What a plus means?

The Commission proposal to get back to the ancient “Erasmus” definition alarms adult education providers.

The June Commission proposal to double funding for the Erasmus programme has been warmly welcomed by the academic, education  and training sector.

The initial enthusiasm, however, has soon been dampened after the surprise of what could be interpreted as a step backward: the decision the eliminate the “plus” from the name of the programme, which was introduced only in 2014 to address in a unique programme lifelong learning and all educational sectors and measures included in this concept.
The concern expressed by the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) is that changing the name of the programme into “Erasmus” will “send the signal to stakeholders that the programme will resume its focus on mobilities of students in higher education”.

The previous February midterm evaluation could have already put in alarm the actors involved in adult education on the possible consequences of the doubts expressed  from Commission about the effectiveness of the programme.

The declaration, in particular, criticized the limited number of successful stories on the European+ project results platform together with the difficult impact-evaluation due to diversity and fragmentation of the sector.

A disappointed statement of the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) immediately came after, claiming the success of their initiatives if compared with the limited share of budget dedicated to adult education, which should cover also mobilities for adult education staff and strategic partnerships.

The dispute between the Commission and the EAEA doesn’t seem to be solved soon, as this time EAEA defended its work underlining the little regard awarded to a target group whose dimension is potentially  significantly larger than any other educational sector while receiving less than 4% of the Erasmus+ budget.
EAEA asked for further clarification about the limitation of the program to “low qualified adult workers” and urged again the necessity to increase funding to reach the lower ET2020 benchmark  of 15%; the failure could have negative  implications on several EU goals, such as the implementation of the Skills Agenda, particularly Upskilling Pathways, and the Key Competences Framework.

Leaving behind adult education, remarks EAEA, would mean refusing to tackle pressing challenges like the inclusion of migrants, refugees and socially isolated persons which are crucial to the development of democratic and inclusive societies.