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Friday, November 4, 2005

Comenius: Improving the quality of European schools and teachers

Education - Training, Youth,

News The Commission today approved the use of €100 million to support over 50 new European Projects and Networks that are designed to improve quality and strengthen cooperation in the field of school education

In all, nearly 500 organisations across the 31 countries now participating in Socrates will implement the new initiatives. COMENIUS is the part of the ‘Socrates’ European education action programme that targets schools. Through its support for school partnerships, teacher training, and school education networks, it will reach more than three-quarters of a million pupils and over 100,000 teachers this year, involving over 11,000 schools across Europe. €10 million has been earmarked for the 46 new European cooperation projects selected, each of which has a lifespan of 2-3 years and a grant averaging € 220.000. The projects are for the professional development of teachers, producing curricular materials and new methodologies for in-service and initial training of teachers, and developing in-service training courses for teachers, or exchanging initial teacher trainees. They involve on average 8 partners from at least three of the participating countries. They will cover a wide range of key issues for schools and teacher education across Europe, including quality assurance in schools, improving the accessibility of school education, promoting language learning and enhancing intercultural awareness. The 46 new projects were selected from among more than 170 applications from all over Europe. €2 million have also been awarded to six new 3-year Comenius Networks that will be concerned with such varying but essential themes as how to involve parents more effectively in school education; improving career guidance in schools, promoting active citizenship, furthering intercultural education and improving the educational use of computers in the classroom and the training of teachers. The average Comenius network includes 27 formal partners and many associated members. Each network will receive a grant averaging € 370,000. Since 2000, a total of over 500 European projects have so far been supported under this part of Comenius, and major Comenius networks are operating in over 20 different thematic areas of school education. Taken together, the new projects and networks will be an important source of innovation and good practice, the results of which will feed into the EU’s “Education and Training 2010” initiative – a key component of the Lisbon strategy for making Europe the world’s most dynamic, knowledge-based and socially inclusive economy. School partnerships and individual visits: The core of the Comenius programme, accounting for three-quarters of its budget, is the creation of partnerships between local schools across the 31 countries involved. These are managed on the Commission’s behalf by a Europe-wide network of National Agencies. The 2005 budget of around €74million for Comenius grants is expected to support over 11,000 schools for their activities with partners elsewhere in Europe. An estimated 100,000 teachers and 750,000 pupils will be involved in these partnerships in some way or other. In addition, a budget of €19million is available for individual grants this year to enable some 7,000 teachers and other school staff to undertake in-service training in another European country, and around 1,100 language assistants to work in host schools abroad.

Source :  European Commission




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