How to improve Erasmus+?
By introducing Erasmus+ Programme, European Union has provided the opportunity to more than 4 million people of different ages and profiles to learn, grow and develop both themselves and the world around them. The Programme itself created a new generation of young Europeans without national, cultural and religious barriers, who developed a sense of belonging and a common European identity. Beside the EU, the impact of Erasmus+ is a result of a hard work of organizations and individuals taking part in the Programme.
Although Erasmus+ has significally improved the chances of students, staff, young people, youth workers and all categories of participants to educate themselves, attain and retain employment as well as grow in personal and professional sense, we believe such impact could be even higher by responding to issues which undoubtedly exist. By actively working in Erasmus+ Programme for 3 years, we identified repetitive problems both organizations and individuals are facing with.
Of course, the list we are providing is not exhaustive and is subject of discussion. We need your help and feedback, your opinion what could be done to make the Erasmus+ Programme even better.
So what could be better, both from perspective of organizations and individuals taking part in the Programme?
Insight into the Erasmus+ community
Beside your personal contacts and previous cooperations among organizations, as well as portals where information are partially provided, it is very hard to have an overview which organizations are doing Erasmus+ projects, what are they experiences, how many individuals are applying and taking part, what are their profiles etc. Wouldn’t it be easier if both individuals and organizations could create their own Erasmus+ profile on one place and offer all of the information they think could be useful for better Erasmus+ experience?
Insight into the opportunities to take part in Erasmus+ Programme
Especially concerning the list of open calls for participation in Erasmus+ projects, as the unified database doesn’t exist. Although information are partially offered in various Erasmus+ portals, one common place with available opportunities listed would both provide better promotion of Erasmus+ Programme and its reach, make it easier for organizations to find participants as well as make easier for individuals to choose the right project for them.
The selection process
When opening the call for participants in Erasmus+ project, organizations can have various rules how they will actually select them. From first come - first serve basis, to extensive questionnaires and CVs, you can never be sure what to expect. Of course it depends on the particular project, target group they are searching etc., but it sure would be easier if the whole process would be more unified and transparent. Receiving applications, checking them, individually informing the applicants about the results, it’s not easy for organizations either. And there is always a risk that you will make a bad selection, as you can never be sure what to expect. Unifying the selection through standardized forms and procedures, adaptable to concrete needs of the project could be the solution.
Checking the quality of work of the organizers / quality of the participants
When it comes to deciding for which project to apply, there are several things to take into consideration. Beside regular stuff such as topic, location, accommodation, trainers, other friends going etc., the quality of the project should be important to you. However, in the forest of non-unified information, it is hard to check if the organizers of your project are doing quality stuff and are the people satisfied with their work. Wouldn’t it be easier if you could check feedbacks from previous participants? The same thing applies for organizations when checking participants. What if you could check the feedback they received from other organizations?
Giving and receiving feedback
It is inevitably connected with the previous issue. To improve the quality of implemented projects and Erasmus+ Programme itself, the individuals and organizations taking part in the projects need to have the opportunity to give feedbacks visible to other participants and organizations. If the organizers of your project did an awesome thing - praise them loudly. If they didn’t, be able to say what needs to be improved to make their future projects better. And vice versa. It will create higher responsibility of both individuals and organizations to perform their best, would you agree?
Meeting the project and the other participants
Although Facebook (project groups) has mainly taken the role of a place where all information are exchanged among participants and the organizers before the project, quite often it is questionable whether such approach reaches its purpose. When participants are already selected, it would be convenient to have a common online working space, adapted to the needs of Erasmus+ projects, which would enable to upload project documents, add tasks, encourage participants to chat and to get to know each other better. What do you think?
Creating a network of Erasmus+ contacts and meeting them all over again
Well, of course there is Facebook and other social networks, but what do you think about the place where your Erasmus+ personal profiles would be connected, and you would be able to create your groups of friends according to projects in which you took part together? Where you would be able to easily explore and apply together for the new projects?
Sharing Erasmus+ experiences
Although there are various individual blogs and pages, you have to targetly search if you want to read some first-hand Erasmus+ experiences. What if, through personalised profiles mentioned under 1), both participants and the organizations would be able to share their experiences in the form of short blogs?
Beside listing the issues, we already offered some ideas for solutions. Because we don’t want to stop here. We firmly believe that Erasmus+ is the basis for the future of Europe; the cornerstone of the new generation of people united in diversity. By joining our efforts, we can bring closer together the Erasmus+ community and enable the Erasmus+ Programme to shine even brighter. And we need your help.
First things first; we need your help in giving the feedback what are the main issues you are facing with when applying/taking part in Erasmus+ Programme. As soon as we are done with that part and we have an exhaustive list, it’s time to get to the real work and offer a solution to tackle the mentioned issues.
You wonder what do we have in mind? Join the discussion and stay tuned!