On 14 July 2004, the Commission adopted a proposal for the current generation of an EU Programme in the field of lifelong learning. The proposed new Community programme in lifelong learning Lifelong Learning Programme is designed to supersede and build on the second phase of the Socrates and Leonardo da Vinci programmes, which supported European cooperation in the fields of education and vocational training respectively. It will also be an umbrella for other programmes and actions in the field of education and training, such as the eLearning programme on the integration of ICT into education and training systems, the Europass initiative, which provides a single framework for the transparency of qualifications and competences, the Jean Monnet Project and the Community action programmes to promote bodies active at European level and to support specific activities in the field of education and training.
The integrated approach was designed on the one hand to preserve essential continuity with past experience – hence an architecture based on the main types of education and training provision found in all Member States and retention of the established programme names (Comenius, Erasmus, Leonardo, Grundtvig) – and on the other, to increase the coherence and synergy between all its constituent parts, so as to permit a greater and more flexible range of actions to be supported more efficiently. The integrated Programme therefore comprises common actions and procedures across all its parts, and will be overseen by a single programme committee to ensure overall coherence.
This restructuring responds in particular to three factors of EU reality:
- The new challenges of the knowledge society and the demands of demographic changes, whereby education and training systems are becoming increasingly integrated in a lifelong learning context,
- The increasingly important role of education and training in creating a competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in Europe, notably in the follow-up to the 2000 Lisbon European Council and in the Bologna (higher education) and Copenhagen (vocational training) processes,
- The need to contribute to the simplification and rationalisation of Community legislative instruments.
The LLP comprises four specific programmes:
1 Comenius - for general education activities concerning schools up to and including upper secondary level; it supports school partnerships for the issue which range from a simple exchange of materials and information between schools, to co-operation over curriculum topics, to exchanges of teachers and pupils.
2 Erasmus - for education and advanced training activities at higher education level; Erasmus began in 1987 and it has become one of the best-known EU education initiatives. It allows higher education students to spend up to a year studying in another participating country (32 at present, EU member states, Norwey, Lihtenstein, Switzerland, Island and Turkey) as part of their course at home. During the academic year 2002/3 e.g. more than 123,000 students took part in Erasmus-Socrates mobilities. In October 2002 the total number of Erasmus students reached one million. Erasmus is a main source of support for students wanting to study elsewhere in Europe. Academic staff can also take part in exchanges for teaching purposes or study visits.
3 Leonardo da Vinci – addresses all other aspects of vocational education and training; it supports national vocational training strategies by funding a range of transnational partnership projects to improve quality, foster innovation and promote the European dimension in vocational training.
4 Grundtvig - is concerned with adult education and lifelong learning. It represents the third education link after school and higher education. Grundtvig supports cooperative activities aimed at promoting innovation and improving the availability, accessibility and quality of educational provision.
In addition, the LLP incorporates a Transversal programme incorporating four key cross-cutting activities, to cover themes of policy development, to make specific provision for language learning and ICT-related activity where these fall outside the specific programmes, and for a more substantial dissemination of results.
Jean Monnet programme is now also part of LLP. Jean Monnet projects offer start-up subsidies for the establishment of Jean Monnet Chairs, courses and modules in European law, European economy, political studies of European construction and the history of European integration.
The proposed budget is around 7000 millions EUR for the total period 2007-2013, out of which 25% is co-financed by the participating countries.
As regards the four sectoral sub-programmes, quantified targets have been set in order to ensure a significant, identifiable and measurable impact for the programme. These targets are as follows:
- For Erasmus: To contribute to the achievement by 2011 of three million individual participants in student mobility under the present programme and its predecessors;
- For Leonardo da Vinci: To increase placements in enterprises to 150,000 per year by the end of the programme;
- For Grundtvig: To support the mobility of 25,000 individuals involved in adult education per year, by 2013.
More information on LLP can be found on the web-page of Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency.