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Higher education: a bridge between the two shores of the Mediterranean
More students from Southern Mediterranean countries will benefit from
the EU's new programme for education training and youth:
this was the message from European Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou at a
university 'summit' in Nicosia today.
The Commissioner said the new programme, due for launch in January
2014, would build on the success of the existing Tempus and Erasmus Mundus
Since 2007, more than €140 million has been allocated for projects
involving Southern Mediterranean universities to develop new curricula, retrain
teachers, support new teaching methods and invest in equipment.
In addition, €150 million has been provided in grants for more than 4
500 students from the region to spend part of their studies in the EU.
More than 750 academic staff have also taken part in exchanges
organised with European universities.
More than 200 universities in North Africa, the Middle East and the EU
are involved in the exchanges.
Universities in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Egypt and Jordan are the
most active in the scheme.
Nearly 800 students and staff from the Southern Mediterranean have also
benefitted from funding for joint master and doctoral programmes since 2004.
“Erasmus Mundus has been a great success since its launch in 2004 and I
am happy to say that we will be able to support even more exchanges under our
Investing in youth is the best investment of all, in Europe and the
We want to support young people who are the key to social and political
change, as well as the future prosperity of the region," the Commissioner said.
The 'information day' event at Nicosia University was an opportunity
for the Commission to discuss its future plans with representatives of the
academic community from the Southern Mediterranean region.
"We wish to demonstrate our commitment to lasting cooperation with our
neighbours in the higher education field," added Commissioner Vassiliou.
The event brought together more than 150 government officials, higher
education staff and stakeholders from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt,
Palestine, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon and EU Member States.
The Erasmus Mundus programme aims to enhance quality in higher
education through scholarships and academic cooperation between Europe and the
rest of the world.
The programme offers financial support for institutions and
scholarships for individuals.
Funding is available for:
- European joint Masters and Doctonguyeztrates (including scholarships)
- Partnerships with non-European higher education institutions and
scholarships for students and academics
- Projects that promote European higher education worldwide.
The Tempus programme promotes institutional cooperation for reform and
modernisation of higher education systems in the Neighbouring Countries,
including those in the Southern Mediterranean.
Projects typically have a budget of up to €1.5 million and focus on
areas such as the development of new curricula, modernisation of teaching and
learning, improved partnerships with businesses and better governance in higher
Since 2003 around €220 million has been allocated through Tempus to
support the modernisation of higher education in Southern Mediterranean
Since 2007, 110 projects, involving nearly 200 higher education
institutions, have received funding through Tempus.
Funding for both Erasmus Mundus and Tempus was greatly increased in the
aftermath of the Arab Spring.
In 2011, an additional €20 million for Tempus supported the creation of
four new university partnerships and nearly 560 extra scholarships on top of the
525 initially planned for Southern Mediterranean candidates.
In 2012, the Erasmus Mundus budget was doubled which meant that more
than €35 million was available to fund 10 partnerships.
Nearly 1 500 non-EU students and 400 EU nationals will receive grants
to study or learn abroad thanks to this funding.
The new EU programme for education, training, youth and sport, will
continue to promote cooperation between the EU and Southern Mediterranean
As well as continued support for joint degrees students from Southern
Mediterranean countries will also benefit from scholarships to participate in
excellent joint Master programmes.
Doctoral fellowships will be financed by the future Marie Sklodowska
Curie Actions programme.
Erasmus will also be extended to non-EU universities for the first