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Asunto:[CeHuNews] 170/03 - What is Socrates/Erasmus ?
Fecha:Miercoles, 18 de Junio, 2003  12:10:07 (-0300)
Autor:Humboldt <humboldt>

CeHuNews 170/03

What is Socrates/Erasmus ?

The SOCRATES II programme supports European cooperation in eight areas, from school to higher education, from new technologies to adult learners.

The higher education section of SOCRATES II ("ERASMUS") continues and extends the European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students (the "ERASMUS programme"), established in 1987. It is named after the philosopher, theologian and humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam (1465-1536). An untiring adversary of dogmatic thought in all fields of human endeavour, Erasmus lived and worked in several parts of Europe, in quest of the knowledge, experience and insights which only such contacts with other countries could bring.


Higher education plays a crucial role in producing high quality human resources, disseminating scientific discovery and advanced knowledge through teaching, adapting to the constantly emerging needs for new competences and qualifications, and educating future generations of citizens in a European context. All such functions are of vital importance to the long-term development of Europe.

The increasing speed at which existing knowledge becomes obsolete, and the rapid changes in the means by which it is delivered and renewed, will require the higher education sector to adopt new methods and commit itself wholeheartedly to the provision of lifelong learning.

Against this background, ERASMUS contains a wide range of measures designed to support the European activities of higher education institutions and to promote the mobility and exchange of their teaching staff and students.

Participating countries

Adopted on 24 January 2000 and spanning the period until the end of 2006, SOCRATES and its Erasmus action are now open to the participation of 30 countries: the 15 Member States of the European Union; the three EEA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and twelve associated countries: Hungary, Romania, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Malta and Cyprus.

Key features

As in the past, ERASMUS is open to all types of higher education institutions (for which the term "universities" is generally used), all academic disciplines and all levels of higher education study up to and including the doctorate.

While the promotion of 'physical mobility', mainly of students, constituted the main thrust of ERASMUS Phase I and II, the higher education Chapter of SOCRATES seeks to integrate such mobility into a wider framework of cooperation activities which aim at developing a "European Dimension" within the entire range of a university's academic programmes. "Bringing students to Europe, bringing Europe to all students" is the new spirit of ERASMUS: while student mobility retains a position of central importance within the programme, stronger incentives are now available to encourage universities to add a European perspective to the courses followed by students who do not participate directly in mobility.

More emphasis is consequently placed on teaching staff exchanges, transnational curriculum development and pan-european thematic networks. Wider dissemination of and participation in the results of this work are sought through specific support. ERASMUS also encourages universities to associate other public and private bodies from their surrounding regions with their transnational cooperation activities, thereby enhancing opportunities for inter-regional cooperation between the participating countries.

From 1987/88 to 1999/2000, about 750,000 University students have spent an Erasmus period abroad and more than 1,800 Universities (or other Higher Education institutions) are presently participating in the programme.

The EU budget of SOCRATES/Erasmus for 2000-2006 amounts to around 950 Mio € (of which approximately 750 Mio € for students grants). Additional funds are provided in each Country by public authorities, by the universities themselves and by other organisations.