- Mobility grants are insufficient for those with fewer opportunities
- Boost funding for inclusion measures in Erasmus+ and Solidarity Corps in 2023
- More assistance needed for Ukrainian students and Ukrainian education institutions
Financial, technological and administrative barriers remain the biggest obstacles for participation in Erasmus+ programme, says EP’s Culture and Education committee.
In absence of a mandatory EU-wide inclusion strategy for the Erasmus+ programme, the impact of the designed inclusion measures has been limited, say MEPs in a resolution adopted on Tuesday by 26 votes in favour, 2 against and 2 abstentions.
Amounts of mobility grants in some cases are insufficient and may lead to social exclusion for those students and families who cannot afford mobility, MEPs say. They suggest addressing that by more flexibility to help covering e.g. living costs, as well as tailored pre-financing, such as upfront payments, to increase the participation of people with fewer opportunities or from disadvantaged backgrounds.
They call for an increase of the 2023 budget to be dedicated to implementation of inclusion measures in Erasmus + and the European Solidarity Corps.
MEPs also point to persistent issues related to Erasmus+ IT tools, which hamper participation of smaller organisations, people with fewer opportunities and older participants, and urge the Commission to make sure that they are working properly.
They also say that administrative barriers prevent potential learners from taking part in the programme, in particular affecting those with fewer opportunities and with special needs, and urges the Commission to simplify the procedures to access funding.
Praising the role of teachers, youth and social workers and educational staff in making it possible to take part for participants with fewer opportunities, they call on the Commission and EU countries to level up the support for supporters - by facilitating their own mobility and providing them with adequate funding.
Finally, MEPs also call to give more flexibility to the Erasmus+ programme in case of crises, such as the current war in Ukraine, and ask for increased assistance to Ukrainian students and additional support to sustain Ukrainian higher education institutions and the academic community.
The rapporteur Laurence FARRENG (Renew, FR) said:
"While the European Parliament successfully negotiated the addition of an entire chapter dedicated to inclusion of people with fewer opportunities in the 2021-2017 Erasmus+ programme, it is important to analyse what has actually been done up to this point. Our conclusion is that there are still certain obstacles to overcome in order to make full inclusion a reality; we recommend re-evaluating the grants, making IT tools more accessible, giving teachers, accompanying persons and staff of project associations more support, as well as ensuring targeted data collection to be able to fully evaluate the situation."
In the resolution MEPs also recommend:
- that all national agencies appoint dedicated inclusion and diversity officers who reach out directly to learners with special needs and/or fewer opportunities;
- that the Commission improves guidelines for national policies to enable better participation of learners with health problems, cultural differences, economic, geographical and social obstacles;
- targeted and group specific support for language learning in preparation of mobility;
- hybrid mobility for persons with disabilities, as well as giving them opportunity to be accompanied and providing suitable accommodation and specialised support services;
- linking Erasmus+ and other programmes such as Interrail, in order to foster greater inclusion and better and greener mobility options, as well making the DiscoverEU more inclusive;
- creating links between Erasmus+ and the EU anti-racism action plan, as well as with the EU LGBTIQ equality strategy;
- more inclusivity of Erasmus+ projects in third countries, in particular in the Western Balkans, Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood;
- gathering reliable data and doing more studies on the participation of people with fewer opportunities in Erasmus+ to shed further light as to which groups inclusion measures should target and assess problematic issues.
Agnese KRIVADEPress OfficerPress officer