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Lifelong Learning Programme 2007-13

The European Union (EU) is reaching a significant number of its citizens directly through its education and training programmes. The general objective of the lifelong learning programme is to contribute towards the development of the Community as an advanced knowledge society in accordance with the objectives of the Lisbon strategy. By supporting and supplementing action by the Member States, it aims to foster interchange, cooperation and mobility between education and training systems within the Community so that they become a world quality reference.

ACT

Decision No 1720/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2006 establishing an action programme in the field of lifelong learning [See amending act(s)].

SUMMARY

The objective of the action programme in the field of lifelong learning 2007-13 is to develop and foster interchange, cooperation and mobility, so that education and training systems become a world quality reference in accordance with the Lisbon strategy. It thus contributes to the development of the Community as an advanced knowledge-based society, with sustainable economic development, more and better jobs and greater social cohesion.

To realise this general objective, the programme pursues specific objectives concerning lifelong learning in the European Union (EU), which aim to:

  • contribute to the development of quality lifelong learning and to promote high performance, innovation and the European dimension in systems and practices;
  • support the realisation of a European area of lifelong learning;
  • help improve the quality, attractiveness and accessibility of the opportunities for lifelong learning;
  • reinforce their contribution to social cohesion, active citizenship, intercultural dialogue, gender equality and personal fulfilment;
  • help promote creativity, competitiveness, employability and the growth of an entrepreneurial spirit;
  • contribute to increased participation in lifelong learning by people of all ages, including those with special needs and disadvantaged groups;
  • promote language learning and linguistic diversity;
  • support the development of ICT-based resources;
  • reinforce their role in creating a sense of European citizenship based on respect for European values, as well as tolerance and respect for other peoples and cultures;
  • promote co-operation in quality assurance in all sectors of education and training;
  • improve their quality by encouraging the best use of results, innovative products and processes, as well as the exchange of good practice.

In this respect, consistency and complementarity with EU policies condition the implementation of the action programme. It should thus help achieve the EU's horizontal policies by making provisions for learners with special needs and helping to promote their integration into mainstream education and training. It should also promote equality between men and women, as well as awareness of cultural and linguistic diversity and multiculturalism as a means of combating racism, prejudice and xenophobia.

Implementation of the programme should ensure consistency and complementarity with the Education and Training 2010 work programme, the integrated guidelines for jobs and growth under the partnership for growth and employment and other policies, such as those in the field of culture, youth or enterprise. The European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop), the European Training Foundation (ETF) and the Advisory Committee on Vocational Training may also be involved and/or informed according to their respective areas of competence.

In order to achieve these objectives, the programme supports the following actions:

  • mobility of people in lifelong learning;
  • bilateral and multilateral partnerships;
  • unilateral, national or multinational projects, including those that are designed to promote quality in education and training systems through the transnational transfer of innovation;
  • multilateral networks;
  • studies and reviews of policies and systems in the field of lifelong learning and their components;
  • operating grants to support certain operational and administrative costs borne by institutions or associations;
  • accompanying measures, i.e. other initiatives to promote the objectives of the programme;
  • preparatory activities for these actions;
  • the organisation of events (seminars, colloquia, meetings) to facilitate the implementation of the programme, the information, publication, awareness-raising and dissemination actions, as well as programme monitoring and evaluation.

Participation in the programme is open not just to the Member States, but also to the EFTA (European Free Trade Association) countries that are members of the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), to the Swiss Confederation and to the EU candidate and potential candidate countries of the western Balkans in accordance with the rules and agreements governing their participation in Community programmes.

In addition, the Commission may also organise cooperation with third countries and international organisations, such as the Council of Europe or the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).

The beneficiaries of the programme are:

  • pupils, students, trainees and adult learners;
  • all categories of education personnel;
  • people in the labour market;
  • institutions and organisations providing learning opportunities within the programme;
  • persons and bodies responsible for systems and policies at local, regional and national level;
  • enterprises, social partners and their organisations at all levels, including trade organisations and chambers of commerce and industry;
  • bodies providing guidance, counselling and information services;
  • participants', parents' and teachers' associations;
  • research centres and bodies;
  • non-profit organisations, voluntary bodies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

The management of the programme is shared between the Commission and the national agencies. In this respect, the national agencies may be responsible for selecting certain types of projects, the mobility of individuals, bilateral and multilateral partnerships or unilateral and national projects.

For the implementation of the programme, the Commission is assisted by a management committee made up of representatives from the EU Member States. The implementation measures must be adopted in comitology, in accordance with the management procedure. Only decisions concerning the awarding of certain specific grants are taken without the assistance of the committee. In the context of social dialogue at Community level and involving the social partners more closely in the implementation of the action programme, the latter may participate in the work of the committee as observers on matters relating to vocational education and training.

The indicative financial envelope for the programme is set at EUR 6.97 billion for its duration. The minimum amounts to be allocated to the sectoral programmes (see below) are 13 % to Comenius, 40 % to Erasmus, 25 % to Leonardo da Vinci and 4 % to Grundtvig.

