December 17, 2013 | Tuesday

EU Education Programmes: life-long investment

Education is essential for continuous growth and prosperity in today’s knowledge society. The EU’s engagement in this area is visible through actions that support policy co-operation between EU Member States and providing EU funding for education and training activities in the EU and beyond.

The EU has been, and is still committed to investing in education and training in Kosovo because investment in this sector provides the basis on which to build the economy and stimulate employment creation in Kosovo.With the support of the Pre-Accession Instrument Funds (IPA) the EU has provided over €20 million for support to both university and pre-university education over the last 6 years or more.

The Erasmus programme, established in 1978, is a pioneer in education and professional training mobility. It has supported more than 2 million students across Europe providing them with educational experience out of their country. The Erasmus Mundus scholarship programme has, since 2007, supported the mobility of 282 students and academic staff from Kosovo to various EU universities.  Education and professional training was given additional support with the approval of strategy Europe 2020 acknowledging that life-long training and education are essential for the job market and general development. A new education programme called Erasmus +was recentlyapproved by EU institutions.  Erasmus+ brings together the EU’s support for education, training and youth into a single programme (previously divided into seven separate programmes), and it includes funding for sports for the first time.

The Tempus programme (from IPA multi-beneficiary funding) has provided more than €12 million investment and supported over 30 projects in higher education in Kosovo since 2006.  With this investment the Kosovo universities and higher education institutions have been able to work with EU universities in the development of new Masters and PhD programmes in fields such as architecture, interpretation and translation, sports science, energy efficiency and mechatronics.  The EU has supported the quality assurance development of programmes and management capacity support to higher education in Kosovo.

Horizon 2020, one of the largest EU community programmes of over €70 billion to run from 2014 to 2020, will also be open for Kosovo. This programme will give particular support to regional partnerships and partnerships between universities, research institutes and industry.

IPA national funds have also supported the establishment and functionality of the Qualifications Authority of Kosovo(NQA) which is the body which regulates the qualifications system of Kosovo, notably for vocational education and trainings. An EU funded project working with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) has produced an eEducation Policy and Action Plan on e-learning. The EU has as well supported MEST,Pristina University Faculty of Education, the Municipal Education Departments, school directors and teachers across Kosovo in their work on curriculum development and teacher training in accordance with the demands of the new curriculum.

Areas of work in 2014 will include further development of the quality assurance system in education, curriculum development advancement and implementation, school supplies, ICT and e-learning in education, support to higher education, vocational educational training and qualifications system development.