Proposed decision establishing a programme for the enhancement of quality in higher education and the promotion of intercultural understanding through co-operation with third countries (Erasmus World)

July 22, 2002

Brussels, 19 July 2002

Proposal for a
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND COUNCIL DECISION Establishing a programme for the enhancement of quality in higher education and the promotion of intercultural understanding through co-operation with third countries (Erasmus World) (2004-2008) Full Text



3.1. General objectives

The programme's overall aim is to contribute to quality education in the European Union, in particular by fostering co-operation with third countries. The long-term impact sought by the present proposal is, firstly, to better prepare citizens in Europe, but also in partner third countries, to live and work in a global, knowledge-based society. The proposal seeks, secondly, to ensure Europe's position as a pole of excellence in higher education and, therefore, to ensure that higher education in Europe becomes an increasingly more attractive destination world-wide. Thirdly, through people-to-people exchanges and structural co- operation concentrating on young people with a potential for future leadership roles within the economy and society, the proposal seeks to improve mutual understanding between peoples and cultures, thus contributing to world peace and stability, and to Europe's legitimate aspirations as a major player on the international scene. In pursuing these objectives the Community will also seek to improve links between higher education institutions and industry.

3.2. Specific objectives

In order to achieve these general objectives, the direct and short-term effects sought by the programme can be grouped as follows:

­ The emergence of a distinctly European offer in higher education which would be attractive both within the European Union and beyond its borders;

­ A higher profile for, visibility of and improved accessibility to European education;

­ A greater world-wide interest in and more concrete possibilities for acquiring European qualifications and/or experience among highly-qualified graduates and scholars from all over the world;

­ More structured co-operation between European Community and third country institutions and greater outgoing European Union mobility as part of European study programmes.

3.3. Operational objectives

The Community, through calls for proposals launched in the framework of the programme, will provide financial support with a view to generating:

­ European Union Masters Courses (selected for a five-year period, subject to a light- weight annual renewal procedure based on progress reporting), involving at least three higher education institutions from three different Member States and leading to double/multiple degrees.

Concentrating on the post-graduate level is a deliberate operational choice that can be justified for the following main reasons:

a) factors such as, inter alia, the structure of degrees, complexity of curricula and the use of language; undergraduate studies would allow much less flexibility than post-graduate level courses for developing European "flagship" products, i.e., European joint programmes leading to double degrees;

b) the Community could not support significant numbers of third country students for a three to six year period of undergraduate study, whereas the duration of study at Masters level does allow the development of a strong international projection including Community-sponsored student mobility;

c) the value-added of Community intervention could be maximal at post-graduate level (Masters) since it would contribute to the development of the degree structure favoured by the Bologna/Prague process, a key element of which is the establishment of a first degree, Masters degree, and doctorate cycle;

d) international mobility is proportionately higher at postgraduate (Masters) level that at undergraduate level;

e) in practical terms, working with students at post-graduate level provides an insurance against failure as the student has proved during undergraduate study his or her abilities.

­ Scholarships for third country graduate students selected to enrol for a full study period (on average fifteen months) in European Union Masters Courses.

­ Scholarships for third country visiting scholars for teaching and scholarly assignments (average three months) connected with European Union Masters Courses;

­ Partnerships (up to three years) between European Union Masters Courses and third country higher education universities, including European Union student and staff outgoing mobility.

­ Studies, conferences, seminars, publications, joint development of marketing actions, joint development of web-based and other tools to support international education and student mobility.


Brussels, 17.7.2002 COM(2002) 401 final 2002/0165 (COD)

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