The National Erasmus+ Office in Lebanon organised its annual Information Day on 10 November 2016 at the Auditorium Francois Bassil, Campus of Innovation and Sportof the Saint-Joseph University. Erasmus+ is the EU programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport for the period 2014-2020.
The event was held under the auspices of Elias Bou Saab, Minister of Education and Higher Education, in the presence of Ambassador Christina Lassen, Head of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Lebanon and in collaboration with the Saint-Joseph University. Presidents, deans, directors and staff from the Lebanese higher education institutions participated in the event, as well as representatives of the socio-economic sector and organisations active in higher education.
Participants were informed on the different key actions of the Erasmus+ programme, good practices were presented and training on how to design a project was conducted. Additional EU opportunities for higher education institutions and individuals were also presented at the event.
Ambassador Lassen said: “Universities have a very important role to play: they have to respond to the needs of society, most importantly of the most vulnerable, but also consider the demands of the public and the private sectors, employers and students.Universities also have a role in research, science and innovation, which are key to creating decent and sustainable jobs”.
She added: ”the EU will significantly step up the scope for engagement of neighbourhood partners in Erasmus+, including a higher level of funding to offer more individual grants for students from countries from this region – and of course from Lebanon- who want to study in EU countries.Erasmus+ also provides more support for universities on both sides of the Mediterranean to strengthen their international outlook and to create better and more durable networks.”
In the last 13 years, the EU has been supporting Lebanese higher education through several programmes including Tempus and Erasmus Mundus(2002-2013) thathave contributed to the development of new curricula, the creation of new structures for research, the modernisation of governance systems and the building of new links between universities and the labour market. The EU will extend its support until 2020 with programmes such as Erasmus+. As a result of the last 2 calls for proposals under Erasmus+ (2015-2016)10 capacity building projects have been selected for implementation over the next 3 years. Under the mobility and academic exchange initiatives, ERASMUS+ has approved the mobility of 405 staff and students between 2015 and 2017 (314 from Lebanon to Europe, and 91 from Europe to Lebanon) and 577 staff and students in the period 2016-2018 (432 from Lebanon to Europe and 145 from Europe to Lebanon).
Additionally, 8 Lebanese students have been selected for the Joint Master degrees 2015 and 2 students from Europe to come to Lebanon.
Erasmus+ will continue to support public and private universities in their efforts to modernise their systems and curricula through transnational partnerships. It will offer scholarships to enrol in high quality Joint Master Degrees and will provide more opportunities for students to study, train and gain experience abroad and for staff to teach and train in EU universities.