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Commission celebrates 30th anniversary of #JeanMonnetActivities promoting European studies worldwide

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On 18 June, Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Commissioner Tibor Navracsics (pictured) hosted a high-level event to celebrate 30 years of excellence in teaching and research about the EU. The Jean Monnet Activities are part of the Erasmus+ programme. They are dedicated to promoting excellence in European studies at higher education level around the world, as well as connecting academics, researchers and policy-makers. Between 1989 and 2019, the Jean Monnet Activities have supported more than 1,000 universities in around 100 countries, enabling them to offer courses on European studies as part of their curricula. 300,000 students now benefit each year.

Commissioner Navracsics said: “We are celebrating 30 years of Jean Monnet Activities at a time when they are needed more than ever. They generate knowledge that strengthens the European Union and enhances understanding of European integration, particularly among young people. The next step is to extend these activities to schools. Learning about the European Union from an early age will help empower young people to become informed European citizens, engaged in the democratic processes that shape its future. The Jean Monnet Activities help to make the European project more tangible and resilient.”

Every year, the Jean Monnet Activities finance more than 250 new measures, which involve around 9,000 university teachers and many other people and institutions. More than 5,000 actions have been supported so far.

Since its launch in 1989, the initiative has enabled thousands of research publications in the field of European studies that cover a number of disciplines and policy fields including European law, the history of European integration, innovation, employment, defence, migration, healthcare, energy, transport and climate action. Much of this state-of-the-art knowledge has appeared in top-level journals and in policy-informing fora influencing the debate and supporting better policy-making at national and European level, thus making a difference to people's lives and opportunities.

Jean Monnet Activities have become truly global: in 2018, 60% of the 1,300 grant applications came from countries outside the European Union.

The European Commission's proposal for the future Erasmus Programme (2021-2027) envisages extending Jean Monnet Activities to other sectors of education, notably to schools, to enhance young people's awareness of the European Union.

Background

Named after Jean Monnet (1888-1979), one of the founding fathers of the European Union, the Jean Monnet Activities are part of Erasmus+, the European programme supporting education, training, youth and sport. They are open to scholars from any officially recognised higher education institution in the world, which helps expand teaching and research related to the European Union to countries where knowledge of it is very limited.

The recipients of Jean Monnet grants enjoy full academic freedom and are expected to produce independent and scientifically rigorous work.

Jean Monnet Activities also support several designated institutions in Europe to pursue excellence in European studies and research.

Today's event in Brussels is part of the European Commission's campaign to celebrate three decades of achievements by the Jean Monnet Activities. This campaign will last until the end of 2019, with hundreds of events and activities around the world where past and current beneficiaries of the Jean Monnet Activities are using the occasion of the 30th anniversary to hold debates, conferences, workshops, and other activities for students, policy-makers and citizens.

More information

Factsheet

Erasmus+/Jean Monnet website

Sibiu factsheet - Investing in youth 

Education

President von der Leyen receives Empress Theophano Prize for the Erasmus programme

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On 7 October, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (pictured) accepted the Empress Theophano Prize, awarded to the Erasmus programme, during a ceremony held at the Rotunda Monument in Thessaloniki, Greece, which she attended via videoconference. The Prize rewards individuals or organisations who make an outstanding contribution to deepening European cooperation and improving the understanding of the diverse historic interdependencies in Europe.

Upon receiving the Prize, the president said she was honoured to receive the Prize “for the ten million Europeans who have taken part in the Erasmus programme since its inception” and dedicated it “to the students, the teachers, the dreamers who have made this European miracle come true”.

In her acceptance speech, President von der Leyen also drew parallels between the European recovery plan and Erasmus+: “Just as Erasmus was then, NextGenerationEU is now. It is a program of unprecedented scale and scope. And it can become the next great unifying project for our Union. We are investing together not only in a collective recovery, but also in our common future. Solidarity, trust and unity have to be built and rebuilt time and time again. I do not know whether NextGenerationEU can change Europe as profoundly as the Erasmus programme did. But I know that once again Europe has chosen to master and shape its future - together.”

Read the President's full speech online in English or French, and watch it back here. More than 4 million people will have had the opportunity to study, train, and gain experience abroad between 2014 and 2020 thanks to the Erasmus+ programme. Learn more about Erasmus here

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#Coronavirus - British universities should not reopen in September, says union

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British universities should scrap plans to reopen in September to prevent travelling students from fuelling the country’s coronavirus pandemic, a union said, calling for courses to be taught online. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has come under fire over its moves to restart education, especially after a row over exam results for school students and a failed attempt to bring all pupils back to their classes earlier this year, writes Elizabeth Piper.

Johnson has been calling on Britons to return to something more akin to normality after the coronavirus lockdown, calling on workers to return to offices to help the economy recover from a 20% contraction in the April-June period.

But the University and College Union (UCU) said it was too early to send students back to universities, warning they could be blamed if cases of COVID-19 increased. “Moving a million plus students around the country is a recipe for disaster and risks leaving ill-prepared universities as the care homes of a second wave,” UCU general secretary Jo Grady said in a statement. “It is time for the government to finally take some decisive and responsible action in this crisis and tell universities to abandon plans for face-to-face teaching,” she said, urging the government to move all teaching online for the first term.

Stephen Barclay, chief secretary to the Treasury (finance ministry), said he did not agree with the argument. “I think universities like the rest of the economy need to come back and students need to be able to do so,” he told Times Radio. Several universities say they are ready to reopen next month after weeks of preparation and some students say they have already spent money on such things as housing in preparation for the new term.

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#Coronavirus - #Erasmus+ mobilized for a strong response to the pandemic

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The Commission has adopted a revision of the Erasmus+ 2020 Annual Work Programme, providing an additional €200 million to boost digital education and training and promote skills development and inclusion through creativity and the arts. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disruptive impact on education and training, with new ways of teaching and learning requiring innovative, creative and inclusive solutions.

Promoting the European Way of Life Vice President Margaritis Schinas said: “The European Education Area needs to foster digital education and skills to mitigate disruptions caused by the pandemic and to support Europe's role in the digital transition. The Commission will publish extraordinary Erasmus+ calls of €200 million that will offer more opportunities to learn, teach and share in the digital era. Effective, innovative and inclusive solutions to improve digital education and skills do exist and will benefit from European support.”

Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Commissioner Mariya Gabriel said: “I am delighted that the Erasmus+ programme is being mobilised to support key actors in education, training and youth in these challenging times. €200 million will be available to support digital education and training, digital youth work, but also creative skills and social inclusion. It is an important step, paving the way for the Digital Education Action Plan, which the Commission will launch this autumn.”

The Erasmus+ programme will support projects to enhance digital teaching, learning and assessment in schools, higher education and vocational training. It will also provide opportunities for schools, youth organisations and adult learning institutions to support skills development, to boost creativity and to enhance social inclusion through the arts, together with the cultural and creative sectors. Calls for proposals for projects in these areas will be published in the coming weeks. Interested organisations should get in touch with their Erasmus+ National Agency

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