The European Commission’s Erasmus programme supports, among other things, activities related to higher education, vocational education and training, school education and adult education. At European level, the Commission’s Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) is responsible for implementing the Erasmus programme’s key actions. Per country, National Units are also designated to promote and implement the programme at national level and act as liaison between the European Commission and the participating organisations. For Greece, the National Agency for Erasmus is the State Scholarship Foundation.
Erasmus provides for mobility and joint activities between certain countries (the EU Member States, the United Kingdom – under transitional status – plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, the Republic of North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia and Turkey), which can participate fully in all the actions of the programme. On the basis of specific criteria or conditions, other countries around Europe and the world may participate in certain actions of the programme.
As regards higher education, the programme supports projects such as mutual short term invitations of lecturers for teaching, mobility of other staff of educational institutions for training, mobility of students for traineeships. The core of the programme, however, has always been – and still is – the exchange of students between university institutions for a period of study in a country other than the country of residence and in a partner higher education institution.
These transfers are based on bilateral agreements which provide for a specific number of persons and a specific duration of study, ranging from a minimum compulsory period of three months to a maximum of 24 months for single cycle programmes. For the months of study, each student is automatically awarded a European Union scholarship, the monthly amount of which varies depending on the destination country.
All students are eligible to participate in the programme until the moment they lose their student status. However, it is recommended (and often required) by all university institutions that participants have completed at least the first two years of their studies in the School from which they come. The optimum time for a five-year course of study is the fourth year.
The central idea of the programme is the possibility of attending courses at the destination school, against which – provided they are successfully completed – students are exempted from certain courses in the curriculum of the home school. The aim is to achieve full recognition of Erasmus studies, with priority exemption from the corresponding compulsory courses on the basis of relevance and general recognition of the remainder with optional compulsory courses.
The School of Architecture has a network of partnerships with more than 80 Schools in about 20 countries and 60 different cities. For each of them there is a faculty member who has negotiated and signed the bilateral agreement and is the academic officer of the collaboration. The whole programme is coordinated by Ε. Haniotou, Professor.
Given the interest in the establishment and development of such a network and also the great participation, in recent years, of its students – who constitute the great majority of the outgoing students in all the Faculties of the NTUA – the School supports the process, operating since 2000 Erasmus specialist office which, in close cooperation with the academic coordinators and the Erasmus coordinator, is a constant point of contact with the Schools abroad, as well as a source of information and guidance for any interested party or participant in the programme.