Today, Liina Kersna, the Minister of Education and Research of Estonia met Mariya Gabriel, the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth discussed the future of the Erasmus+ programme and the European Research Area.
“While the new Erasmus+ programme offers very good opportunities for students and educational institutions, the concern for us is the unfair compensation of labour costs of cooperation projects. The compensation is based on data from more than ten years ago which no longer reflects the reality thus are demotivating and require additional contribution by education institutions,” said Minister Liina Kersna to the European Commissioner. “Such approach does not meet the goals of the program and Estonia expects clear steps from the European Commission for improvement.”
According to the Minister Kersna, the European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel confirmed that Estonia’s concerns are understood and promised to consult with other Commissioners. At the same time, the Commission is adapting a new, more flexible approach where applicants themselves can distribute the project budget as necessary. This year, this new approach is applied to small-scale youth and sports projects.
Additionally, digital and distance learning and teaching profession was discussed. Gabriel drew attention to the new teachers’ academy initiative and called higher education institutions to take part in. Research funding issued and the European Research Area were also discussed, including synergies between different funding instruments and broad participation of researchers in framework programmes and in the European Research Area.
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.