MORE students from Southern Mediterranean countries will benefit from the EU’s new programme for education training and youth, European Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou told a university ‘summit’ in Nicosia yesterday.
The EU’s Education Commissioner said the new programme, due to launch in January 2014, will build on the “great success” of the Tempus and Erasmus Mundus programmes, the latter having been in operation for nine years running now.
“Investing in youth is the best investment of all, in Europe and the Southern Mediterranean. We want to support young people who are the key to social and political change, as well as the future prosperity of the region,” said the Cypriot Commissioner.
An ‘information day’ event held at Nicosia University yesterday brought together more than 150 government officials, higher education staff and stakeholders from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon and EU member states.
The new EU programme for education, training, youth and sport, will continue to promote cooperation between the EU and Southern Mediterranean countries. As well as continued support for joint degrees, students from Southern Mediterranean countries will also benefit from scholarships to participate in joint Master programmes while doctoral fellowships will be financed by the future Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions programme.
Since 2007, more than €140 million has been allocated for projects involving Southern Mediterranean universities to develop new curricula, retrain teachers, support new teaching methods and invest in equipment.
A further €150 million has been provided in grants for more than 4,500 students from the region to spend part of their studies in the EU. More than 750 academic staff have also taken part in exchanges organised with European universities.
More than 200 universities in North Africa, the Middle East and the EU are involved in the exchanges. Nearly 800 students and staff from the Southern Mediterranean have also benefitted from funding for joint master and doctoral programmes since 2004.