One of the student Exchange programs is the so called Erasmus Program. Erasmus stands for European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students and started in 1987 as an EU program. It represents the setting for higher education initiatives of the European Commission, as part of the 2007-2013 European Union Lifelong Learning Program.
Erasmus is part of the larger Socrates program set in 1994 by the European Commission. On 31st of December 1999, the Socrates program ended. In 2000, the Socrates II Program took its place on the 24th of January. Further, in 2007, it was replaced in its turn by the Lifelong Learning Programme 2007–2013.
The Erasmus Program objectives are:
1. to achieve at least 3 million exchanges of both students and teachers until 2012, also increasing the quality of the mobility
2. to multiply and increase the quality of cooperation over different areas between Europe’s higher education institutions
3. to stimulate interaction between the business environment and the higher education institutions
4. to encourage the spread of new, innovative teaching methods and supports among European universities
Besides the mobility aspect, the Program offers significant support to strengthen connections between faculties of the participating Universities.
The Erasmus mobility takes place in countries belonging to the European Union and Economic Area of Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, but also in Turkey, a candidate country. Since 2007 Switzerland joined the program. This followed after a period of scarce relations between Switzerland and the EU at the end of the 1990’. During this time, universities in Switzerland developed a similar program within the country, based on the collaboration between its own universities.
4000 institutions of higher education are involved in the Erasmus country, covering the 31 countries part of the Socrates program, totalizing more than 2,2 million Erasmus exchanged students.
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