jobs

The goal is not only to simplify and mainstream the system, but to give a boost to the European economy, according to the EU.

»The world was different when the existing programmes were created. We are currently experiencing one of the most tumultuous economic periods of our time,« states the European Commission on their ‘Erasmus for All’ website.

»The EU has responded with a coordinated strategy for growth and jobs called Europe 2020 – and education and training are an integral part of this«.

Read article: Boom in international students turns to bust

Promotes knowledge sharing, synergies

The plan has been welcomed by the European university association lobbyists EUA in Brussels.

The »focus clearly underlines the strategic European added value of common European education and research activities that bring people together, promote the sharing of knowledge, and enable synergies impossible to create at national level,« the EUA states in reaction to the programme.

The University of Copenhagen and other Danish universities were recently forced by government to correct an imbalance between incoming exchange students and outgoing Danish students abroad.

Copenhagen delighted

The new measure by the European Commission will help the University of Copenhagen, reckons the head of the International Office, John Edelsgaard Andersen.

»We are pleased with the new ‘Erasmus for All’ plan. I think it will lead to a simplification of the EU system, which has been quite complicated up till now. The University of Copenhagen will save a lot of money on administration. On top of this we will get more international students,« says John Edelsgaard Andersen.

»Hopefully the new system, starting from 2014, can revitalise the exchange programmes. Right now, students from the south (of Europe, ed.) visit up north, and students from east go west. That’s the trend. Since Denmark is north-west, our students hardly go abroad. We hope this will change,« says John Edelsgaard Andersen, adding that his only concern with the new proposal is if ‘Erasmus Mundus’, a programme inviting non-EU citizens to study within the Union, were annulled.

For more information about the ‘Erasmus for All’ proposal plan visit Erasmus for All – European Commission.

anna.m.gaonkar@adm.ku.dk

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