Erasmus Plus is the EU program in the fields of education, training, youth, and sports for the period 2014-2021. These fields can make major contributions to help tackle the key socio-economic changes that Europe will face until the end of the decade, and to support the implementation of the European policy agenda for growth, jobs, equity, and social inclusion. This Erasmus Plus Programme was designed to support its member countries’ efforts to efficiently use the potential of Europe’s talent and social assets in a lifelong learning perspective, linking support to formal, non-formal, and informal learning throughout the education, training, youth, and sports fields; it also enhances the opportunities for cooperation and mobility with partner countries, notably in the fields of higher education and youth.
Tackling the serious issue of Early School Leaving –particularly among minorities– has become one of the most urgent tasks for European governments. Too many young people abandon their studies early, running a high risk of being unemployed and socially marginalized, and Europe needs more cohesive and inclusive societies that allow their citizens to play an active role in democratic life: education and youth work are key to promote our common European values, foster social integration, enhance intercultural understanding, the sense of belonging to a community, and to prevent violent radicalization. Erasmus Plus is an effective tool to foster projects to change for the better the methods used in school learning, in order to put a full stop to the factors that make youth leave their studies early, while promoting the inclusion of people with disadvantaged backgrounds.
Another challenge lies in the development of social capital among young people, their empowerment, and their ability to participate actively in society, in line with the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty to “encourage the participation of young people in the democratic life of Europe“. This issue can also be targeted through non-formal learning activities aimed at enhancing the skills and competences of young people and their active citizenship. Moreover, there is a need to provide youth organizations and youth workers with training and cooperation opportunities, to develop their professionalism and the European dimension of youth work.
In accordance with one of the new elements introduced in the Lisbon Treaty, Erasmus Plus also supports activities aiming at developing the European dimension in sports by promoting cooperation between bodies responsible for sports. The Programme promotes the creation and development of European networks that provide opportunities for cooperation among stakeholders and the exchange and transfer of knowledge and know-how in different areas related to sports and physical activity. This reinforced cooperation will notably have positive effects in developing the potential of Europe’s human capital by helping reduce the social and economic costs of physical inactivity.
The Programme supports actions, cooperation, and tools consistent with the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy and its flagship initiatives, such as Youth on the Move and the Agenda for new skills and jobs. It also contributes to achieve the objectives of the Education and Training Strategic Framework for European cooperation in Education and Training, and of the European Youth Strategy through the Open Methods of Coordination.
This investment in knowledge, skills, and competences will benefit individuals, institutions, organizations, and society as a whole by contributing to growth and ensuring equity, prosperity, and social inclusion in Europe and beyond.
The Spanish National Agency – SEPIE
The Spanish Service for the Internationalization of Education (SEPIE), under the Ministry of Science, Innovation, and Universities, acts as the National Agency for the management, dissemination, and promotion of the Erasmus Plus Programme in the field of Education and Training (2014-2020) and other European initiatives and educational programs. Likewise, it coordinates and participates in national and international projects, and contributes to greater international projection of the Spanish University System and its offer, as well as inter-university mobilities of students, teachers, and researchers.
SEPIE handles the calls of programs, providing technical assistance and advice to potential beneficiaries of the actions and making appropriate follow-up actions planned to achieve their results.
Regarding dissemination and monitoring, SEPIE has the support of a wide network of institutions: Ministries of Education of Spain’s regional governments, universities, public regional employment services, chambers of commerce, business and labor organizations, and other institutions that manage training activities.