Commission outlines plans for a single education and training programme

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 1 June 2004



(2004), "Commission outlines plans for a single education and training programme", Education + Training, Vol. 46 No. 5.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Commission outlines plans for a single education and training programme

Commission outlines plans for a single education and training programme

Plans for a single, integrated EU programme for education and lifelong learning, bringing together the EU member states, the member countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the EU candidate countries, have been outlined by the European Commission.

The Commission has adopted two communications, The New Generation of Education and Training Programmes and Citizenship in Action, setting out the guidelines for programmes intended to replace the current Socrates, Leonardo, Tempus, Youth, Culture 2000 and Media Plus programmes, from 2007.

In response to public consultation, which showed that current programmes were too complicated, the integrated programme for education and vocational training will be more flexible and easier to use than the current programmes. It will be heavily decentralized, with 80 per cent of funds administered by national agencies in the participating countries.

A number of targets illustrate the scale of the challenge:

  • at least 10 per cent of school pupils in the EU and their teachers (as opposed to 3 per cent today) should take part in the Comenius education programme between 2007 and 2013;

  • the target of 3 million students benefiting from Erasmus, the higher-education co-operation programme, is to be reached by 2010 - tripling the current number of 120,000 students taking part in the programme each year;

  • at least 150,000 people a year are to have access to the Leonardo vocational training programme by 2013, compared with 45,000 today; and

  • at least 50,000 adults each year are to benefit from education or training abroad by 2013.

A new Tempus programme, called Tempus Plus, will cover school, university and adult education, as well as vocational training. It will relate to co-operation between the EU member states, neighbouring states and countries already taking part in the Tempus programme. The aim will be for 100,000 people to benefit from a Tempus Plus mobility measure by 2013.

Recent years have seen a growing awareness among EU member states of the importance of placing education and training at the heart of the Lisbon strategy, which aims to make Europe the most competitive knowledge-based economy by 2010. In the same spirit, the Bologna (higher education) and Copenhagen (vocational training) strategies, intended to strengthen the coherence and quality of European policies in their respective fields, recognize the role played by EU policies.

The communication on Citizenship in Action outlines four priorities:

  • Youth. The new programme will provide a way for people aged 13 to 30 to benefit directly from EU membership. Programme management will be decentralized. The programme will incorporate measures such as European voluntary service, for which 1, 000 volunteers a year are planned, and Youth for the World, which will cover co-operation in neighbouring countries.

  • Culture. The new programme will need to take into account the diversity of cultural co-operation in Europe. The programme will emphasize the importance of encouraging international mobility for people working in the cultural sector, the international circulation of works of art and culture and the development of an inter-cultural dialogue. A number of targets have been proposed, such as annual support for approximately 50 trans-European cultural networks and the funding, from 2007, of some 1,400 cultural co-operation projects in the enlarged EU.

  • Media. The programme that will replace Media Plus will continue to concentrate on promoting the audiovisual aspects of European cultural diversity, increasing the circulation of European audiovisual works in the EU (for example, by increasing from 11 to 20 per cent the market share for European films distributed outside their country of production) and improving the competitiveness of the audiovisual sector in order to facilitate access by citizens to European cultures.

  • Civic participation. The programme will target people in non-governmental organisations, in particular by supporting twinning.

Viviane Reding, European commissioner responsible for education and culture, said: “Questions linked to education and citizenship will be among the major challenges of the next decade. In an EU that will have almost 500 million inhabitants in 2007, giving them the means to exploit the full potential of their belonging, in cultural and citizenship terms, to such an extraordinarily diverse whole will require the mobilization of all the tools and programmes at our disposal. The programmes covered by the communications adopted today will therefore form part of a new overall approach, building bridges between cultures and individuals.”

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