Position paper: UNICA IRO group presents strategic recommendations for the Future of Erasmus+

23 February 2024 | From UNICA

Position paper: UNICA IRO group presents strategic recommendations for the Future of Erasmus+

The UNICA International Relations Working Group has published the position paper “The Future of Erasmus+: Addressing Concerns and Proposing Solutions”. This paper is one of the results of the discussions on the future trajectory of the Erasmus+ program held during the UNICA IRO Meeting at the University of Sofia in November 2023.

The paper outlines key recommendations on thematic priorities within Erasmus+, focusing on accreditation, eligibility, funding, and digitalization. Through collaboration and innovation, the IROs seek to navigate challenges and propel European Higher Education forward into a transparent, uniform, and efficient future.

The needs

Ahead of the meeting in Sofia, and in preparation for a meeting of the European Commission’s KA131 Higher Education Working Group, IROs from UNICA member universities were invited to complete a survey their views and expectations on the future of the programme.

Several key areas for improvement within the Erasmus+ programme were identified, including the need for better coordination with European Alliances, simplification of processes to alleviate work overload, addressing the ‘neighboring burden’ of internal work impacting personnel not directly involved in international offices, and advocating for more flexibility in accreditation processes, budget allocation, and deadlines. The IROs also highlighted the necessity for less overregulation, stabilization of EU tools, and clearer communication about support tools from the European Commission.

The recommendations

In response to key presentations and their practical experiences with Erasmus+, the UNICA International Relations Officers (IROs) distill strategic recommendations addressing concerns in four thematic priorities:

1. Accreditation System:
a. Establish a centralized accreditation body with clear criteria;
b. Develop comprehensive guidelines for the accreditation of institutions;
c. Regularly update and communicate accreditation standards.

2. Eligibility Rules:
a. Create a unified eligibility framework applicable to all Erasmus+ initiatives;
b. Ensure transparency in communicating eligibility criteria;
c. Periodically review and update eligibility rules to adapt to evolving needs.

3. Funding System – Mobility:
a. Develop a standardized funding allocation formula;
b. Prioritize projects with clear objectives and expected outcomes;
c. Establish a review mechanism for ongoing assessment and adjustment.

4. Digitalization/Future of the European Student Card Initiative:
a. Invest in robust digital infrastructure for seamless program administration;
b. Collaborate with stakeholders to enhance the European Student Card Initiative;
c. Provide training and resources to ensure the successful integration of digital tools.

In summary, the launch of this policy paper marks a significant milestone in UNICA’s commitment to shaping the future of Erasmus+. With strategic recommendations in hand, the UNICA IROs stand ready to embark on a journey towards a more inclusive, efficient, and impactful Erasmus+ program.

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