The objective of the action programme in the field of lifelong learning 2007-13 is to develop and foster interchange, cooperation and mobility, so that education and training systems become a world quality reference in accordance with the Lisbon strategy. It thus contributes to the development of the Community as an advanced knowledge-based society, with sustainable economic development, more and better jobs and greater social cohesion.
To realise this general objective, the programme pursues specific objectives concerning lifelong learning in the European Union (EU), which aim to:
contribute to the development of quality lifelong learning and to promote high performance, innovation and the European dimension in systems and practices
support the realisation of a European area of lifelong learning
help improve the quality, attractiveness and accessibility of the opportunities for lifelong learning
reinforce their contribution to social cohesion, active citizenship, intercultural dialogue, gender equality and personal fulfilment
help promote creativity, competitiveness, employability and the growth of an entrepreneurial spirit
contribute to increased participation in lifelong learning by people of all ages, including those with special needs and disadvantaged groups
promote language learning and linguistic diversity
support the development of ICT-based resources
reinforce their role in creating a sense of European citizenship based on respect for European values, as well as tolerance and respect for other peoples and cultures
promote co-operation in quality assurance in all sectors of education and training
improve their quality by encouraging the best use of results, innovative products and processes, as well as the exchange of good practice
In this respect, consistency and complementarity with EU policies condition the implementation of the action programme. It should thus help achieve the EU’s horizontal policies by making provisions for learners with special needs and helping to promote their integration into mainstream education and training. It should also promote equality between men and women, as well as awareness of cultural and linguistic diversity and multiculturalism as a means of combating racism, prejudice and xenophobia.
Implementation of the programme should ensure consistency and complementarity with the Education and Training 2010 work programme, the integrated guidelines for jobs and growth under the partnership for growth and employment and other policies, such as those in the field of culture, youth or enterprise. The European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop), the European Training Foundation (ETF) and the Advisory Committee on Vocational Training may also be involved and/or informed according to their respective areas of competence.
In order to achieve these objectives, the programme supports the following actions:
mobility of people in lifelong learning;
bilateral and multilateral partnerships;
unilateral, national or multinational projects, including those that are designed to promote quality in education and training systems through the transnational transfer of innovation;
studies and reviews of policies and systems in the field of lifelong learning and their components;
operating grants to support certain operational and administrative costs borne by institutions or associations;
accompanying measures, i.e. other initiatives to promote the objectives of the programme;
preparatory activities for these actions;
the organisation of events (seminars, colloquia, meetings) to facilitate the implementation of the programme, the information, publication, awareness-raising and
dissemination actions, as well as programme monitoring and evaluation.
Participation in the programme is open not just to the Member States, but also to the EFTA (European Free Trade Association) countries that are members of the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), to the Swiss Confederation and to the EU candidate and potential candidate countries of the western Balkans in accordance with the rules and agreements governing their participation in Community programmes.
In addition, the Commission may also organise cooperation with third countries and international organisations, such as the Council of Europe or the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).
The beneficiaries of the programme are:
pupils, students, trainees and adult learners;
all categories of education personnel;
people in the labour market;
institutions and organisations providing learning opportunities within the programme;
persons and bodies responsible for systems and policies at local, regional and national level;
enterprises, social partners and their organisations at all levels, including trade organisations and chambers of commerce and industry;
bodies providing guidance, counselling and information services;
participants’, parents’ and teachers’ associations;
research centres and bodies
non-profit organisations, voluntary bodies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
The management of the programme is shared between the Commission and the national agencies. In this respect, the national agencies may be responsible for selecting certain types of projects, the mobility of individuals, bilateral and multilateral partnerships or unilateral and national projects.
For the implementation of the programme, the Commission is assisted by a management committee made up of representatives from the EU Member States. The implementation measures must be adopted in comitology, in accordance with the management procedure. Only decisions concerning the awarding of certain specific grants are taken without the assistance of the committee. In the context of social dialogue at Community level and involving the social partners more closely in the implementation of the action programme, the latter may participate in the work of the committee as observers on matters relating to vocational education and training.
The indicative financial envelope for the programme is set at EUR 6.97 billion for its duration. The minimum amounts to be allocated to the sectoral programmes (see below) are 13 % to Comenius, 40 % to Erasmus, 25 % to Leonardo da Vinci and 4 % to Grundtvig.
The Commission shall regularly monitor and assess the integrated programme in cooperation with the Member States. The latter shall submit reports to the Commission: one on the implementation of the programme by 30 June 2010 at the latest, and another on its effects by 30 June 2015.
The Commission, for its part, will present an interim evaluation report on the results achieved and on the qualitative and quantitative aspects of implementation by 31 March 2011 at the latest, a communication on the continuation of the programme by 31 December 2011 and an ex-post evaluation report by 31 March 2016.
The Erasmus+ programme addresses vocational education and training other than that at tertiary level. Its specific objectives are to:
support participants in training to acquire and use knowledge, skills and qualifications to facilitate personal development, employability and participation in the European labour market;
improve quality and innovation;
enhance the attractiveness of vocational education and training and mobility.
To this end, the programme pursues operational objectives that seek to develop and strengthen:
mobility (including quality) in this field and that of continuous training, including placements in enterprises, so that they number 80 000 per year by the end of the programme;
the volume of cooperation (including quality) between the different actors;
innovative practices and their transfer between countries;
the transparency and recognition of qualifications and competences, including those acquired through non-formal and informal learning;
innovative ICT-based content, services, pedagogies and practices.
The following actions may be supported by the Leonardo da Vinci programme:
mobility, including the preparation thereof;
partnerships focusing on themes of mutual interest;
multilateral projects, in particular those aimed at improving training systems through the transfer and development of innovation and good practice in order to adapt to national needs;
thematic networks of experts and organisations working on specific issues related to vocational education and training;
The mobility and partnership actions account for at least 60 % of the budget for this programme.