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Last week, our country became a member of the largest educational programme of the European Union. Namely, Mladen Šarčević, Minister for Education, Science and Technological Development of Serbia, signed an agreement on upgrading Serbia’s participating in the EU programme for education, training, youth and sport - Erasmus+, which will allow students and academic staff of Serbia to participate in the programme. The signing ceremony took place in Brussels. The programme provides support to cooperation projects in the following three fields: education, youth and sports. The total funding allocation for the whole period stands at EUR14.7 billion and the programme is set to run through 2020.
Minister Šarčević said that the news was "of great importance for Serbian students, professors and secondary school pupils", and pointed out that Serbia had been active in the programme before, but that it was of special importance at that moment because a fundamental reform of education, from pre-school to university, was taking place in Serbia.
The European Commissioner Navracsics said that "fully-fledged participation in Erasmus+ is a visible symbol of Serbia's efforts and commitment to European affairs, and there is a series of new opportunities now, although Serbia has cooperated with the EU in the field of education, science, youth and sports before. I hope that Serbia will find its proper place in the EU, both within Erasmus and education and sports”, European Commissioner Navracsics concluded.
Serbia takes part in the largest number of Erasmus+ projects, receives the biggest funding from the programme and has had the biggest number of participants in the programme of all the countries in the Western Balkans since the programme’s inception in 2014. So far, educational institutions and youth organisations have taken part in projects with the total value of EUR 67 million, while the number of staff, students and pupils who have seized the opportunity to study abroad reached over 5,800.
Currently, there are some 300 project participated in by schools, youth organisations, universities, companies etc. this projects offer exchange for some 2,000 students and over 300 teachers, pupils and youth workers a year. Thanks to the new status of a full-fledged member, Serbia will increase its opportunities for professional training of its academic community abroad.
The status of a fully-fledged member of Erasmus+ is one of the foreseen steps towards the EU membership under the Negotiating Chapter 26 on education and culture.
In addition to Serbia, only five non-EU member states have the status of a full member: Norway, Turkey, Liechtenstein, Macedonia and Iceland.
Tempus Foundation has been responsible for the promotion and management of the Erasmus+ programme in Serbia for 16 years, and it is responsible for monitoring projects under Erasmus+ since 2014.
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