The Commission shall regularly monitor and assess the integrated programme in cooperation with the Member States. The latter shall submit reports to the Commission: one on the implementation of the programme by 30 June 2010 at the latest, and another on its effects by 30 June 2015.

The Commission, for its part, will present an interim evaluation report on the results achieved and on the qualitative and quantitative aspects of implementation by 31 March 2011 at the latest, a communication on the continuation of the programme by 31 December 2011 and an ex-post evaluation report by 31 March 2016.

SECTORAL PROGRAMMES

The action programme is divided into six sub-programmes, four of which are sectoral. They are all structured in the same way and address the teaching and learning needs of all participants, as well as of the institutions and organisations providing or facilitating education and training in each respective sector. All the actions incorporate mobility, language and new technology.

Comenius

The programme covers pre-school and school education up to the end of upper secondary education, as well as the institutions and organisations providing such education.

Its two specific objectives are to:

  • develop understanding and appreciation among young people and educational staff of the diversity of European cultures;
  • help young people acquire the basic life-skills and competences necessary for their personal development, for future employment and for active European citizenship.

In this context, the programme pursues the following operational objectives:

  • better mobility, especially in terms of quality and volume;
  • better partnerships between schools in different Member States, especially the quality and volume thereof, so as to involve at least 3 million pupils during the period of the programme;
  • encouragement for learning foreign languages;
  • the development of innovative ICT-based content, services, pedagogies and practices;
  • better teacher training in terms of quality and the European dimension;
  • support in improving pedagogical approaches and school management.

The following actions may be supported by the Comenius programme:

  • mobility, such as exchanges of pupils and staff, school mobility, training courses for teachers, etc.;
  • partnerships, such as "Comenius school partnerships" of schools for joint learning projects or "Comenius-Regio partnerships" of organisations responsible for school education, with a view to fostering inter-regional and particularly border region cooperation;
  • multilateral projects on disseminating and promoting best practices, exchanging experience or developing new courses or course content;
  • multilateral networks aimed at developing education, disseminating good practice and innovation, supporting partnerships and projects, as well as developing needs analysis;
  • accompanying measures.

The mobility and partnership actions account for at least 80 % of the Comenius budget.

Erasmus

The Erasmus programme addresses formal higher education and vocational education and training at tertiary level, whatever the length of the course or qualification may be and including doctoral studies. Unlike the previous programmes, vocational education and training at tertiary level now falls under Erasmus instead of Leonardo da Vinci.

The two specific objectives are to:

  • support the achievement of a European Area of Higher Education;
  • reinforce the contribution of higher education and advanced vocational education to the process of innovation.

To this end, the programme pursues operational objectives that should endeavour to improve, strengthen and develop:

  • mobility (including quality), by reaching 3 million individuals by 2012;
  • the volume of cooperation (including quality) among higher education institutions and between higher education institutions and enterprises;
  • the transparency and compatibility of acquired qualifications;
  • innovative practices and their transfer between countries;
  • innovative ICT-based content, services, pedagogies and practices.

The following actions may be supported by the Erasmus programme:

  • mobility of students (studies, training, placements), teaching staff, other staff in higher education institutions and staff of enterprises for the purposes of training or teaching, Erasmus intensive programmes organised on a multilateral basis, as well as support to the home and host institutions to ensure the quality of the mobility arrangements. Mobility actions account for at least 80 % of the budget for this programme;
  • multilateral projects focusing on innovation, experimentation and the exchange of good practices;
  • multilateral networks, such as "Erasmus thematic networks" run by consortia of higher education institutions and representing a discipline or a cross-disciplinary field;
  • accompanying measures.

Leonardo da Vinci

The Leonardo da Vinci programme addresses vocational education and training other than that at tertiary level.

Its specific objectives are to:

  • support participants in training to acquire and use knowledge, skills and qualifications to facilitate personal development, employability and participation in the European labour market;
  • improve quality and innovation;
  • enhance the attractiveness of vocational education and training and mobility.

To this end, the programme pursues operational objectives that seek to develop and strengthen:

  • mobility (including quality) in this field and that of continuous training, including placements in enterprises, so that they number 80 000 per year by the end of the programme;
  • the volume of cooperation (including quality) between the different actors;
  • innovative practices and their transfer between countries;
  • the transparency and recognition of qualifications and competences, including those acquired through non-formal and informal learning;
  • language learning;
  • innovative ICT-based content, services, pedagogies and practices.

The following actions may be supported by the Leonardo da Vinci programme:

  • mobility, including the preparation thereof;
  • partnerships focusing on themes of mutual interest;
  • multilateral projects, in particular those aimed at improving training systems through the transfer and development of innovation and good practice in order to adapt to national needs;
  • thematic networks of experts and organisations working on specific issues related to vocational education and training;
  • accompanying measures.

The mobility and partnership actions account for at least 60 % of the budget for this programme.

Grundtvig

The Grundtvig programme addresses all forms of adult education.

