350,000 Czechs Have Participated In Erasmus+ Study Program

The increase is likely due to an increase in the program budget for the Czech Republic. Photo credit: Freepik.

Prague, Oct 13 (CTK) – About 350,500 Czechs, mainly university students, had taken part in international exchange stays and projects within the Erasmus+ program as of 2021, and their number is likely to increase in the coming years, said Michal Uhl, head of the Czech National Agency for International Education and Research (DZS) yesterday.

The increase is likely due to an increase in the program budget for the Czech Republic, which stands at about EUR 68.1 million (CZK 1.7 billion), around CZK 300 million more than in 2021, Uhl explained at a press conference to mark the 35th anniversary of the Erasmus+ program.

The Erasmus educational program started in Europe in 1987, and the Czech Republic joined it in 1998. DZS oversees the running of the program in the Czech Republic. It is currently available not only to university students but also secondary school students, pupils from elementary schools, and people working with youth.

Uhl said that the number of Czechs sent abroad through the program could increase by some 20% by 2027.

The Erasmus+ program is the largest educational program in Europe. Applicants can now study around the whole world, and as of 2023, sport coaches and others in the sport field will also have the opportunity to participate in the program, Uhl said.

The aim of Erasmus+ is mainly support for the disadvantaged, ecology, digitalisation and social engagement, he said.

Last spring, the European Parliament passed a budget of EUR 26.2 billion (CZK 640 billion) for the program between 2021 and 2027, almost twice as much as between 2014 and 2020, when the budget was around EUR 14.7 billion (CZK 360 billion).

The Erasmus budget for the Czech Republic was over EUR 332 million between 2014 and 2020. In 2021, it was around EUR 58 million (CZK 1.4 billion) and this year, it is about EUR 68.1 billion (CZK 1.7 billion), according to Uhl.

The program began in 1987 with cooperation between 11 countries, focusing mainly on university students. In 2014, the new form of the Erasmus+ program opened to other categories of participants, and now covers all education sectors.

A total of 33 countries have joined the program, including the EU member states, Serbia, Iceland, Norway and Turkey. Applicants can also go to other countries all around the world. Around 13 million people have participated since the project started. The European Commission expects 10 million more people to join the program by 2027.

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