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Brussels, 29 March 2004

Erasmus Student and Teacher Mobility increased again in 2002/2003

The Commission has just assessed the Socrates-Erasmus National Agency reports for 2002/03. The reports show that the number of Erasmus students increased by 7 % - the highest proportional increase since 1999/2000 - while the number of Erasmus Teacher increased by almost the same percentage. The number of Erasmus students since the start of the programme exceeded 1 million in 2002/03. While the majority of countries experiences a growth in outgoing numbers, the few countries that were stagnant or in decline in 2001/2002 have better results. Spain remained the most popular destination for students and Germany for teaching staff.

During Erasmus Week in Brussels in October 2003, Viviane REDING, European Commissioner for Education and Culture told the students : "Don't be hesitant about embarking on the Erasmus adventure. It is not only exciting, but also a shrewd career move. And at a time when you are wondering what the future holds professionally, consider the possibility of spending some time at a university in another European country."

This message has been heard and thanks to the joint efforts by Higher Education institutions, National authorities, Students organisations and the Commission, mobility figures rose again in 2002/2003.

1.  Erasmus Student Mobility

Erasmus gives students (up to and including doctorate, except for students enrolled in their first year of higher education) the opportunity to study for a period of 3-12 months at a university or higher education establishment in another participating country in the framework of agreed arrangements between universities.

  • The number of Erasmus students continues to rise, both in the EUR 18 (15 current EU Member States + the 3 EFTA/EEA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), the acceding countries (Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia) and the candidate countries (Bulgaria and Romania). There were a total of 124.000 Erasmus students in 2002/03, 107.600 from the EUR18 and 16.340 from the acceding and candidate countries;

[ Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED]

  • Compared to the previous year, this represents a total increase of 7.4%, composed of 5.2% in the EUR18 and 20% in the acceding countries. That is a higher increase than in the previous year (4% in total, 3% in EUR18, 15% in the acceding and candidate countries);

  • The majority of the countries experienced a growth in outgoing numbers, except the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands. Countries such as Denmark, Finland and Norway that were either stagnant or in decline in 2001/02, show signs of improvement;

  • The highest increase of outgoing students is from Germany (11%) Portugal (12%) and Luxembourg (14%). All the countries of Southern Europe continue their steady growth;

  • As a proportion of the eligible student population, Erasmus students from acceding countries (0.6%) constitute, on average, only half that of the Erasmus students from the EUR18 (1.1%);

  • Of the 30 participating countries, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Iceland have the highest ratio of outgoing student mobility;

  • The UK, Ireland and Sweden are the biggest net importers of students - they receive more than double the number of students they send. Other big net importers are Finland and the Netherlands;

  • In absolute terms, Spain and France are the most popular destinations for incoming Erasmus students.;

  • Incoming students to the acceding countries have increased by 25%. For every 4 outgoing students from acceding and candidate countries there is one incoming;

  • There are no significant changes in subject areas : Business Management/Social Sciences remains the most popular subject area group. However, some 30.000 students in Sciences, Medical sciences, Engineering and Technology took part in an Erasmus exchange last year.

2. Erasmus Teacher Mobility

Erasmus provides support for teachers giving, generally short courses, as part of the official curriculum of a partner university in another European country.

  • The number of Erasmus teachers has been steadily increasing over the last six years (7.800 in 1997/98 - 17.000 in 2002/03), and grew by almost 7% in 2002/03;

[ Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED]

  • The growth rate among the EUR18 was 7%. In Finland, Sweden and Greece, numbers have risen this year, despite a decline last year. Only in 2 countries have numbers decreased - in the UK and Italy;

  • The growth rate in the acceding countries was 5% - a big drop compared to the previous year (21%). The number of outgoing teachers rose in only half of the 12 acceding and candidate countries;

  • Proportionally more teachers are mobile than students;

  • Of all the countries, Finland, Liechtenstein, the Czech Republic, Malta and Belgium have the highest ratio of outgoing teachers as a proportion of the teacher population;

  • The acceding countries have on average a higher ratio of outgoing teachers than the EUR18;

  • The most popular host countries are Germany and France, receiving 25% of all the teachers;

  • There have been almost no changes in the subject areas since 2000/01. Languages and Philological Sciences remain the most popular subject areas.

Launched in 1987, Erasmus is the EU mobility action scheme. It has been incorporated under the SOCRATES umbrella as its higher education section in 1995. SOCRATES is Europe's education programme and involves 30 European countries. Turkey is already taking part in a pilot project and will fully take part in the SOCRATES Programme from the academic year 2004-2005 onwards.

The annual budget of the Erasmus action is about € 160 millions.

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