The new period of the Erasmus+ programme, one of the EU’s most successful and most popular programme, will begin in 2021. Its doubled budget will offer new opportunities for education, youth and sports projects as well as learning mobility. The European Solidarity Corps programme will offer opportunities for volunteering in the field of humanitarian aid.
“It is a pleasure that the new budget period of the EU will provide additional funding for the more innovate and digital Erasmus+ programme”, which will create the citizens of Estonia even wider opportunities for learning mobility and collaborative projects,” said Jaak Aab, the Minister of Education and Research of Estonia. “I encourage everyone to participate in Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps programmes to discover Europe by studying, working or volunteering that help to gain international experience or even to create something new that help to contribute to the future of Estonia.”
The new Erasmus+ programme is more substantial, both in content and form that in addition to familiar activities, education and youth workers as well as students in general, higher, vocational or adult education can take part in sports-related activities. 83% of the budget is allocated to education and training, 10.3% to youth and 1.9% to sports activities. In total, the budget is more than 26 billion euros and the number of participants in expected to increase three times.
More attention will be paid to a more diverse group of learners, including students with fewer opportunities, and the participation of small and grassroots organisations will be easier. It will also support the innovation of curricula, the development of learning and teaching methods, the development of digital skills and competences and the green dimension. In addition to the projects, the programme will support initiatives of the initiative “European Universities”, VET centres, DiscoverEU and teacher academies. In the new period, virtual learning opportunities will also be given greater emphasis.
The budget for the new period of the European Solidarity Corps programme, launched in 2018, will be over one billion euros, of which various voluntary activities will be financed. The programme, which brings together the opportunities of the former European Voluntary Service, focuses on helping and empowering communities through volunteers.
Participation in Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps programmes is on the rise in Estonia
In the Erasmus + programme, the number of participants has increased every year. To date, each of the four general education schools, 85% of vocational schools and all higher education institutions have participated in the programme. In the field of education in the programme, there were nearly 27,000 participants from Estonia in the period 2014-2020. More than 21 000 people have come to Estonia in the same period. Projects in the field of education have focused most on developing new learning methods, using technology, developing digital skills and developing international cooperation. A total of 10 million people have studied, worked or volunteered abroad under the programme launched 30 years ago. In the youth field, over 32,000 young people from Estonia have participated in 800 different projects in the 2014-2020 period. The most popular ones have been youth exchanges with more than 12,000 participants in total.
As of October 2018, a total of 127 projects, mainly local solidarity and voluntary service projects, have been supported and the number of participants has been 446 and 508, respectively. For example, in the context of local solidarity projects, young people's knowledge of mental health has been raised, the employability, social skills and social activity of young people has been supported, and the social inclusion and active lifestyle of disabled people has been supported.
The United Kingdom is not participating in the Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps programme starting from the 1st January 2021 due to its leaving from the European Union. This means that Estonian citizens are not able to participate in projects and mobility activities taking place in the UK and the citizens of the UK are not able to participate in projects and mobility activities taking place in Estonia. All on-going projects will continue until the end of their activities.