It aims to:

  • respond to the educational challenge of an ageing population in Europe;
  • help provide adults with pathways to improving their knowledge and competences.

Its operational objectives are as follows:

  • improve the quality and accessibility of mobility with a view to supporting 7 000 individuals per year by the end of the programme;
  • improve cooperation (quality and volume);
  • support and find alternatives for underprivileged and vulnerable persons, such as older people and those who have left education without basic qualifications;
  • support the development of innovative practices and their transfer between countries;
  • support the development of innovative ICT-based content, services, pedagogies and practices;
  • improve pedagogical approaches and the management of adult education organisations.

The following actions may be supported by the Grundtvig programme:

  • mobility of individuals, including adequate preparation, supervision and support;
  • "Grundtvig learning partnerships" focusing on themes of mutual interest;
  • multilateral projects aimed at improving adult education systems through the development and transfer of innovation and good practice;
  • "Grundtvig networks", thematic networks of experts and organisations;
  • accompanying measures.

The mobility and partnership actions account for at least 55 % of the budget for the Grundtvig programme.

The transversal programme

The transversal programme mainly addresses activities that extend beyond the limits of the sectoral programmes.

It covers four key activities in the field of lifelong learning, i.e.:

  • policy cooperation and innovation;
  • the promotion of language learning;
  • the development of innovative ICT-based content, services, pedagogies and practices;
  • the dissemination and exploitation of results of actions supported under the programme or previous programmes, and exchange of good practice.

The specific objectives are to:

  • promote European cooperation in fields covering two or more sectoral programmes;
  • promote the quality and transparency of Member States' education and training systems.

Its operational objectives are to:

  • support policy development and cooperation at European level in lifelong learning in the context of the Lisbon process, the Education and Training 2010 work programme, the Bologna and Copenhagen processes and their successors;
  • ensure a supply of comparable data, statistics and analyses to underpin policy development, as well as to monitor progress towards objectives and targets, and to identify areas for particular attention;
  • promote language learning and support linguistic diversity in the Member States;
  • support the development of innovative ICT-based content, services, pedagogies and practices;
  • ensure that the results of the programme are advertised, disseminated and taken into consideration.

The programme actions apply to the key activities in the transversal programme. For example, under the key activity entitled "policy cooperation and innovation", the actions may deal in particular with supporting the observation and analysis of policies and systems such as the Eurydice network or the transparency of qualifications and competences, information and guidance for mobility purposes and cooperation in quality assurance such as Euroguidance, and National Academic Recognition Information Centres (NARIC), Ploteus or the Europass initiative.

The Jean Monnet programme:

The Jean Monnet programme targets specific issues of European integration in the academic world and the support needed for institutions and associations active in education and training at European level.

This programme covers three key activities:

  • the Jean Monnet action, in which institutions from third countries can also participate, accounts for at least 16 % of the budget for this programme;
  • operating grants to designated institutions that pursue objectives of European interest. These institutions are the College of Europe, the European University Institute in Florence, the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA) in Maastricht, the Academy of European Law (ERA) in Trier, the European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education in Middelfart, and the International Centre for European Training (CIFE) in Nice. These grants account for at least 65 % of the budget;
  • operating subsidies to other European institutions and associations in the field of education and training that account for at least 19 % of the budget.

The specific objectives are to:

  • stimulate teaching, research and reflection activities in the field of European integration studies;
  • support an appropriate range of institutions and associations focusing on issues relating to European integration and on education and training from a European perspective.

Its operational objectives are therefore to stimulate excellence, enhance knowledge and awareness of European integration, as well as support European institutions working on European integration and high-quality European institutions and associations.

The actions cover unilateral and national projects, such as Jean Monnet chairs, centres of excellence and teaching modules or support young researchers, as well as multilateral projects and networks.

BACKGROUND

The lifelong learning programme 2007-13 encompasses all the European programmes in the field of lifelong learning. It is therefore based on the previous programmes for the period 2000-06: Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci, eLearning and the Jean Monnet action.

A single Community support programme in the field of education and training is more rational, coherent and effective. It should thus lead to greater interaction between the different areas, to better visibility, particularly with regard to the capacity to respond to developments in this field, and to better cooperation.

Thus, it should also help achieve the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy, including the environmental dimension, and of the European Area of Higher Education (the Bologna process), particularly the objective of making education and training a global quality benchmark by 2010 and of focusing on learning foreign languages in line with the conclusions of the Barcelona European Council of 2002. It also falls within the framework of the specific future objectives for education systems in the Education and Training 2010 work programme, the action plan for skills and mobility and the action plan promoting language learning and linguistic diversity.

REFERENCES

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision No 1720/2006/EC

1.1.2007 – 31.12.2013

-

OJ L 327 of 24.11.2006

Amending act(s) Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision No 1357/2008/EC

31.12.2008 – 31.12.2013

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OJ L 350 of 30.12.2008

Last updated: 29.01.2009

See also

  • For further information, please visit the website of the European Commission Directorate-General for Education and Culture: Lifelong Learning Programme
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