COMENIUS

The Lifelong Learning Programme:
Education and training opportunities for all

The European Commissionís Lifelong Learning Programme enables people at all stages of their lives
to take part in stimulating learning experiences, as well as helping to develop the education and
training sector across Europe.

With a budget of nearly Ä7 billion for 2007 to 2013, the programme funds a range of actions including
exchanges, study visits and networking activities. Projects are intended not only for individual
students and learners, but also for teachers, trainers and all others involved in education and training.

There are four sub-programmes which fund projects at different levels of education and training:

  • Comenius for schools
  • Erasmus for higher education
  • Leonardo da Vinci for vocational education and training
  • Grundtvig for adult education

Comenius Programme -
Europe in the classroom

The Comenius Programme focuses on all levels of school education, from pre-school and primary to
secondary schools. It is relevant for everyone involved in school education: mainly pupils and
teachers but also local authorities, representatives of parentsí associations, non-government
organisations, teacher training institutes and universities.

Part of the EUís Lifelong Learning Programme, the Comenius actions aim to help young people and
educational staff better understand the range of European cultures, languages and values. They also
help young people acquire the basic life skills and competences necessary for personal development,
future employment and active citizenship.

The programme addresses issues strongly related to current discussions and developments in school
policy: motivation for learning and Ďlearning-to-learní skills, key competences, digital educational
content and inclusive education.

Multilateral Comenius Programme -
Europe in the classroom

Multilateral Comenius School Partnerships aim at enhancing the European dimension of
education by promoting joint co-operation activities between schools in Europe. The projects give
pupils and teachers in different countries an opportunity to work together on one or more topics
of mutual interest. School partnerships help pupils and teachers to acquire and improve skills not
only in the topic or subject area on which the project is focussed, but also in terms of teamwork,
social relations, planning and undertaking project activities and using information and
communication technologies (ICT). Participating in a partnership with schools from different
countries also gives pupils and teachers the opportunity to practice foreign languages and
increases their motivation towards language learning. A Multilateral School Partnership must
include schools from at least 3 participating countries. One of the schools must act as
coordinator. It is strongly advised to indicate at application stage which of the partners
volunteers to act as replacement coordinators, should the original coordinator be rejected in the
selection procedure.

Comenius Multilateral Projects are undertaken by consortia working together to improve the initial
or in-service training of teachers and other categories of personnel working in the school education
sector to develop strategies or exchange experiences to improve the quality of teaching and learning
in the classroom. Each project is expected to give rise to an identifiable outcome - e.g. a new curriculum,
training course, methodology, teaching strategy, teaching material - which meets the training needs of
a defined group of educational staff, taking account of the realities of each participating country.
The use of all possible methods, including information and communication technologies, for the production
and dissemination of training materials to the widest possible audience is encouraged.

Goals

Comenius aims to:

  • Improve and increase the mobility of pupils and educational staff across the EU;
  • Enhance and increase partnerships between schools in different EU Member States;
  • Encourage language learning, innovative ICT-based content, services and better teaching techniques and practices;
  • Enhance the quality and European dimension of teacher training;
  • Improve pedagogical approaches and school management.

Priorities

The programme is currently focusing in particular on:

  • Motivation for learning and learning-to-learn skills;
  • Key competences: improving language learning; greater literacy;
  • Making science more attractive; supporting entrepreneurship;
  • Reinforcing creativity and innovation;
  • Digital educational content and services;
  • School management;
  • Addressing socio-economic disadvantages and reducing early school leaving;
  • Participation in sports;
  • Teaching diverse groups of pupils;
  • Early and pre-primary learning.

Examples of activities

  • Project meetings between all institutions involved in the partnership.
  • Exchanges of staff and pupils involved in project activities (e.g. teacher exchanges, study
    visits, pupil exchanges).
  • Exchanges of experience and good practice with partner schools abroad.
  • Fieldwork, project research.
  • Drafting, publishing and disseminating documentation related to the co-operation activities.
  • Producing technical objects, drawings, arts objects.
  • Performances (e.g. theatre plays, musicals).
  • Organisation of exhibitions, production and dissemination of information material.
  • Linguistic preparation of teachers and pupils to ensure they possess the necessary.
    competence in the working language(s) of the partnership or to learn the languages of the
    partner countries / institutions.
  • Co-operation with other projects in related subject areas (e.g. via Comenius Multilateral.
    Projects and Comenius Multilateral Networks), including mobility to network events if relevant.
  • Self-evaluation activities.
  • Dissemination of project experience and outcomes.

When choosing the theme of a Multilateral School Partnership, schools are strongly encouraged
to choose any topic of interest and importance to the participating institutions, as it will be the
motivating force for co-operation and learning within the project. Project activities should ideally
be integrated into the regular activities of the schools and be included in the curriculum of
participating pupils. Pupils should be able to be involved in all phases of the project, including the
planning, organisation and evaluation of activities.

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