MID-TERM EVALUATION OF ERASMUS+ PROGRAMME 2014–2020 FINLAND

The European Union's Erasmus+ programme is a funding scheme to support activities in the fields of education, training, youth and sport. The objective of the programme is to develop the quality of education and youth work, to improve young people’s level of education, skills, competences and employment opportunities, and to promote active citizenship and social inclusion. In the field of sports, the programme aims to tackle cross-border threats to the integrity of sports and to promote and support good governance and voluntary activities in sport. The programme period covers the years 2014–2020. This is a mid-term evaluation report concerning the implementation of the programme in Finland. The European Commission and the Member States are required to submit such a report halfway through the programme period. Erasmus+ has been the most significant programme enhancing internationalisation in the field of education in Finland. International mobility has become an integral part of Finnish education especially in the higher education sector, but internationalism and mobility are considered strategically important issues in the entire field of education. Erasmus+ has contributed remarkably to the degree of internationalisation of young people in Finland and improved the quality of youth work in Europe. The programme has provided opportunities for engaging in international activities also to the most vulnerable young people and promoted their social inclusion. All in all, the Erasmus+ programme functions well in Finland and the increasing programme budget can be effectively absorbed. The programme has had a significant impact on teaching staff’s professional skills, teaching methods, intercultural skills and mindsets. The cooperation projects have had long-term impacts at the institutional level. The significance of the Erasmus+ programme is expected to grow further, if the national financing will be decreased and the programme funding increased towards the end of the programme period. The majority of the actors in the field of education experience that Erasmus+ is a significant part of the international cooperation of their organisation. Adjustment to the new integrated programme structure has, however, been partly challenging. The challenges have mostly dealt with the burdensome administrative structures and responsibilities related to the application procedure. The level of reporting required by the programme, such as estimating the amount of grants based on the number of days spent abroad, has turned out to be laborious. Cooperation between the different political actors within the Erasmus+ programme has been significant, and the cooperation should be further developed also in future. The guidelines for project management should be clarified and the administrative workload should be lightened, for example in respect of the application and reporting requirements. Digital reporting methods should be developed especially due to their increased availability, quality and reliability, and the transfer of student records between educational institutions should in future be carried out mainly electronically. From the equality perspective, it is important to reconsider the inclusion of those fields that originally where left outside the scope of student mobility in the Erasmus+ programme