ELINET Statement for EU Consultation Process about the future Erasmus+ Programmes

The European Literacy Policy Network ELINET welcomes the new proposal for ‘Erasmus’ since we consider the programme a key instrument to jointly tackle and solve the educational challenges Europe is facing today as well as to help meet future educational challenges.

However, we are missing in the proposal a reference to the successful “Strategic Partnerships supporting Innovation” of Erasmus+ (in the long-lasting tradition of the multilateral projects and networks of the LLP and in earlier programmes). The proposal (p.30, ch.II, art.5) lacks an “intermedium” programme that allows for joint European development and research in education (which also does not exist in the Research Framework Programme).

On the one hand, the now planned “Partnerships for Cooperation” focus on small scale and grassroots organisations and foresee only network building and cooperation, SWD (2018) 276. On the other hand, the “Partnerships of Innovation” simply continue the already existing “Alliances” and “Forward looking projects” and should not be considered as a replacement for the “Strategic Partnerships supporting Innovation,” as both are centralized programmes with complex administration and very few funding possibilities around Europe. Because their objective is to achieve systemic change, they are only addressed to “key stakeholders”.

The new proposal would eliminate the possibility of joint European development and research projects at middle-sized institutions like the Universities of Education, teacher training faculties, and other educational actors if they want to go beyond pure networking. To exclude these institutions from EU project funding in the future is inexcusable as they are essential players in the educational system:

  • They focus on those fields which EU policy addresses more than ever: social inclusion, diversity, basic skills, key competences, language & digital learning, open education, etc.
  • They have enormous innovation potential which should not be ignored at EU level
  • Because of their twofold orientation towards research and practice they bridge the gap between research, innovation and practice, directly engaging teachers in action-based research
  • Since their main field of action is in training of current and future teachers and trainers they have large multiplier effects and are thus able to directly change classroom reality.

We therefore strongly support the proposal from the Universities of Education Badem-Württemberg (Germany) from 17.7.2018 which recommends the following amendment to the proposal COM (2018) 367 final, page 30, chapter II, article 5, key action 2, point c (proposed amendment in bold):

decentralised medium and large partnerships for research, development and innovation, to strengthen Europe's innovation capacity”.

In the definition of this funding line the following should be taken into account:

  • It should be decentralised because National Agencies are closer to the beneficiaries
  • It should maintain the unit cost system as it makes administration considerably easier
  • Personal costs should be eligible for every personnel effort in such projects (not only for “intellectual output” development)
  • It should consider bottom-up innovation approaches (by changing teaching practice) and not only focus on key stakeholders and systemic change.

In addition, ELINET proposes the establishment of a programme for implementation and sustainability of project results which come out of strategic partnership projects. Our members have experienced in numerous projects (in Socrates, Comenius LLL and Erasmus+) shared disappointment in that after the end of the funding period the “intellectual outcomes” of such projects have almost no chance of being implemented and disseminated to a bigger community, as there are no more resources available. From our point of view, this is the main weakness of former LLL / Comenius- and current Erasmus+ programmes for innovation. Many innovative concepts, programmes, and materials or tools remain stored on bookshelves or on unmaintained websites and rarely get the attention, dissemination, and application that they deserve. Ultimately, this is a huge waste of public money! For the future, the Commission should develop a programme for sustainability that establishes and facilitates a forum for policymakers, researchers and practitioners to jointly evaluate project results from strategic partnerships,  offering opportunities for implementation and sustainability to the projects with high impact and convincing results.

Signed by the ELINET Association Board Members:

Prof. Dr. Christine Garbe, University of Cologne, Germany (chair)

Viv Bird, former CEO of Booktrust, London, United Kingdom

Prof. Dr. William G. Brozo, George Mason University, Virginia, USA

Drs. Jeroen Clemens, Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands

Prof. Dr. Maria Lourdes de Dionisio, Minho University Braga, Portugal

Cand. Phil. Tiziana Mascia, University of Bozen, Italy

Dr. Fabio Nascimbeni, International University of La Rioja, Spain

Prof. Dr. Patricia Schillings, University of Liège, Belgium

Prof. Dr. Gerry Shiel, Educational Research Centre, Dublin, Ireland

Dr. Sari Sulkunen, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Prof. Dr. Eufimia Tafa, University of Crete, Greece

Prof. Dr. Renate Valtin, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany

Until the 17th of October it is possible to give feed-back to the new plans of the EU Commission. You will find the related official documents and the space for your statement under this link:

ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/initiatives/com-2018-367_en

Download the Statement