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Programme for cooperation in higher education and vocational education and training with the United States

The main objective of this programme is to continue cooperation in higher education and vocational education and training between the European Community and the United States of America.

ACT

Council Decision 2006/910/EC of 4 December 2006 concerning the conclusion of an Agreement between the European Community and the United States of America renewing a programme of cooperation in higher education and vocational education and training.

SUMMARY

This agreement is set against the dual background of the European Union's action to support higher education, and EU/US relations. The EU's action is intended to make European higher education a world reference for relevance and excellence, while bilateral relations call for greater cooperation in education.

The programme will support some 274 projects over an eight year period. Approximately 6000 EU and US citizens will participate in mobility activities over the duration of the programme.

OBJECTIVES OF THE PROGRAMME

The programme for cooperation in higher education and vocational education and training pursues a number of objectives.

As general objectives, it aims to promote mutual understanding between the two partners, including through language, culture and institutions, and to improve the quality of human resource development in order to meet the challenges of the global knowledge-based economy.

It also has the following specific objectives:

  • enhancing cooperation between the European Community and the United States;
  • contributing to the development of higher education and vocational training institutions;
  • contributing to individual participants' personal development for their own sake and as a way to achieve its general objectives;
  • fostering transatlantic exchanges between the citizens of the two partners.

Its operational objectives are to:

  • support higher education and vocational training institutions with a view to promoting joint study programmes and mobility;
  • improve the quality of transatlantic student mobility through transparency, mutual recognition of qualifications, periods of study and training, and portability of academic credits;
  • support collaboration between public and private organisations active in the field of higher education and vocational training with a view to encouraging discussion and exchange of experience;
  • support transatlantic mobility of professionals with a view to improving mutual understanding of issues between the two partners.

LINES OF ACTION

The agreement sets out five lines of action to achieve the programme's objectives.

Action 1: Consortia projects

Action on consortia projects is aimed at higher education and vocational training institutions and organisations, and their staff, students and trainees.

Joint consortia projects should normally involve transatlantic mobility of students in joint study programmes. Flows in each direction should be equal and they should plan for the language and cultural preparation which will be needed.

This type of project provides support for double or joint degrees set up and run by multilateral consortia of EU and US higher education institutions, including scholarships for students, academic and administrative staff.

Action 2: Excellence mobility projects

The support provided by the programme is intended mainly for consortia projects run by higher education and vocational training institutions with a proven record of excellence, including those funded under the previous agreements.

Action 3: Policy-oriented measures

This action is targeted at organisations dealing with higher education and vocational training. Activities under this category include study sessions, conferences, seminars, working groups and benchmarking exercises.

Action 4: "Schuman-Fulbright" individual mobility grants

This action is intended for professionals (including professionals in training) who wish to study or train in areas of specific relevance to EU/US relations. The professionals it is aimed at include, in particular, decision makers, representatives of the social partners and journalists.

Action 5: Alumni Association

Action by the programme in this area is aimed at alumni associations whose members participated in exchanges supported by the programme.

PROGRAMME ADMINISTRATION

A Joint Committee has been established. It consists of an equal number of representatives from each party. Decisions are reached by consensus. Its role is to:

  • review the cooperation activities envisaged under this agreement;
  • provide an annual report to the parties on the level, status and effectiveness of cooperation undertaken under this agreement.

Activities under this programme will be financed on an equal basis. The proposed programme would cost a maximum of 46 million over the period 2006-2013, provided that matching funds are made available by the US.

BACKGROUND

On 18 May 2005 the Commission adopted a communication on a stronger EU-US partnership, which, in line with the Lisbon strategy, identified cooperation in education and training as an important tool for stimulating knowledge and innovation, and called for the renewal and reinforcement of the current agreement on higher education and vocational training.

This agreement renews the cooperation programme for 2000-2005 originally established under the 1995 Agreement between the European Community and the United States of America.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Decision 2006/910/EC

The first day of the month following notification

-

OJ L 346 of 09.12.2006

RELATED ACTS

Agreement between the European Community and the United States renewing a cooperation programme in higher education and vocational education and training [Official Journal L 346 of 9.12.2006].

Communication from th Commission of 27 June 2005 on the evaluation of the cooperation programmes between the European Community and the United States of America in the field of higher education and vocational education and training and between the European Community and Canada in the field of higher education and training [COM (2005) 0274 - Not published in the Official Journal].
This is the Commission's interim report on implementation of the EU-US cooperation programme. On the basis of positive external evaluations, the Commission states that the programme has widely succeeded in establishing long-term transatlantic partnerships in higher education and vocational training. Almost all the projects established exchanges of students based on joint programmes of study or programmes drawn up together. The report notes that the programmes achieved the objectives of improving the quality of education and training systems.
The Commission presents the suggestions made by the experts with a view to improving certain aspects of the programmes, but emphasises the absence of major shortcomings. It also mentions that some of the potential has remained unexploited for want of sufficient budgetary resources.

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee of 18 May 2005: A stronger EU-US Partnership and a more open market for the 21st century [COM (2005) 196 final - Not published in the Official Journal].

Last updated: 15.12.2006

See also

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