What is Socrates/Erasmus ?
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
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
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.
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.
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
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 â‚¬
(of which approximately 750 Mio â‚¬ for students grants). Additional funds are
provided in each Country by public authorities, by the universities themselves
and by other organisations.