More students from North Africa and the Middle East will benefit from the EU's new program for education training and youth, according to EU European Commissioner for Education and Culture Androulla Vassiliou.
Speaking at Nicosia University in Cyprus on Thursday , she said the new program, due for launch in January 2014, would build on success of the existing two EU educational programs called Tempus and Erasmus Mundus.
"I am happy to say that we will be able to support even more exchanges under our new program. Investing in youth is the best investment of all, in Europe and the Southern Mediterranean," she said in her speech, which was distributed to the press in Brussels.
Since 2007, the EU has allocated more than 140 million euro for projects involving southern Mediterranean universities to develop new curricula, retrain teachers, support new teaching methods and invest in equipment. Moreover, 150 million euro has been provided in grants for more than 4,500 students from the region to spend part of their studies in the EU. More than 750 academic staff have also taken part in exchanges organized with European universities. More than 200 universities in North Africa, the Middle East and the EU are involved in the exchanges. Universities in France, Italy, Spain Germany, Egypt and Jordan are the most active in the scheme, noted the EU official. Nearly 800 students and staff from the southern Mediterranean have also benefitted from funding for joint master and doctoral programs since 2004. The "information day" event at Nicosia University brought together more than 150 government officials, higher education staff and stakeholders from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon , Israel and EU Member States.